Getting Started with Betterment at Work
Welcome! Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting your 401(k) up and running.Getting Started with Betterment at Work Welcome! Here’s your step-by-step guide to getting your 401(k) up and running. You’ve done the due diligence. You’ve picked us as your 401(k) plan provider. You’ve signed a services agreement. Now what? Before we share the steps needed on your part to get your plan up and running, here’s another heartfelt thank you from us to you. Sponsoring a 401(k) plan is a big commitment on your part—the fiduciary responsibilities alone make it one. You’ve placed your trust in us as your plan provider, and we don’t take that lightly. It’s why we stay by your side every step of the way. Speaking of those steps, here are the first ones you’ll take after signing a services agreement: Step 1: Complete a questionnaire One business day after signing a services agreement, you’ll receive an email with a link to a questionnaire that confirms some basic information about your organization and sets up your plan in our system. This questionnaire can only be sent to one person at your organization, typically the person who’s been in contact with our Sales team. Step 2: Log in to your plan sponsor dashboard After completing the questionnaire, you’ll receive an email with a personalized link to your Betterment at Work plan sponsor dashboard, your home for ongoing plan management. After logging in, you’ll see a series of onboarding tasks to complete so we can finish setting up your organization’s plan. Let’s break down some of these tasks below. Step 3: Review and acknowledge the Investment Policy Statement (IPS) This outlines our general investing rules and can be found in your onboarding hub. Step 4: Purchase a fidelity bond Before your first payroll with Betterment at Work, you’ll need to purchase a fidelity bond. This is a form of insurance required of 401(k) plans that protects against acts of fraud or dishonesty. The bond must come from an insurance company certified by the Department of Treasury. While you’re completing steps 1-4, by the way, we’ll be simultaneously drafting your plan document and disclosure notices. Step 5: Review and sign your plan document Once your plan document is ready, you’ll receive an email to review and sign it. After you’ve signed the plan document, we’ll build out your plan on our platform. This can take up to two weeks to get all the details just right. Step 6: Tell your team about their new 401(k) provider! Right after you sign your plan document is a great time to let your team know about your company’s new 401(k) provider: Betterment! This gives employees ample time to get familiar with us before we email them directly with invitations to claim their accounts. It also helps ensure you give this notice the required 30 days or more before your first payroll with us. Not sure what to say? A suggested announcement message is available in your onboarding hub, and includes a link for your employees to register for our recurring Getting Started with your Betterment 401(k) webinar as well as select articles from our employee resource hub (betterment.com/my401k). Step 7: Add employees to your plan Once your plan is built out on our platform, the party really gets started. How employees are added to your plan depends on whether or not your payroll provider integrates with our platform: If your payroll provider is integrated with our platform, we’ll automatically sync employees. You’ll need to review and confirm the list is correct at least 30 days before payroll launch. If your payroll provider is *not* integrated with our platform, you’ll be asked to bulk upload a list of employees at least 30 days before payroll launch, then we’ll generate their accounts. Once your employees’ accounts have been created, we’ll send an email to each employee’s work email inviting them to claim their account and, in the process, create a login. If an employee already has a Betterment account via one of our individual products like an IRA, the claim email will go to their personal email address. Either way, they’ll need to use the unique link in this email to access their account the first time. Step 8: Prepare for your first payroll Check out your onboarding task hub for details on handling your first payroll. Step 9: Celebrate! Congratulations on uploading your first payroll with Betterment at Work! Your employees are now taking advantage of our clean design and straightforward tools to get more out of their 401(k)s. Their accounts will be funded once the ACH deposit is confirmed, which typically takes 1–3 business days depending on your bank. Once your onboarding process is complete, our Onboarding team will send you an email introducing you to our Plan Support team, who can help with all things related to your ongoing plan administration. To access your plan sponsor dashboard, log in here or by clicking "Log in" at the top of the page while visiting betterment.com/work.
