Corporate Retirement Planning

If you manage your company’s retirement plan it is important to ask these questions & learn how to answer them…

Are our fees competitive? Are we fulfilling our fiduciary duties?  Do we get responsive service?  How can we save more? Is it easy to manage? Are employees getting all the help they need to be prepared for retirement? 

Our role as your plan advisor

  • We will keep you informed and help simplify the management of your retirement plan

  • We are here to help solve problems quickly and efficiently

  • We will help participants understand the plan in SIMPLE terms and help them view the plan as an opportunity to provide long term financial security. 

How We Are Different

Independence: What it Means for You

We have the flexibility to with work with any 401(k) or 403(b) provider and have no incentives to partner with any particular company.  Our services are focused on your best interests and those of your employees.

  • We take an objective viewpoint when advising you on your plan when choosing a vendor and investment options.

  • A fully transparent fee structure

Expertise: Specialized Designations That Benefit You. We’re committed to standards of investment fiduciary excellence.

  • Accredited Investment Fiduciary® Designee: The leading designation for investment fiduciaries for both individuals and retirement plans

  • CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™: CFP™ professionals have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism, and diligence when dealing with clients.

How We Work With You

We are dedicated to:

  • Helping companies, owners and their employees figure out how to use their retirement plan to save as much money as possible.

  • Reviewing your plan to make sure it optimizes saving options.

  • Advising you on all the rules and annual changes for company retirement plans.

  • Offering advice and education for your employees to accumulate savings and get ready for retirement.

  • Serving as your contact with your 401(k) providers and help solve ongoing issues.

  • Working with you to develop the process and documentation to manage the fiduciary responsibilities of having a company retirement plan.

Helping Your Employees Make Better Decisions

We provide advice and education to help your employees understand the plan rules and investment options, guide them through the enrollment process, promote the benefit of having savings plan, and help them feel confident about the decisions they are making toward their retirement savings.

  • Employee education meetings that are simple to understand but impactful.

  • Annual planning for employee education that include:

    • Group meetings for plan updates and enrollment.

    • Individual consultation sessions.

    • Webinars for plan updates and general financial topics.

    • Emails updates with savings and financial ideas.

  • Educatation on how to best use the plan’s website and phone apps.

  • Ongoing assessment to track progress and measure results for employee engagement.

Plan Designed to Maximize Opportunities

We'll help you design a plan that can streamline your administrative responsibilities, maximize savings opportunities, and promote employee satisfaction.

Plan Design

  • Employer contribution modeling and analysis.

  • Review of plan eligibility and distribution provisions.

  • Optimal use of “safe harbors,” such as 404( c) and default investments options.

  • Compliance with legislative and regulatory changes.

Vendor Management and Due Diligence

Ongoing fee benchmarking and analysis against other vendors and plan.

Vendor search services, including:

  • Gathering responses, data, and pricing from several plan vendors.

  • Analyzing costs services, and investment choices

  • Facilitating finalist meetings.

Helping Maximize Your Fiduciary Protection

As a plan sponsor you are required to act in the best interest of plan participants.  This fiduciary responsibility takes careful documentation and review.  As an advisor we stand beside you to help manage the risks and keep you up to date with the changing retirement plan landscape.

  • Serve as a named co-fiduciary to the plan – limited and full scope.

  • Formalize investment committee protocols.

  • Conduct ongoing fiduciary reviews.

  • Manage a fiduciary audit file.

  • Provide guidance on regulatory changes.

Putting Our Investment Expertise to Work for You

We follow a documented process to review investment offerings aimed at enhancing investment outcomes. 

Investment Policy Statement (IPS): This document provides a guideline to establish for choosing and making the changes to the investment line-up.

Investment Analysis and Selection: Evaluate investment options and recommend a balanced lineup that offers  broad choices across asset classes.

Ongoing Assessment and Review: Quarterly investment benchmarking reports that measures against an established criteria consistent with the objectives outlined in the IPS.

Benchmark: Compare the plan and services provided to industry averages to identify areas for enhancement.

This communication strictly intended for individuals residing in the states of CA, CT, DC, FL, IL, IN, MA, MD, ME, NC, NH, NJ, NY, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside these states due to various state regulations and registration requirements regarding investment products and services. Investments are not FDIC- or NCUA-insured, are not guaranteed by a bank/financial institution, and are subject to risks, including possible loss of the principal invested. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRASIPC, a Registered Investment Advisor.

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Copyright © Wealth Planning Resources 2019.

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Wealth Planning Resources

Main Office

460 Totten Pond Road 

Suite 600

Waltham, MA 02451

Call us: 781.547.5620

Duxbury Office

289 St. George Street

Suite 208

Duxbury, MA 02332


Market Update

Market Update for the Quarter Ending December 31, 2020

Presented by John B. Steiger, CFP®™, AIF® 

Strong December caps off solid year for markets

Markets continued to rally in December. The Nasdaq Composite led the way with a 5.71 percent gain for the month. The S&P 500 gained 3.84 percent, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) rose by 3.41 percent. These results contributed to a strong quarter for markets. The Nasdaq returned 15.63 percent while the S&P 500 gained 12.15 percent and the DJIA returned 10.73 percent. For the year, DJIA gained 9.72 percent, the S&P 500 returned 18.40 percent, and the Nasdaq gained 44.92 percent.


