August 2018


Cable Hill Partners

Summer is here and it’s a hot, hot, hot one! Take a few moments to enjoy your air-conditioned office and conduct a “check-up” on your personal retirement account using the retirement plan check-up guide on page 5. An employee-facing version of the retirement plan check-up is included as an attached PDF and we encourage you to share this with your office.

This issue of “Advice at a Higher Level” is all about retirement plan health and addressing common issues that arise related to former employee accounts and distributions. We provide best practices for helping prevent uncashed retirement distribution checks and outline the potential “Pros” and “Cons” to forcing out former participants.

Cable Hill Partners continues to grow, and we’re excited to introduce Mandy Peterson as our newest Client Service Associate. Check out page 6 to learn more about how Mandy and the rest of your Cable Hill Partners Retirement Team are beating the heat this summer.

Stay Cool,
Shelby Gatewood
Service Advisor

For more information about this newsletter, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
1155 SW Morrison Street, Suite 400, Portland, OR 97205 |


The opinions referenced are as of the date of publication and are subject to change due to changes in the market or economic conditions and may not necessarily come to pass. Information contained herein is for informational purposes only and should not be considered investment advice.

Past performance does not guarantee future results.

Please note that all investments are subject to market and other risk factors, which could result in loss of principal. Fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa.


Managing uncashed retirement checks may be considered a nuisance by plan administrators. Nevertheless, the employer still has a fiduciary responsibility when a former employee fails to cash their distribution.

Search efforts to locate a missing plan participant consume time and money and may fail to locate the participant. Likewise, going through the process of turning over dormant accounts to the state can also consume time and resources.

Decrease the burden of uncashed checks by:

  1. Discussing with terminating employees during the exit interview the options for their retirement plan. Employees may forget they have a company-sponsored retirement plan, or don’t know how to manage it.

  2. Reminding departing employees that they can roll over their retirement assets into their new employer’s plan. Your plan’s service provider or the new employer can answer questions the former employee may have about the rollover process.

  3. Letting employees with an account balance of $1,000 or less know they should expect to receive a check in the mail after a certain amount of time.

  4. Having the employee verify their current address to where the check can be sent.

Remember, fiduciary responsibility and liability extends to terminated employees with assets in the plan. This responsibility includes delivery of all required distributions and all fiduciary prudence responsibilities. Stay in touch with this important group.



Health care expenses are one of the most critical issues that workers and employers face today. Historically, both health care and retirement savings have largely been kept separate, but that conversation is changing. As health care is increasingly considered through the lens of financial wellness, employers need to understand the savings options.

Pretax and Roth retirement account contributions, along with HSAs, are three common ways that many employees can save for health care expenses in retirement. It’s important to consider the advantages of each.

HSAs Paired with a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) Can Be Part of a Competitive Benefits Package

The old mantra of offering a competitive benefits package to “recruit, retain, and reward” needs updating. With an emphasis on financial wellness and health care flexibility, the “three R’s” should now shift to “recruit, retain, and retire.”


Depending on your organization’s size, offering an HSA could be seen as a differentiator, or merely table stakes, versus your competition.

87% of jumbo employers,
72% of large employers, and
34% of small employers

…plan to offer HSAs by 2019.3

Understanding the differences in Health Care Savings options


HSAs can support retention efforts for key employee demographics (e.g., healthy millennials who prefer the ability to save for their own health care expenses and executives who appreciate an HSA’s “triple-tax” advantage).

  • $4,129 is the average cost of onboarding a new hire.4


Comprehensive benefits all add up to providing employees with financial support that allows them to retire when they want to rather than when they have to.

64% of employees think health care costs will impact their retirement.5

HSAs may help you bring value to your employees. We suggest that you:

  1. Arrange for fair and balanced reviews of health care savings options, strategies, and benefits to employees
  2. Review educational materials to ensure that they are clear and comprehensive
  3. Connect the health care conversation to retirement and financial wellness
  4. Evaluate adoption and usage data
  5. Explore ways to provide employees with HSA investment education or guidance

HSAs may make sense for certain employers, especially since the average cost of an HSA-eligible plan is 22% LESS than a traditional PPO.

Terminated Participant Balances


Is there regulatory guidance that would indicate whether forcing out terminated participants is favorable to keeping them in? What fiduciary liabilities are absolved by forcing them out (assuming the plan document allows for forceouts)?

Assuming consistency with the plan document, there is no expanded fiduciary liability in forcing former employees out of the plan, as this is an allowable plan provision. As to whether cashing participants out is preferable to keeping them in, that depends on benefit to the plan or benefit to the participants.

An example would be if the plan is of significant size to have competitive expenses and access to sufficiently diverse investments including appropriately selected TDFs, it should typically benefit most participants to remain in the plan from an investment perspective.

From the viewpoint of the plan, if participants leaving the plan leave it in a less competitive pricing structure, it would benefit the plan to keep them in. Since these are low account balances, this is unlikely to be the case.

