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Study Confirms Concern About Retirement

May 16, 2018


According to new data from Northwestern Mutual’s annual Planning & Progress Study, 78% of working Americans feel underprepared for the financial realities of retirement which seems to be driven by dramatic shortfalls in savings combined with declining confidence in Social Security. As a result, more Americans anticipate retiring at 70 years or older (38%) than in the more traditional 65-69 age range (33%).

Key findings from the study include:

  • Two-thirds of working Americans believe there is some likelihood of outliving retirement savings while nearly eight in 10 people are “extremely” or “somewhat” concerned about affording a comfortable retirement.
  • One in five or 21% of workers have no retirement savings at all
  • One in three Baby Boomers (33%), the generation closest to retirement age, only have between $0-$25,000 in retirement savings
  • Three-quarters of Americans believe it is “not at all likely” (24%) or only “somewhat likely” (51%) that Social Security will be available when they retire
  • Nearly half (46%) of adults have taken no steps to prepare for the likelihood that they could

Findings confirm that working Americans are concerned about their financial security in retirement which is a driver to why people are planning to work longer.

These results are part of an initial set of findings from the 2018 Study commissioned by Northwestern Mutual to explores Americans’ attitudes and behaviors toward money, financial decision making, and the broader landscape issues impacting long-term financial security.

https://news.northwesternmutual.com/2018-05-08-1-In-3-Americans-Have-Less-Than-5-000-In-Retirement-Savings

FBG Statement Regarding Recent Litigation With FCE Benefits

May 3, 2018


Fringe Benefit Group, Inc. (“FBG”), an industry leader in the design, implementation, and administration of health and retirement plans for government contractors, has provided working Americans with valuable benefits for more than 30 years. As a result of FBG’s business success, competitors will occasionally make false claims against FBG in an attempt to discredit the company or steal FBG’s customers.

In 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas ordered a competitor to stop deceptive marketing and copyright infringement against FBG. The judge found that the competitor violated the Lanham Act, Copyright Act, and engaged in unfair competition against FBG.

Recently, FBG became aware that another competitor has engaged in a campaign to mislead FBG customers by distributing untruthful information about FBG. In response to this competitor’s repeated attempts to discredit FBG and the services it provides to its customers, FBG has filed suit against FCE Benefits Administrators, Inc. (“FCE Benefits”) and Chris Porter, the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for FCE Benefits.

FBG’s CEO Travis West stated, “From time to time, a competitor will cross the line and attempt to malign our corporate reputation. We have been made aware that FCE Benefits is spreading untruthful information about us in the marketplace. We cannot and will not tolerate these unscrupulous business practices, which is why we have filed suit against them. We will aggressively defend our business against FCE Benefits’ false claims and have taken legal action against FCE Benefits to protect our reputation and to comfort our customers, who have received untruthful information from FCE Benefits. We are very proud of the services we provide to government contractors and the working Americans they employ. Thousands of working Americans are now able to access health insurance for themselves and their families – and build retirement savings accounts – as a result of the plans we offer. We believe that that the court will compel FCE Benefits to stop its deceptive marketing practices, just as the court previously stopped another competitor.”

Complaint Filed

Approach to Infrastructure Overhaul

May 1, 2018


Since March, there has been constant talk about a gradual approach to achieving President Trump’s infrastructure overhaul plan. When the White House officials initially unveiled the $200 billion infrastructure plan they did not designate the source of funding for the proposal. Many envisioned that the overhaul would come as one giant package, but now it seems that Congress will be taking a piecemeal approach, breaking the plan into a series of measures.  

First to announce this piecemeal approach was Speaker Paul Ryan at an event in Georgia back on March 12th where he affirmed the House Republicans intent on overhauling infrastructure this year through a series of multiple bills. Ryan said that the infrastructure plan would be tackled as five or six different bills which are more realistic in the upcoming midterm election year.

