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401k Plan Participants Face Many Challenges

401k Plan Participants Face Many Challenges

401k Plan Participants are not only struggling with funding their Retirement – but they are also facing additional non-retirement financial challenges.  During the 401kTV GENIE Awards held at the University of Chicago Gleacher Center, 401kTV Publisher Graham Thomas interviewed Gerald Wernette, Partner at Rehmann Financial, CPA, CEBS, AIFA, C(k)P – Winner of the Plan Design category for the 401kTV GENIE Award in Chicago.  Gerald is an industry veteran who keeps the plan sponsor and plan participant’s interests first.  Gerald discusses with Graham how plan advisors can provide additional services around retirement plan participation, saving for a home or reducing a worker’s outstanding student  debt.

Full Transcript Here

Graham Thomas:
Hi, I’m Graham Thomas. I’m the publisher of 401k TV, coming to you from the 2019 GENIE Awards in Chicago. I am joined by Gerald Wernette from Rehmann Financial. Gerald is a CKP, a CPA, CEBS, AIFA, and a lot. Is there anything else? Gerald is the regional accounting financial services firm head of retirement for Rehmann Financial. Thanks so much for joining us, Greg.

Gerald Wernette:
Thanks, Graham. Nice to be here.

Graham Thomas:
Yeah. Congratulations on your nomination for plan design. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing specifically.

Gerald Wernette:
Sure, sure. So, when I look at plan design, I look at it as really setting the foundation for a plan sponsor on really trying to achieve their goals. Probably the best way to do this is to give you an example.

Graham Thomas:
Please.

Gerald Wernette:
So competitive marketplace we’re in today, a lot of our clients talk about really being able to retain employees, and we use that as a springboard to really get into what’s unique to their situation. From that, we’re able to create some pretty unique dynamics wrapped around plan design. There’s been a lot of conversation, for example, around student debt and what we can do [inaudible 00:01:25]. About really being able to entice and retain the younger workers. So we’ve had things evolve out of that where we’ve had plan sponsors create contribution tiers, to really focus on where their employees are at from an age perspective.

Gerald Wernette:
We’ve had plan sponsors really wrap their hands around student debt and come up with some unique ways to bring the younger workers into the plan, but still create a balance for them on handling the challenges of student debt. Some of that has lead to kind of an a roundabout way, helping workers protect themselves from some of their own individual challenges.

Graham Thomas:
Is that a multi-generational issue sometimes?

Gerald Wernette:
Yeah, it really can be. I mean, the younger workers, it’s all about just getting them engaged in the process, getting them in the plan, getting them excited, really helping them to see the results that this is going to have on their future. The middle tier folks, it’s all about striking a balance between the other demands that they have in their lives. “I’m paying for a house, I’m trying to set aside money for my kids’ education, but I still need to be saving for retirement.”

Graham Thomas:
Sandwich generation.

Gerald Wernette:
Yeah. Then those people that are really kind of racing towards retirement, it’s really all about, “Hey, you’re in your prime earning years. You need to be taking advantage of this. This is how to best balance that.” Another unique thing we run into, as an example, is we’re always asking our clients, “Do you have an HSA?” “Okay, you do, great.” Let’s get into the dynamics of how they utilize that HSA in conjunction with the 401k to really help them get a better bang for their retirement savings dollar. That’s what real [inaudible 00:03:28].

Graham Thomas:
So you can tell, things are not getting less complicated here in the retirement world. Congratulations again, Gerald.

Gerald Wernette:
Thank you very much, Graham.

Graham Thomas:
Thank you so much for coming.

Gerald Wernette:
Appreciate it.

Graham Thomas:
All right. We’ll be back with more videos from 401k TV. Thank you.

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