As a four year old, every night when I went to bed I wanted to hear a story. Years later my mother explained why she often acquiesced. She said, “Bruce, we become what we think about. I wanted to influence what you thought about when you went to sleep every night.” Thanks Mom … I also remembered that every story ended with a prayer. We connect and even become what we think about.

Upon reflection, if we never think about a subject, by definition, it will not become part of who we are. On the other hand, if I think a lot about coffee beans, I don’t suppose I will become a coffee bean …

I think a lot about how plan sponsors are going to handle fee disclosure. I’m contemplating information, strategies, and support material that will help them. I really have thought a lot about that subject. I wonder how many plan sponsors are thinking about it too?

When we are faced with action deadlines, many will wait until the deadline is at hand to take the indicated or required action. I think that is the reality with many plan sponsors regarding fee disclosure. It is not a very compelling topic, regardless of how important it is. There may be a little fear in the mix too: Fear of what the “Executive Team” is going to say; Fear of that one staff member who always speaks up with a critical spirit about anything that is going on. The stress level goes up as the deadline approaches.

With all of that in mind, and with the deadline for distributing the initial participant fee disclosure approaching, what is the best stress reliever? My suggestion is to get out front and “tell them the story”. My mother, in her way, was impacting my future and managing my expectations as a young boy. The results continue to a very mature age. I believe the process is similar. We need to get out in front and influence their thinking.

Another Mom adage I’ve referred to before: “ Tell’m what your are going to tell’m, tell’m, and then tell’m what you told’m.” So, here might be a step by step process to follow (a good process to follow for any issue):

  1. Advise either on your internal web page, via email, or at a staff meeting that fee transparency is upon us and great information about the expenses associated with the retirement plan will be forthcoming. Indicate that you are working with your provider, Envoy Financial, to bring the information to them.
  2. Use the webinar explaining the process provided to you by Envoy Financial:
    1. Show in a staff meeting, using either the narrated version or just the slides and you provide the narrative, or
    2. Point them to the presentation with a link via email.
  3. When you distribute the Disclosure information, also review how to go to the web portal, resource center, and other helps. This demonstrates the added value that comes along with the investment selection and provides context for the expenses.
  4. Either at the same time, or soon thereafter describe your Retirement Plan Oversight Committee, its role in the process of providing the greatest value to your total team with regard to the retirement plan.
  5. Finally, remind them that “Retirement is not only a reward to past service, but also a stepping stone to Future Ministry”. A Future Funded Ministry Plan indeed.

Thanks Mom for modeling the value of a story well told.

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