Just a few weeks later, President Trump was speaking to local workers in Ohio about his infrastructure plan and noted that the plan “can be passed in one bill, or in a series of measures.” Trump acknowledged that Congress might not have the eagerness for a giant overhaul of the country’s infrastructure but stated that “what matters, is that we get the job done.”

Further reinforcement came at the end of March when White House Economist Kevin Hassett spoke about the approach to Trump’s infrastructure plan. Hassett acknowledged that Congress might indeed want to tackle things little by little, an approach that is doable, but it will also mean that every time Congress legislates, they will be looked upon for achieving infrastructural progress even in the smallest of forms.

 

The Doubt Of The Benefit

April 5, 2018


How quality, competitive benefits packages can attract & retain valuable employees

 

Pain points—every industry has them. And, at times, it might feel like contractors have more than their fair share.

Contractors who work on prevailing wage jobs undoubtedly see the complex regulations that apply to these projects as a burden they learn to live with in order to benefit from the opportunities presented by government-funded jobs. For example, there’s the sometimes confusing question of how to handle the fringe cost on government jobs.

Today, your employees may want the fringe amount paid in cash. However, is that a decision you both will regret later on? Could you win more jobs for them to work on by putting the fringe amount of the wage determination toward benefits, which lowers your job costs and makes your bids more competitive?

Click the link below to read more:

JP_CBO_Article_April_18

Information Regarding Recent Litigation Involving Fringe Benefit Group

March 20, 2018


In July of 2017, Fringe Benefit Group, Inc. was sued alleging that The Contractors Retirement Trust and The Contractors Plan Trust charge excessive fees for the administrative services it provides to our valued customers. The lawsuit has no merit and was dismissed by the court on November 7, 2017. The court gave the plaintiffs a short window to re-file their lawsuit, which they did on December 4, 2017. After review of this amended filing, we continue to believe the lawsuit is without merit and filed a motion to dismiss this amended complaint on January 15, 2018.

The suit was filed by three employees of one of our clients. Our client, their employer, is not a party to the litigation. The allegations in the lawsuit reflect a lack of understanding of the administrative services we provide and the compliance assistance that we offer our employers. The language in the complaint is not supported by any market data. We deny these allegations and are vigorously defending this matter.

Plaintiff class action lawsuits alleging excessive fees have become common in the ERISA litigation landscape. Most of these actions have not been successful. Many have been settled for a small fraction of the demanded amount to make the lawsuit go away and not because the defendant companies or financial institutions believed the lawsuits had any merit.

Since 1983, Fringe Benefit Group, Inc. has provided a turnkey arrangement to assist employers subject to prevailing wage laws. We believe that we offer the highest quality services to close to 2,000 employers that have sponsored plans through The Contractors Plan. The allegations in the recent complaint distort the fees, services and value we provide and are baseless.

Please let us know if you have any additional questions. If you would like to review the related documents and filings, please feel free to click on the links below.

Complaint Filed

Motion to Dismiss

Order Granting Motion to Dismiss

Amended Complaint

Motion to Dismiss- Amended Complaint

December 2017 Construction Spending

February 21, 2018


The U.S. Census Bureau announced construction spending increased for December 2017 at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,253.3 billion, 0.7 percent above the revised November estimate. It was also up 2.6 percent from December 2016, and construction in 2017 was $1,230.6 billion, up 3.8 percent from $1,185.7 billion in 2016. 

While private construction spending was $963.2 billion, 0.8 percent above the revised November estimate of $955.9 billion; public construction spending was $290.0 billion, which is up 0.3 percent above last month’s revised estimates of $289.1 billion.

Educational construction spending is one of the main contributors to the public construction increase, which was at the adjusted annual rate of $75.5 billion, 1.6 percent above the revised November estimate. Highway construction which was also up to  $88.3 billion, a 0.3 percent increase from revised November estimate.

In 2017, the value of public construction was $279.8, a 2.5 percent decrease from 2016. However educational construction in 2017 was $ 71.2 billion, 2.5 percent above the 2016 figure of $ 69.5 billion.  

