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Posts from the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Global domination!!

Does anyone remember the classic board game Risk? I had a good childhood friend who loved to play this game. It required a lot of patience, strategy and a good sense of timing – I could never get the hang of it. (Then Atari came along – forget about it!)

Fast forward 30 years. In the course of writing this blog, I’ve had many discussions with actuary friends. Time and time again, these same themes keep popping up: de-risking tactics take time to develop, a careful strategy must be employed and timing of your action can greatly impact the results.

I’m sure these guys would have dominated me at Risk.

In an earlier post, Helping DB Plan Sponsors Sleep at NightI discussed several ways in which DB plan sponsors can manage their risk.  Below, I’ll provide more detail on each option. You can see that patience, strategy and timing all come into play. Read more

Face-off with Magic Johnson at the Milken Institute’s Global Conference? No problem

Okay, I didn’t exactly go toe-to-toe with Earvin (Magic) Johnson on the court, but I did face-off against him at the 2013 Milken Institute Global Conference. Let me explain…

It’s spring in Los Angeles and that can only mean one thing–it’s time for the much anticipated Global Conference. That’s how the Wall Street Journal described the event today–with 3500 people attending 140 sessions spread over 4 days. There are more than 600 speakers ranging from Al Gore to Tony Blair; Rupert Murdoch to Carlos Slim and Magic Johnson to Joe Torre. And the range of topics is just as broad–public policy topics like immigration reform and tax reform; healthcare issues and AIDS improvements to the future of Africa.

This was the tenth year for The Principal at the conference, although it was my first. The range of topics, the quality of the speakers and the encouragement for spirited discussion all serve to make this an eye-opening and educational event. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone!

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8 Ways to Make Your Participation Education Plan Rock

As a numbers guy – in the insurance industry to boot – one might be surprised to know that I enjoy playing the guitar as much as I love analyzing tax-exempt retirement plans!


I’ve learned it’s one thing to own a really cool guitar (and having it sit in the corner collecting dust), but it’s another to pick it up and practice regularly so you can truly enjoy it.

Maybe the same is true for some employers with their participant education plan. The plan might look good on paper, but could use a little work in order to hit the right notes with employees. So I’d like to provide some best practices to help you create a participant education plan that can rock. Read more

It’s Time to Play the Treasury Secretary Dating Game!!!

The U.S. Treasury Department is going to need a new boss soon. Timothy Geithner has been fairly clear that four years as Secretary of the Treasury is quite enough for him. That means it’s speculation season and time to figure out who will fill the desk on Pennsylvania Avenue (the Treasury’s located at 1500 Pennsylvania Avenue – just next door to the White House) after Geithner tenders his resignation.

The two lucky “bachelors” in the Treasury Secretary Dating Game are Erskine Bowles and Jacob “Jack” Lew; these are about the only two names that anyone’s seriously throwing around. So let’s start sizing up our contestants.

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Hey you! What are you doing in that box? It’s time to starting thinking outside of it…

Exit SignWhen most people hear Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) they think exit planning (or maybe nothing at all). That’s not surprising given that historically ESOPs have been positioned as a succession planning approach.

Here’s an example, a key partner at a manufacturing company wants to retire, but the remaining partners can’t afford, or don’t want to buy him or her out. An ESOP could be used by the remaining partners to fund the buyout of the partner that’s leaving in order to avoid divesting the company.

However, to think of ESOPs as only a tool for exit planning sells them short. Let’s broaden our perspective for a second. Read more

Galapagos Giant Tortoises Aren’t Interested in ESOPs

As the writer of a blog about employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs) I want to believe that everyone is interested in the topic.  But I know that isn’t true.

Galapagos Giant Tortoise

For example, the Galapagos giant tortoises (Chelonoidis nigra) aren’t interested in the plans.  Even if they owned businesses (which I realize that they don’t), they wouldn’t likely be very interested in ESOPs for several reasons. They: Read more