What state-mandated plans could mean for your small business
Increasingly, states are requiring that businesses provide retirement plans to employees. ...What state-mandated plans could mean for your small business Increasingly, states are requiring that businesses provide retirement plans to employees. Learn if you may need to enroll in one of these state-mandated plans. State-mandated retirement plans are on the rise due to local and state legislation requiring businesses to provide retirement benefits to their employees. With the growing number of private workers not having access to these crucial benefits, many states decided they had to act. In 2015, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued guidance to support the states effort to help promote retirement benefits within their respective states. What are state-mandated retirement plans? When we talk about “state-mandated plans,” what we mean is that, increasingly, more and more states have passed legislation that require businesses to provide retirement benefits for their employees. In these states, the employer has the option of enrolling their employees in the state-sponsored program or sponsor their own workplace retirement plan offered by providers like Betterment. A state-sponsored plan is typically an individual Retirement Account (IRA) in which the employer sets up for their participants to contribute. Certain features may differ between states so it’s a good idea to check in with your state's specific program. Is a state-mandated retirement plan required for my company and what is the deadline to register? Legislation is continuously being updated for each respective state and new states are emerging with future plans to offer this. To date, we’ve tried to provide resources as enough information becomes available on Betterment’s website. You can find more details on states like California, New York, Oregon and Illinois at the links provided. In most states, the mandate only applies if an employer meets certain criteria, such as having been in business for at least 2 years and having greater than 9 employees, as an example. If you have questions, it’s best to reach out to a representative of your state directly or consult your state’s retirement website (if applicable). That said, a state-mandated plan might not be the best plan for your business. Read on to learn more of the pros and cons. What are the benefits of a state-mandated retirement program? Registration to the program can be relatively quick They have limited employer responsibilities & fees No fiduciary responsibility for the employer Participants gain access to retirement benefits for a modest fee Automatic features can force savings (from which employees can opt out) What are the downsides of a state-mandated retirement program? Deferral limits are much lower than 401(k) plans Employees not able to defer taxes if state plan only utilizes Roth May offer limited financial wellness tools compared to 401(k) providers like Betterment May not be as flexible compared to a 401(k) plan Program may not be as competitive with other retirement vehicles for talent acquisition Missed deadlines can cause penalties to the employer Overall, state-mandated programs are a good push to increase the overall percentage of workers who have access to retirement benefits. As of 2021, 32% of private industry workers do not have any access to retirement benefits. If you are or will be required to offer your employees retirement benefits as a result of a state mandate, please know that you have options in setting up your company’s retirement plan and we are here to help. So, what should I do? For any employer who is concerned with attracting and retaining talent in today’s market, offering a 401(k) has become a table stakes benefit. At the end of the day, state mandated plans are designed to help employees save for retirement, but they may lack some of the benefits that offering a 401(k) plan affords. In order to compete for talent, but also to benefit your business’s bottom line with tax savings, we recommend thinking about designing a more thoughtful retirement option that will help you and your employees in the long run. Want to talk about how? Get in touch.
Employers Step Up and Stand Out with Student Loan Help
Here's why more companies are taking an active role.Employers Step Up and Stand Out with Student Loan Help Here's why more companies are taking an active role. Your staff could very well be loaded up with student loan debt. Heck, you might even have some yourself. None of this is news. But as student loan debt continues to snowball in the U.S.–up to $1.75 trillion as of July 2022– you may be less familiar with the all-hands-on-deck mentality many employers are now taking toward the problem. Companies are getting off the sideline and taking a more active role in helping their workers manage student loans. Here’s how and, more importantly, why. Why companies are adding student loan help to their benefits toolbox The story of how companies came to help with student loans is really the story of the 401(k), or more specifically, why so many employees weren’t touching theirs. A mystery at first, the answer has grown increasingly clear: it’s tough to save for the future when you’re still paying off the past. For employees with student loans, every dollar in their paychecks can represent a zero-sum decision. Do they service their student loans or contribute to their 401(k)? In recent years, however, both employers and employees have signaled a growing expectation to