Interview with EBA Retirement Advisor of the Year: Dr. Gregory Kasten, Part II
Each year, EBA names an adviser of the year that exemplifies nimble management and engagement in the ever-shifting waters of employee benefits. Dr. Gregory Kasten, the founder, and CEO of Unified Trust Company, took home the honor of Retirement Adviser of the Year. Dr. Kasten took some time after the recent award to speak with us about retirement, the move from medical to financial, and provide some advice to small businesses and their employees.
Andrew: Let’s just jump back into things and go a bit back to basics. What would you say is the largest challenge as a retirement plan advisor?
Dr. Kasten: The biggest challenge, I think for the modern retirement plan advisor, is to get clients to focus on the right metrics. The major metric is whether or not participants will be able to retire with an adequate benefit. Most plan sponsors focus on simplistic metrics such as participation rates or what type of mutual funds are in the plan. When plan sponsors start thinking of 401(k) plans as actual retirement plans, they will focus more and more on whether or not the participants will retire with an adequate benefit. That’s the only metric that counts.
Andrew: What advice would you give small companies looking for a retirement account? What would you say to their employees?
Dr. Kasten: I would encourage the company looking to have a successful 401(k) plan to think of it as a retirement plan. That means they need to work with an advisor, third-party administrator and a discretionary trustee that is focused on participant outcomes and can reliably demonstrate how they can have an impact on that metric. Plan sponsors and advisors should be satisfied with nothing less [than improvement in outcomes].
Employees should understand that this retirement income decision they face is the largest financial transaction they will likely deal with in their life. For most employees, the purchase of retirement income is 2-3 times larger than the value of their home. But yet they generally spend less than 10-20 minutes a year thinking about their 401(k) plan. So, it’s no wonder that they fail. They would do well to partner with an entity that is focused on their outcome, receive communications that are clear-cut, can be trusted, have faith in the process, and let the expert engineer a successful outcome for them.
Andrew: Anyone not willing to think about and take that advice to heart should rethink their retirement goals! Thank you so much, Dr. Kasten, on your thoughts and advice. It’s been a real pleasure.
For folks wanting more information about Dr. Kasten, please visit Unified Trust. For folks still interested in learning the basics, be sure to tune in to our weekly Andrew Answers video blog to take your retirement to the next level!