Staying ahead of the curve with progressive ideas.

Blue Prairie Group is committed to helping our clients – plan sponsors, participants and individuals – achieve their financial goals. These articles will discuss timely and relevant topics such as retirement plans, employee financial education, and wealth management. We hope you enjoy these articles and find them useful!

Top 12 Biggest Plan Mistakes…and How to Avoid Them

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No one likes to make mistakes — especially retirement plan mistakes that can result in costly fines or even litigation. In 2014, the Internal Revenue Service/Department of Labor collected nearly $600 million for plan restorations, penalties and fines. Here’s the DOL break down: 3,928 DOL investigations closed, with Nearly 65 percent resulting in monetary compensation [ read more ]

Spread Some Lovin’

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Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to spread some lovin’ to your employees by adding to, or improving upon, a matching contribution formula for your retirement savings plan. Just as with other forms of compensation, an employer match keeps you competitive within your industry, while also helping your employees save more for retirement. Retirement industry [ read more ]

Picking the Right Audit Firm Can Minimize Chances of a Plan Audit


In a recent government study on the quality of audit work performed by independent, qualified public accountants with respect to financial statement audits of employee benefit plans, 39 percent of the audits reviewed contained major deficiencies that would lead to rejection of the filing of Form 5500. While it can be tempting to take the [ read more ]

What Puts the “Well” in Financial Wellness?

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A recent public opinion report found that 86% of those 25 and older believe our country faces a retirement crisis and nearly 75% are concerned about their ability to achieve a successful retirement. Clearly more people need assistance when it comes to planning and saving for their financial future. The good news is that financial [ read more ]

Top Four Things Every Plan Sponsor Should Know About TDFs

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Ten years ago, target date funds (TDFs) were just another investment option in a defined contribution plan. However, since the Pension Protection Act (PPA) solidified TDFs as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) in 2006, they have become the default of choice. If you offer employees target date funds in your plan line-up (or are [ read more ]

America Saves Week: Take the Pledge!

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February 22 – 26, 2016 is America Saves Week (ASW) and the theme this year is “Making Saving Automatic”. ASW is an opportunity for individuals to assess their savings status and take financial action, and for organizations to promote good savings behavior among employees. Employers whose organizations participate in America Saves Week have seen an [ read more ]

Choose Your Plan Auditor Carefully

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Are you happy with your plan auditor? Do you know what qualifications to consider when choosing one? Equally important, do you know a recent study by the U.S. Labor Department’s Employee Benefits Security Administration found major audit deficiencies occurred 39 percent of the time resulting in possible Form 5500 filling rejections? Yes, in review of [ read more ]

Don’t Forget the Must-Do Communications


Ongoing communication with your retirement plan participants can often help boost contributions and retirement readiness. While much of this type of messaging is optional, there are some instances when participant notifications are a necessity and cannot be overlooked. To keep your plan in compliance, make sure you are aware of all communication requirements. The following [ read more ]

Follow Hardship Distribution Rules to Keep Plan Status

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While many employees today understand the importance of retirement readiness, some plan participants may seek a 401(k) hardship distribution to accommodate crucial, more immediate needs. If your retirement plan includes this optional provision, make sure it fulfills all necessary U.S. Internal Revenue Service rules and requirements to maintain your qualified plan status. According to the [ read more ]

What’s the Scoop on Lifetime and Income Plan Participation?

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Have you heard about lifetime retirement plans and wondered what they are and how they might impact you as a plan sponsor? A recent Institutional Retirement Income Council (IRIC) report examines the (ERISA) Advisory Council’s recommendations for lifetime plans, explains the concept, and addresses some key questions and concerns. With the shift from Defined Benefit [ read more ]

Retirement? Not Everyone Plans to Stop Working


One in five Americans expect to work forever, or basically until they are unable, according to a recent generational retirement study by Transamerica. This percentage seems incredibly high, yet not entirely unexpected as more people work well into “retirement years” by choice or by necessity. Interestingly, younger and older workers are more likely to report [ read more ]

Just in Case: Understand Plan Audits and Procedures

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Few, if any, retirement plan sponsors want to face an audit, yet a successful private retirement system necessitates occasional employer audits by the Internal Revenue Service’s Employee Plans (EP) compliance program. Plan oversight is two-prong, with the IRS covering the “qualified status of 401(k) plans” and the DOL overseeing the “fiduciary standards, reporting and disclosure [ read more ]

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