These strong results coincided with improving fundamentals. According to Bloomberg Intelligence, as of December 24 with 99 percent of companies having reported, the blended third-quarter earnings decline for the S&P 500 came in at 6.9 percent. This result is significantly better than the initial forecast for a 21.5 percent decline.


Technical factors were also supportive. All three major indices remained above their respective 200-day moving averages for the sixth consecutive month, indicating technical support for markets throughout the second half of the year.


International markets also finished the year strong. The MSCI EAFE Index gained 4.65 percent in December, which contributed to the 16.05 percent increase during the quarter and a 7.82 percent annual gain. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained 7.40 percent during the month, 19.77 percent for the quarter, and 18.69 percent for the year. Technicals were supportive for international markets at year-end, with both indices finishing December above their 200-day moving averages.


Fixed income markets also ended the year with positive results. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index gained 0.14 percent during the month, 0.67 percent for the quarter, and an impressive 7.51 percent for the year. The 3-month U.S. Treasury yield fell from 1.54 percent at the start of the year to 0.09 percent at year-end. Long-term rates also fell. The 10-year began the year at 1.88 percent and dropped to 0.93 percent by year-end.


High-yield fixed income returned 1.88 percent during the month, 6.45 percent for the quarter, and 7.11 percent for the year. High-yield credit spreads finished the year at 3.87 percent—an improvement from the pandemic-induced high of 10.87 percent in March.


Signs of pandemic progress   

We saw signs of progress on the public health front during the month. New cases per day showed improvement at month-end, although it’s likely the holidays contributed to a lull in reporting. If case growth is in fact slowing, we could see a peak in the next few weeks.


Testing also showed some improvement. A slowdown in testing around the holidays led to the positive test rate increasing modestly at month-end, however. The positive test rate finished the month below the recent highs we’ve seen during the third wave, which is a good sign.


Another positive development was the start of the public vaccination process. The number of vaccinations was relatively low at year-end, but the pace should pick up as state and local governments build out the necessary public health infrastructure.


Economic headwinds remain
The third wave still presents risks to the economic recovery. Retail sales and personal spending fell in November, highlighting the headwinds created by increased shutdown measures. As you can see in Figure 1, this was the first drop for personal spending since initial lockdowns were lifted in April. There is hope that the second stimulus bill and continued public health progress will spur spending growth.

Figure 1. Personal Consumer Expenditures, December 2018-Present






Business confidence and spending held up well despite rising case counts. Both manufacturer and service sector confidence remain near or above pre-pandemic levels. These strong confidence figures have translated into faster spending and output growth.

Risks moderate to start 2021

December’s updates highlighted the risks presented by rising case counts and increased local restrictions. But the resilient economy, combined with the expected tailwinds from additional stimulus and further public health progress, indicates we are in a relatively good place to start the year. Given the short-term uncertainty, a well-diversified portfolio that matches investor goals and timelines remains the best path forward for most. But if concerns remain, contact your financial advisor to review your financial plan.

All information according to Bloomberg, unless stated otherwise.


Disclosure: Certain sections of this commentary contain forward-looking statements based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections, and assumptions. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve certain risks and uncertainties, which are difficult to predict. Past performance is not indicative of future results. Diversification does not assure a profit or protect against loss in declining markets. All indices are unmanaged and investors cannot invest directly into an index. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is a price-weighted average of 30 actively traded blue-chip stocks. The S&P 500 Index is a broad-based measurement of changes in stock market conditions based on the average performance of 500 widely held common stocks. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures the performance of all issues listed in the Nasdaq Stock Market, except for rights, warrants, units, and convertible debentures. The MSCI EAFE Index is a float-adjusted market capitalization index designed to measure developed market equity performance, excluding the U.S. and Canada. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index is a market capitalization-weighted index composed of companies representative of the market structure of 26 emerging market countries in Europe, Latin America, and the Pacific Basin. It excludes closed markets and those shares in otherwise free markets that are not purchasable by foreigners. The Bloomberg Barclays Aggregate Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index representing securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar-denominated. It covers the U.S. investment-grade fixed-rate bond market, with index components for a combination of the Bloomberg Barclays government and corporate securities, mortgage-backed pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. The Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index covers the USD-denominated, non-investment-grade, fixed-rate, taxable corporate bond market. Securities are classified as high-yield if the middle rating of Moody’s, Fitch, and S&P is Ba1/BB+/BB+ or below


John B. Steiger is a financial professional with Wealth Planning Resources, LLC at 460 Totten Pond Road ,Suite 600 ,Waltham, MA 02451.  He offers securities as a Registered Representative of Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC. He can be reached at  781.547.5621 or at  john@wprplanning.com.

Authored by Brad McMillan, CFA®, CAIA, MAI, managing principal, chief investment officer, and Sam Millette, senior investment research analyst, at Commonwealth Financial Network®.

© 2020 Commonwealth Financial Network®