work together on the issue. More than half (57%) of employees believe their company should help them pay off student loans according to exclusive Betterment research on employee financial wellness. Some companies have taken the issue to heart. By complementing their 401(k) with student loan management, they can offer a more holistic compensation package, one that accounts for the drag student loan debt now has on the workforce as a whole. The benefits are numerous: Recruiting and retention advantages When it comes to benefits packages, 401(k)s have become the standard. Translation: beyond a generous match, they don’t always differentiate your company from others. Offering something of unique value can not only attract top talent but keep it. Nearly 9 out of 10 (86%) of young workers say they'd stay at least five years with a company if it helped with student loans. Two-way tax benefits Just like with 401(k)s, offering your staff a student loan management tool is one thing, but the real magic lies in the match. Why is that? It unlocks tax perks for both parties. Thanks to legislation passed by Congress in 2020 (aka the CARES Act), companies who maintain a qualified Section 127 Program can make tax-free annual contributions of up to $5,250 toward their employees’ student loans. This translates into a benefit that lowers both your company’s payroll taxes and your employees’ income taxes. This tax-free treatment is approved through 2025. What to look for in a Student Loan Management tool First and foremost, you want a streamlined admin experience. For many benefits admins, adding another vendor on top of their 401(k) provider is a non-starter. With Betterment, you can get both benefits synced and served up at the same time. If you’re already familiar with Betterment’s 401(k) product, Student Loan Management now slots into the all-in-one dashboard. Last but certainly not least, you want a tool that also makes your employees’ lives easier. Similar to the admin experience, we give your participants a clearer financial picture of their student loans and 401(k) all in one place. We also go the extra mile by helping them balance the competing demands of debt and investing. If you’re interested in bringing Student Loan management to your team, please get in touch. Student loan management services made available in partnership with Spinwheel Solutions, Inc.
All Employer Benefits articles
Your Employees Can’t Focus — and Money Worries Might be WhyYour Employees Can’t Focus — and Money Worries Might be Why Financial anxiety is impacting workers’ ability to do their jobs. Here’s how the benefits you offer can do something about it. From stock market whiplash to escalating inflation, the past year provided plenty for your workers to worry about with respect to their finances. And while you might think they can keep calm and carry on, new research by Betterment at Work is showing these worries are impacting their productivity. More than half (54%) of the 1,000 full-time U.S. employees surveyed in our latest Financial Wellness Barometer say financial anxiety makes it difficult for them to focus at work. So what’s an employer to do beyond increasing base pay? You’d be surprised how much benefits can help. In addition to offering a barometer of workers’ overall financial wellness and the unique struggles they face, our annual survey zeroes in on the benefits employees value most. Our survey found that while turnover has cooled since a year ago, it’s still well above average, showing the Great Reshuffle is far from over. More than half (54%) of workers surveyed would be enticed to change jobs for better benefits. Which benefits exactly? A 401(k) is mentioned most often among desirable financial wellness benefits, but it’s not the stopping point. Hot on its heels are two other benefits, with each one illustrated by a troubling trend. Breaking the retirement bank, in case of emergency An alarming number of surveyed workers (more than one-in-four) tapped into their retirement accounts to pay for short-term expenses. This behavior not only has big implications for their retirement goals, but can quickly become a bad habit. Instead of getting a high yield on cash set aside for short-term expenses, like the variable 4.50%* offered in a Betterment Cash Reserve account, savers who dip into their retirement accounts early are, with few exceptions, slapped with a 10% penalty by the IRS. All of this points to a notable lack of emergency funds—and explains why an employer-sponsored emergency fund is the second-most desired benefit beyond a 401(k). These funds act similar to a 401(k), with contributions automatically coming from a worker’s paycheck, albeit without the tax benefits of a retirement account. At a minimum, employers can help educate their workers on emergency funds and how to build them. Feeling the squeeze from student loans Nearly half of Millennial and Gen Z workers surveyed currently hold student loan debt — and a lot of it. Among all workers surveyed who hold this type of debt, the majority (59%) owe at least $10,000. Payments on federal student loans may still be paused through at least the first half of 2023, but the previously-announced $10,000 of debt relief on said federal loans is now in limbo. And with this much student debt saddling Americans, saving for retirement will likely continue taking a back seat to paying down student loans. This also shows why greater employer support would be welcome in this space. That support can take the form of 401(k) add-ons like our Student Loan Management.