More information may be found at: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf

 

State of the Union; Addresses Infrastructure Plan

February 1, 2018


In his State of the Union Address, President Trump talked about his Infrastructure Plan, calling on Congress to come together to give Americans a safe, fast, reliable and modern infrastructure that our economy needs. 

Trump emphasized that the bill would generate at least $1.5 trillion for the new infrastructure investment and that every dollar would be leveraged by partnering with State and local Governments, and where appropriate, would tap into private sector investment to permanently fix the infrastructure deficit.

The funding approach is consistent with what White House Officials shared back in December; a 10-year, $200 billion plan meant to leverage about $1 trillion worth of overall infrastructure investment expected to go towards the nation’s roads and bridges. The goal is to generate hundreds of billions more from local governments and private investors for U.S. road, rail, water and utility work.

Trump also remarked that a major problem today is the approval processes and said that any infrastructure bill must address the need to streamline the permitting and approval process; reducing it down to two years or less.

Trump’s Infrastructure plan is expected to be issued by early spring. For any bill to move forward, it will need to be a bipartisan effort to get the necessary 60 votes from the Senate. Currently, the potential of a plan going forward looks promising as both parties appear in support of such a Bill.

Education Construction Spending Is Up

January 22, 2018


The U.S. Census Bureau announced construction spending for November 2017 was up at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1,257.0 billion, 0.8 percent above the revised October estimate. It was also up 2.4 percent from November 2016, and during the first eleven months of this year, construction spending amounted to $1,138.3 billion, 4.2 percent above the $1,091.9 billion for the same period in 2016.

While private constructions spending was 1.0 percent above the revised October estimate of $955.1 billion; public construction spending was $292.7 billion which is up 0.2 percent above last month’s revised estimates of $292.0 billion.  

One of the main contributors to the public construction spending growth in November came from educational construction which was at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $78.8 billion, 3.8 percent above the revised October estimate of $75.9 billion and up 12.0 percent from a year ago.

More information may be found at: https://www.census.gov/construction/c30/pdf/release.pdf

White House To Unveil Infrastructure Plan Come January 2018

December 19, 2017


According to White House Officials, President Trump is expected to unveil his infrastructure plan shortly after Republicans pass a tax reform bill, which the GOP hopes to have completed before the end of the year. Though specifics of the program are not yet known, the administration supposedly has developed a 70-page document that would serve as the guiding policy for the infrastructure legislation come January.

 D.J. Gribbin, the president’s adviser on infrastructure previewed a few details with an audience at the Hudson Institute on Dec. 12 affirming that states will be asked to invest heavily in projects of regional significance. Meaning if a state or local elected official would be willing to create a new revenue stream for infrastructure, the federal government, in turn, would partner with them in doing that. Gribbin also mentioned that the plan would accelerate the permitting process of construction projects and would pave the way for more toll roads.

The administrations’ 70-page document reportedly breaks down a 10-year, $200 billion plan meant to spark $800 billion in private sector investments. Federal dollars are expected to be put towards the nation’s roads and bridges, with a goal of generating the hundreds of billions more from local governments and private investors for U.S. road, rail, water and utility work.

 

Measuring Adequacy Of Retirement Income

November 22, 2017


In October, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report Measuring the Adequacy of Retirement Income; A Primer. Intended to explain the various measures and approaches that researchers apply today and to provide a framework for the additional analysis of adequate retirement income.

While the report focuses on the different measures and approaches; it did find that overall, across the studies, the share of current workers who were at risk of having inadequate income ranged from about one-third to two-thirds.

The report presented a framework for future analysis of the adequacy of retirement income and was prepared at the request of the Chairman of the Senate Committee on the Budget. As directed, the CBO’s report provides objective and impartial analysis but does not make any recommendations.

Here is a link to the report; https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/53191-retirementadequacy.pdf