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401(k)plans

Commentary

401(k) Pro, Inc., creator of the do-it-yourself 401(k) system, 401(k) Easy, is the do-it-yourself specialty affiliate of Pension Service Associates (PSA), a full-service 401(k) veteran that has been creating affordable 401(k) plans for small and medium-sized companies since the mid 1980's.

401(k) plans are arguably the best of the government-sanctioned, tax-deferred retirement savings opportunities available. Among other things, they allow for the highest maximum contribution per year. But 401(k) plans must be sponsored by an employer. Millions of American workers can't take advantage of the 401(k)'s many attributes because their employers, for one reason or another (typically high plan costs, plan inflexibility, and/or prohibitive minimum participation standards), do not sponsor a 401(k) plan.

PSA has been working for years to make quality, affordable 401(k) plans available to all of America's companies and workers. With the prevalence of computers and related knowledge in today's workplace, PSA recognized the potential for companies to run first-rate 401(k)s in-house -- and save thousands of dollars each year; many traditionally out-serviced functions (bookkeeping, tax preparation, even basic publishing functions) are today being performed in-house. PSA had so perfected and automated its full-service 401(k) administration that it saw how easy it would be for companies to do the data input and processing themselves -- if they had PSA's tools!

So 401(k) Pro, Inc. was founded with a mandate to develop a widely-usable do-it-yourself 401(k) system based on the successful PSA full-service system. PSA plans have had participation rates of nearly twice the national average. It's proven what works and what works well. It knows what employees value, what employers need, and what makes a plan's administration go smoothly. 401(k) Pro integrated all PSA's experience with the layperson's need for simplicity and speed. The end result: a guaranteed, affordable, flexible, easy-to-use do-it-yourself 401(k) system called 401(k) Easy.

401(k) Pro made 401(k) Easy easy-to-use AND complete (rather revolutionary!). 401(k) Pro works with each employer in setting up its plan, explaining typical effect of various options choices (eligibility parameters, investment approaches, matching contributions formulas, etc.) so they can make educated decisions in designing a 401(k) plan that will be well-suited to their needs and those of their employees. 401(k) Pro then hardwires the employer's decisions into a custom software package. From then on, about all the employer has to do is set up the software with basic employee information, input monthly payroll data (manually or via direct data transfer using the optional Payroll Software Upgrade), then forward the 401(k) money to the mutual fund(s) the employer has selected for the plan's investments; 401(k) Easy prepares purchase orders that tell the fund company(ies) receiving the contributions how much to allocate to each participant account.

Tip About 401k

According to Southern California-based (401k) Enginuity (www.401kenginuity.com), twenty-year veteran in developing and running 401(k) administration and 401(k) software and recordkeeping systems, the Internet will be the primary delivery system for 401(k)s by 2007. Many web-based 401(k) plans will run on administration and recordkeeping platforms that plan providers will outsource to 401k specialists and 401k Application Service Providers (ASP).

The advantages of web-based online 401(k) plans are obvious to today's workers, and include use conveniences, real-time monitoring and reporting, and instant re-allocation of their retirement assets. The internet has also dramatically reduce the cost of 401(k) plan administration, saving plan sponsor 50% or more in ongoing fees and costs when compared to the older traditional labor-intensive plans. Outsourcing of 401(k) functions by plan providers will extend the trend towards lower cost, high-quality 401(k) products.

401(k) plan providers of all types, financial institutions including banks, insurance companies, brokerages, mutual fund companies, credit unions, and third-party administrators, are now actively outsourcing 401(k) administration and recordkeeping tasks to 401(k) ASPs --- vendors such as 401k Enginuity, whose sole function is to maintain, updated and supervise software-based 401(k) administration and recordkeeping systems on behalf of plan providers. 401(k) ASP vendors are responsible for all routine day-to-day 401(k) recordkeeping and administration functions, thus allowing the plan providers to reduce internal staff, eliminate the expense and complications of licensing, housing and running hardware and 401(k) administration software in-house. Plan providers can refocus and concentrate their efforts on to the needs of their plan sponsors and plan participants, and rely upon the outsourced ASP 401(k) vendor for the recordkeeping and technical "backbone" supporting providers' Internet-based plans. It is inevitable that some of this 401(k) outsourcing to ASPs will include secondary outsourcing of certain non-critical low-level routine day-to-day tasks to non-US locations, where labor costs are less yet the expertise is abundant.

Automatic 401(k) loan repayments, standard payroll deductions, matching contributions, distributions, and more: 401(k) Easy processes them all, always filtering them through relevant current IRS and related constraints, which are hardwired into the program, warning the user of potential conflicts and prohibiting undesirable transactions such as excess contributions to a participant's account. The hardwiring also plays an important role in the accurate practice compliance tests users can have 401(k) Easy run as often as they like to monitor their plan's ongoing IRS compliance; the tests take only seconds.

In addition to the basic 401(k) Easy package, clients also receive a free supplementary CD-ROM that guides them through year-end 401(k)-related federal tax reporting; annotated as well as blank up-to-date IRS forms are included.

In 401(k) Easy 401(k) Pro has created a savior for the dying smaller plan market. Traditional out-sourced 401(k) providers, especially the big houses, are abandoning smaller plans in droves, citing high costs and low revenue generated by plans with 200 or fewer participants. The providers that remain are cutting services and options back even more than with the turnkey plans they've offered in the past.

401(k) Easy allows for unprecedented savings for plans of any size, from as few as six participants on up. The in-house, do-it-yourself approach gives the added bonus of asset control and security, too: (1) money always goes straight from the employer to the chosen fund company (and vice-versa); no third party EVER gets between the employer's plan and the investment company for which assets are intended, (2) 401(k) Easy creates detailed documentation on every transaction, and (3) the account statements participants receive directly from the fund company are completely independent of those generated by 401(k) Easy, so it's easy for participants to accurately track and confirm all their 401(k) transactions. In a world of rising 401(k) malfeasance, the securities that 401(k) Easy affords are extremely valuable! Additional non-profit websites that include relevant unbiased information about 401k plans include: www.small401k.info

401(k) Pro knows it has created a useful, valuable product in 401(k) Easy, and it backs it up with a 30-day money-back guarantee on everything but the investments and nominal one-time plan setup fee. 401(k) Easy is updated every year in light of regulatory and related changes; clients receive updated copies of the software and companion materials upon renewal. Relevant data is seamlessly transferred from the previous year's program into the current one during installation.

To download a free sample copy of the 401(k) Easy software or for more information about 401(k) Pro, PSA or their place in the evolution of the 401(k) plan, please visit the 401(k) Easy website at www.401k-easy.com; click on Software Demo to download the demo, or click on About Us for more information on the companies. You can also call 1-800-660-0050 for any needed information.


401(k)plans
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