There are potential positives and negatives for both plan and participant interests, therefore it is best determined on a case-specific basis, but most typically it benefits the plan to cash out low account balances. This is because if assets remain in the plan, the plan fiduciaries remain responsible for all prudence requirements including distributions to terminated participants. So, small account balances can be an inconvenience to the plan and fiduciaries.

Participant Corner


This quarter’s employee memo encourages employees to conduct a regular examination of their retirement plan to determine whether any changes need to be made.
Share the attached retirement check-up memo with your employees.

It’s important for you and your participants to conduct regular check-ups on your retirement plan to make sure you are on track to reach your retirement goals. Below are a few questions to ask yourself, at least annually, to see if (and how) they affect your retirement planning.

1) Review the Past Year

Did you receive a raise or inheritance?
If yes, consider increasing your retirement contributions.

Did you get married or divorced?
If yes, you may need to update your retirement account beneficiaries.

Are you contributing the maximum allowed by the IRS?
In 2018 you can contribute up to $18,500, or $24,500 if you’re age 50 or older (401k plans).

Did you change jobs and still have retirement money with your previous employer?
You may be able to consolidate your assets with your current plan (contact retirement plan advising team member Shelby Gatewood with Cable Hill Partners for more details).

2) Set a Goal

What do you want your retirement to look like? Do you want to travel? Will retirement be an opportunity to turn a hobby into a part-time business? Will you enjoy simple or extravagant entertainment?
Take time to map out your specific goals for retirement. Participants that set a retirement goal today, felt more confident about having a financially independent retirement down the road.

3) Gauge Your Risk Tolerance

Understanding how comfortable you are with investment risk can help you determine what kind of allocation strategy makes the most sense for you. Remember, over time, and as your life changes, so will your risk tolerance.
Using asset allocation as part of your investment strategy neither assures nor guarantees better performance and cannot protect against loss of principal due to changing market conditions.

4) Ask for Help

If you have questions about your retirement plan or are unsure of how to go about saving for retirement, ask for help. Your Cable Hill Partners Retirement Plan Advising Team can help you evaluate your progress with your retirement goals, determine how much you should be saving and help you decide which investment choices may be suitable for you.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / (p) (503) 765-1223

Staying Cool With Cable Hill Partners

We asked each member of the retirement team how they’re staying cool this summer:
Jeff Gates, CFP®, MBA – Lead Advisor

Jeff Gates, CFP®, MBA – Lead Advisor

(p) 503.765.1242 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jeff has been staying cool by working on home improvement projects indoors. He also ventured to Michigan for a large family reunion earlier this summer and got a taste of what true humidity feels like.
Shelby Gatewood, CRPS® – Service Advisor

Shelby Gatewood, CRPS® – Service Advisor

(p) 503.765.1227 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

During these hot days, Shelby and her dogs stay cool by walking down to her neighborhood Sellwood Park and go for a quick swim in the Willamette river.  Nothing better than an innertube, sandals and wet dogs!

ZACH REUTER – Client Service Associate

ZACH REUTER – Client Service Associate

(p) 503.765.1223 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zach’s summer heat solutions center around finding an air-conditioning system. Before his current apartment (which has A/C), Zach and his spouse built a home-made air conditioning contraption using a Styrofoam cooler, scissors, a fan, and a block of ice.

MANDY PETERSON – Client Service Associate

MANDY PETERSON – Client Service Associate

(p) 503.765.1223 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

On hot summer weekends Mandy heads to the mountains to experience the cool air and the summer breeze. After a hike to one of the spectacular mountain lakes, she wades in the crisp water to cool down before heading back down the trail.


  • 1
    Retirement Plan Advisory Group. “Tips for Preventing Uncashed Retirement Checks?” Retirement Times X (July 2018):2.Print
  • 2
    Retirement Plan Advisory Group. “This Won’t Hurth a Bit: It’s Time to Include Health Care in a Holistic Retirement Strategy” Retirement Times X (August 2018):2.Print
  • 3
    Mercer’s National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans. Small employers have 10-499 employees, large employers have 500-19,999 employees, and jumbo employers have 20,000+ employees.
  • 4
    2016 Strategic Benefits Survey—Assessment and Communication of Benefits, SHRM 2016.
  • 5
    2017 PWC Employee Financial Wellness Survey. For additional information please reference T. Rowe Price “Using Health Savings Accounts Wisely” white paper. This material is provided for general and educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice. This material does not provide fiduciary recommendations concerning investments or investment management.
  • 6
    Retirement Plan Advisory Group. “Hey Joel!” Retirement Times X (August 2018):2.Print
  • 7
    Retirement Plan Advisory Group. “Participant Corner: Retirement Plan Check-Up” Retirement Times X (August 2018):2.Print

To subscribe to this newsletter, please email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation. Comments concerning the past performance are not intended to be forward looking and should not be viewed as an indication of future results. All investments involve varying levels and types of risks. These risks can be associated with the specific investment, or with the marketplace as a whole. Loss of principal is possible. