Retirement is About Having a Plan A group retirement plan which is often known as a 401k, 403b or 457 can do more than help your company attract and keep qualified employees. Group retirement plans can:Create tax advantages for you and for your businessEncourage employees to save and invest for the futureShow that you want to reward employees and help them prepare for future retirementOverviewDelivering a broad range of servicesHelps integrate your retirement program with services that help to reduce the amount of administrative work. These include:Plan Sponsor Services [ READ: A letter to Plan Sponsors ]Participant ServicesConsulting ServicesPlan DesignYour company is different. Your retirement plan should be different too.The right retirement plan benefits everyone.It can help attract and retain employees and possibly decrease the retirement planÃ¢€â„¢s total cost. Reward your employees for their work and loyalty and help give them confidence about their future.Customized not cookie-cutterAt Lamon and Stern, our plans are designed with features that address the specific needs of you and your business.We use this four-step process to customize a plan to fit your specific business1. We discuss your objectives with you as a business owner and as an individual2. We examine your workforce to determine what kind of plan you need3. We recommend a retirement plan based on your unique needs4. We tailor a retirement plan to fit your parametersPlan SupportWe help make it easier for you to offer a retirement plan. With Lamon and Stern, youÃ¢€â„¢ve got our whole team behind you.The teamThree key players help make your retirement plan a success Ã¢€â€œ your investment professional, your provider and your plan administrator.Lamon and Stern, Inc.Educate participantsPerform quarterly and annual plan reviewsProvider or PlatformMaintain vital recordsDistribute statements and newslettersProvide web resources for you and your employeesWe currently have agreements with Nationwide, Great West, Hartford, Principal, Fidelity Investments, John Hancock, ADP, Mass Mutual and Diversified. We also have a proprietary open architect platform that can include any investment vehicles you selectYour plan administratorDesigns a plan to fit your needsProvides local service and plan administrationFiles IRS documents and other compliance materialsAdministers loans and benefit payment if applicableThe ResourcesFor youOffering your company a retirement plan comes with responsibilities, but it doesnÃ¢€â„¢t have to be intimidating. Lamon and Stern assists you by providing tools to monitor investment performance, plan activity and individual participation.For your employeesA plan is successful only if your employees understand its value. They need timely information to make the right decisions to help them reach their retirement goals.Your employees will have access to:Educational and entertaining enrollment materialsOngoing investment focused workshopsQuarterly newsletters in English and SpanishA comprehensive and informative websiteTake the next stepLearn more about how Lamon and Stern can help make it easier for you to offer a retirement plan. Just complete the online information request from and weÃ¢€â„¢ll get back to you.Or give us a call at 770-951-8411.Plan Sponsor ServicesWe provide outstanding administrative services through our third party administrator affiliation or through the provider or platform. All utilize advanced technology, allowing the company to be more strategic. Secure access to plan information onlineTrack eligibility and key enrollment datesAccess a wide range of retirement plan informationReview reportsIntegrate with payrollCompliance servicesWe help you keep your retirement plans compliant, by paying special attention to all compliance details. We provide government forms ready for your review and signature and all the information your auditor needs for a limited scope audit to help keep your retirement plan in compliance with government regulations.Understanding your fiduciary responsibilitiesAll qualified plans are subject to the rules of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). You need a service provider who can help you understand these rules. We can help you manage a number of your fiduciary responsibilities with testing services and ongoing support.Lamon and Stern can provide several fiduciary tools to help you understand the fiduciary obligations involved in sponsoring and maintaining a retirement plan.This comprehensive collection of print and web-based resources contains such customizable on line tools as:1. Implementing An Investment Policy Statement Ã¢€â€œ Lamon and Stern will help design and draft a written statement providing guidelines and standards that plan fiduciaries will use when selecting and monitoring the planÃ¢€â„¢s investment options and service providers.2. The Due Diligence File Checklist Ã¢€â€œto help ensure you are investigating and documenting plan-related decisions3. The Plan Fiduciary Meeting Checklist Ã¢€â€œis to help you document the activities and decisions made at your plan fiduciary meetings4. Your Quarterly Plan Checkup Ã¢€â€œprovides an overall view of the activity of your plan quarterly5. Your Annual Plan Review Ã¢€â€œprovides a comprehensive review of the total plan on an annual basisThe supportWe offer services to help you select and monitor plan investments, as well as meet your fiduciary obligations as a plan sponsor.Let us build a plan for youWhen most companies make the decision to sponsor a 401(k) retirement plan, they usually have a general idea as to what benefits they want to explore. Lamon and Stern offers service providers that have solid investment fund choices, helpful investment educational tools, participant web access, timely quarterly statements and the latest in report generation and administrative processing. In addition, we specialize in customer service and competitive pricing. As a result of the myriad of discrimination testing requirements and the always changing landscape in the pension industry; seeking a third party administrator with experience in pension plan design should be at the top of any companyÃ¢€â„¢s list. Lamon and Stern utilizes some of the top third party administrators in the country.The most common mistake of unsuspecting 401(k) plan sponsors is in the selection of a qualified service provider. Most brokers are well versed when it comes to explaining mutual funds or a specific product offering, however most are untrained in the area of pension compliance. A well designed 401(k) plan compared to one without any design considerations can often yield significant cost savings. Conversely, poorly designed plan may affect the amount certain employees may be able to contribute into the plan. Below are just a few examples of potential pitfalls that can often be avoided with proper plan design:ADP/ACP Discrimination Test Ã¢€â€œ This test can create havoc for any 401(k) plan. Failure of this test can lead to refunds of contributions for owners and other key personnel. Most of the time these refunds occur after taxes have already been filed, adding additional burdens to the plan sponsor and the plan participants.Top Heavy Test Ã¢€â€œ The consequences of becoming top heavy require the company to contribute up to 3% of the plan year compensation into the accounts of all non-key employees. The only other remedy is that owners and certain key employees must waive out of the plan completely.410(b) Coverage Test Ã¢€â€œ Coverage testing is rarely a problem unless a company wishes to exclude a portion of its workforce from the plan. In some cases, there are clear advantages to taking this path (including a passing score on the ADP/ACP test). The downside is having the plan disqualified by the IRS for failure of coverage.General Non-Discrimination Test Ã¢€â€œ Once again, this test is generally not a problem except in unique situations where owners and/or key employees want to disproportionately share in higher profit sharing contributions than the rank and file employees. Many employers are anxious to establish this type of plan only to find out later that this test alone can render this design cost prohibitive.Control Group Testing Ã¢€â€œ This is accounting vernacular for Ã¢€Å“how many other companies does the business owner ownÃ¢€Â. ItÃ¢€â„¢s not enough to know the facts surrounding just the immediate company in question, but rather the entire Ã¢€Å“family treeÃ¢€Â of companies that are linked to that owner(s). Not knowing could end up costing the plan sponsor in the end. ItÃ¢€â„¢s not only a key that an advisor designs around these obstacles; but also that the advisor designs to the objectives of the client. Some clients want the plan as a recruiting tool; others will use it as a retention benefit; while many others see it as an opportunity for significant tax savings for owners and other key personnel. Every company is different, each with its own set of circumstances, demographics, budget, and objectives and it is vital that a plan be designed specifically for that organization. An important thing to remember here is that at the end of the day, it is the company, not the advisor that is responsible for the plan. Always select an advisor who is qualified in pension plan compliance because if the advisor does not possess the requisite knowledge to perform the job properly and ask the right questions; it will be the plan sponsor who pays the price. Our first priority is helping you take care of yourself and your family. We want to learn more about your personal situation, identify your dreams and goals, and understand your tolerance for risk. Long-term relationships that encourage open and honest communication have been the cornerstone of my foundation of success.