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6 Obstacles to Retirement: Part 2

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Chad Parks is Founder, President, and CEO of Ubiquity Retirement + Savings, formerly The Online 401(k), has helped savers contribute over $1.4 billion towards their retirement since 1999. As one of the first flat-fee-for-service small business plan providers in the nation, Ubiquity delivers peace-of-mind with zero hidden-fees in the fine print. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with satellite offices from coast-to-coast. Read More...

Parks started out as a broker in the financial services industry by growing a portfolio of individual clients at San Francisco’s Piper Jaffray. Driven by a desire to better serve his clients while anticipating the phasing out of the traditional broker model, Parks left Piper Jaffray in 1997 to obtain his CFP designation and start his own fee-for-service, independent financial planning practice, Retirement & Education Group, Inc.

In his financial planning practice, Parks came across many small business owners looking for cost-effective and quality retirement plans. Finding the small business market highly neglected and underserved, Parks saw the opportunity and took it by launching The Online 401(k). Today, Ubiquity serves more than 7,000 small business customers in 50 states, providing solutions both directly and through partners, such as Zenefits, Charles Schwab & Co. and Morningstar, as well as payroll companies, financial planners and CPAs.

Parks has been quoted in many financial services as well as national publications such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Fox Business, Yahoo! Finance, USA Today, CNN Money, Bloomberg Wealth Manager, Business Week, Entrepreneur and Plan Sponsor for his considerable work performed in the space of small business retirement as well as his foray into documentaries with his independently produced Broken Eggs Film, released in 2014.

With his extensive work in Washington DC in getting legislation passed in order to stop the practice of hiding fees in the fine print, Parks has become the go-to expert on public policy as it relates to 401(k), as well as the looming retirement crisis in America, and what we can do to fix it.

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October 29, 2015 at 11:16 am
Personal Finance

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In part 1, we introduced some of the obstacles that are causing the looming retirement crisis. It’s a very serious problem in this country and will only get worse as more Boomers retire – 10,000 will turn 65 years old every day for the next 19 years. We are approaching the era where the pogo stick permanently replaces the three-legged stool model of retirement.

Currently, saving for retirement rests squarely on the shoulders of individuals, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The government, the retirement industry and employers have the power to change and reverse the looming retirement crisis. First we need to have an honest conversation and recognize the obstacles holding Americans back from reaching the retirement we all deserve.

In addition to the two obstacles we covered last time – coverage and participation – here are two more roadblocks. Keep an eye out for the final part in this series, which will address the last two obstacles.

1. Saving Enough

In an earlier post, we discussed the new reality of retirement savings sources: Pensions are basically extinct, and Social Security is slated to be insolvent by 2033. That means you alone are responsible for saving enough to last you through retirement.

The problem is that most people’s nest eggs are underfunded. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 57 percent of workers report that the total value of their family’s savings and investments is less than $25,000 (this figure does not include the equity in their home or a defined benefit plan). Of that group, 28 percent of people have less than $1,000 saved.

Our solution? Auto-increasing savings amounts. For workers enrolled in a defined contribution plan, it is difficult to remember to keep increasing their deferral rate; plus, many people second-guess the decision as they believe they need the money more now than they will later. By auto-escalating deferral rates, we can help people save more without putting the burden on them to elect to save more.

2. Investing Appropriately

Investment selection and portfolio allocation both seem to trip up savers very frequently – and with good reason. After all, most people don’t have expertise in the markets, and yet their future ultimately depends on these very complicated concepts and products.

It’s no surprise we are concerned that people are not investing appropriately for their age, risk tolerance or current market conditions. How can you know what is considered appropriate for you when you’re tasked with doing this on your own?

Our solution? Cost-effective professional advice. When there is a plumbing issue in your house, you call a professional plumber. It’s that same logic that should encourage the retirement industry and employers to offer professional resources to assist savers with their investment selection and ensure its suitability for their unique situation and goals.