What if You Find a Mistake in Your Retirement Plan?

How common is this? How can you try to correct it if it occurs?

Provided by Retirement Advisory Consultants


Your latest retirement plan account statement arrives in your email inbox. You take a look at it – and something seems amiss. “That can’t be right,” you say to yourself. There must be some kind of mistake. Who should you talk to about this? Who can fix it?


Mistakes do happen with retirement plans. As a consultant to these programs told the trade journal PLANSPONSOR, they are “ubiquitous.” In fact, they are so prevalent that the Internal Revenue Service devotes more than 20 web pages to helping employers fix them over at irs.gov.


A small business has much on its collective mind, and sometimes its retirement savings program may get short shrift. Errors may occur regarding ongoing salary deferral amounts, plan participant loans, or company matches when an employee’s pay is boosted by tips or bonuses. In the case of traditional pension plans, an employer may even pay the retired worker too much.


How can you detect mistakes? Look at your pay stubs consistently to make sure your account balance reflects your contributions. This will not be a direct relationship because of compound interest and yield over the years, but if something is really off, it should be evident. If you happen to have taken a loan from your plan, check to see that the balance reflects this. If you have changed your investment mix or the percentage of salary you defer into the plan per paycheck, examine your account statements over the next several months or year to confirm that these changes are carried out.


How can you try to fix these errors? You should turn to the plan sponsor (your employer) first. Approach your employer’s human resources department according to procedure. Read the rules for addressing such mistakes within the summary plan description (the booklet about the plan that you should have received at or shortly after your enrollment) and bring your account statements with you. Your employer will want to know about any potential mistake, because if it is not corrected, it could mean trouble with the IRS.


About 40% of all workplace retirement plans in America are sponsored by companies with less than 10 employees. In such cases, your human resources contact may, effectively, be your boss. How should you bring up such a delicate matter to him or her?


One, meet with your boss privately and be very polite. Maintain a pleasant attitude. Avoid appearing disgruntled. The conversation could awaken your boss to the need for better administration, better supervision of the plan.


If the answers you get at work don’t seem adequate, then contact the plan provider (the investment firm that furnishes the plan for your employer). You could also ask the financial professional who consults you to look into the matter on your behalf.


If you have retired after participating in a pension plan and you wish to challenge what you feel is a mistake, you may want to contact the Pension Rights Center at 888-420-6550 or via its website, pensionhelp.org.


Retirement Advisory Consultnats may be reached at 727-807-2343 or tina@retirementadvisoryconsultants.com.



This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.



1 - plansponsor.com/Plan-Sponsors-Should-Be-Aware-of-Common-Errors/ [6/1/15]

2 - irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-sponsor/fixing-common-plan-mistakes [9/15/16]

3 - thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2014/01/08/How-Convince-Your-Employer-Fix-Your-401k [1/8/14]

4 - marketwatch.com/story/what-happens-when-theres-a-mistake-in-your-401k-2016-10-24 [10/24/16]

Reducing the Pain of Prescription Drug Costs

There are few things that burn a hole in the pocket of the aging American faster than prescription medication. According to Express Scripts, a pharmacy-benefits management company, the average American’s drug costs are $1,370 annually. Among the 31.5 million insured Americans, that cost dropped to only $185. While this figure highlights the importance of being insured for drug costs, either through a Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plan or a private insurance company, let’s explore some of the other options you can use to save on your medications and refills:


Sometimes, it’s just free!


Did you know that Publix pharmacy will fill some of the most commonly prescribed medications absolutely free, just for being a customer? As part of Publix’s Free Medication Program, Publix will fill up to 90-day supplies at a time of amlodipine (generic Norvasc), lisinopril (generic Prinivil) or metformin (generic Glucophage) in addition to a 14-day supply of some of the most common antibiotics (amoxicillin, ampicillin, penicillin, ciprofloxacin, etc.). Ask your local Publix pharmacist or go to publix.com for more details.


Take advantage of store’s pharmacy programs


Programs like Walmart’s $4 generic prescription program can help you significantly reduce your drug costs. 100s of generics are only $4 for a 30-day supply or $10 for a 90-day supply. Ask your Walmart pharmacist or go to walmart.com for the complete list of eligible medications. Many other retailers, such as Walgreens, offer similar programs.


Check out GoodRx


While prescription savings cards have been around for years, GoodRx is different. Through either the smartphone app or website, goodrx.com, you can search your medications and find the closest pharmacy to you where the drug is cheapest using their prescription coupons. All you have to do is print out your savings card from the website or pull it up on your smartphone and show it to your pharmacist to potentially save $100s annually on your prescriptions! Even if you’re insured, give it a go. GoodRx coupon prices can sometimes be even lower than your insured prices.


Fill 90-day instead of 30


If your doctor prescribes your medication in increments of 30-day supplies with two refills, ask your pharmacy to fill a 90-day supply. Pharmacies usually charge less per dose when filling a larger order.


If you really can’t afford your medications, try RxAssist


RxAssist helps connect patients who can’t afford their medication to patient assistance programs run by pharmaceutical companies that provide free or reduced-price medication to those in financial need. For more information, go to rxassist.org.