Have you looked at your 401(k) quarterly statement lately? Employee benefits and ERISA attorney examines changes amid potential SECURE Act 2.0 retirement reform legislation

Media Contact: Barbara M. Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; barbara@eafocus.com; 248.260.8466

Royal Oak, Mich.—June 30, 2022—In the wake of the Great Resignation, both employers and employees are continuing to keep a close watch on compensation packages, with an even greater emphasis on retirement benefits, according to J.J. Conway of J.J. Conway Law. The nationally-recognized employee benefits and ERISA attorney thinks the inclusion of the new “lifetime income illustration”—presented on 401(k) quarterly statements starting at the end of June—will help employees better foresee what their monthly savings will look like in retirement.

“The changes are a big win for reality-based thinking. Impending updates on how savings information is presented on 401(k) statements will help employees reframe their savings goals for when they are no longer working,” Conway said. “Instead of showing the usual lump sum amount with funding allocations, updated statements will enable employees to visualize how that consolidated amount translates to fixed, lifetime monthly payments.”

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (SECURE Act) amended the Employee Retirement Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to add two lifetime income illustrations, furnished at least annually:

1.) Single Life Annuity: Income for an individual buyer for life

2.) Qualified Joint and Survivor Annuity: Income for an individual and a surviving spouse for life

These changes will play a role in an employee’s long-term financial security—the third piece of Conway’s foundational employee benefits principles, the “Three Pillars of Financial Security,” which involves workplace implementation of a solid employee benefit plan that makes it relatively easy for employees to save for retirement through a 401(k) or other savings vehicle with solid investment offerings, low fees and effective management.

While U.S. Department of Labor requirements to 401(k) statements are a step in the right direction, there may be further reform on the horizon. The U.S. House already passed the SECURE 2.0 bill, and Senate committee proposals have recently been approved, but differences between the two proposals still need to be resolved. However, Conway believes all this legislative activity will result in a positive outcome to employee benefits programs overall.

“Any bi-partisan consensus on improving how people save for retirement illustrates how important the goal of having a dignified retirement for workers, employers and retirees is,” Conway said.

About J.J. Conway

Law J.J. Conway Law was founded by John Joseph (J.J.) Conway in 1999 to work with individuals seeking full access to the employee benefits they have earned. The firm has been involved with nationally significant employee benefit, disability and pension cases, including class action lawsuits for such landmark decisions as requiring Michigan private insurers to cover autism health treatments for children through age 18 and protecting the pension rights of City of Detroit employees, police and firefighters as well as Wayne County employees by holding their trustees accountable for investment decisions. The firm’s motto is Conquer Tomorrow® and is dedicated to making tomorrow easier for their clients across the United States. Learn more on the firm’s website.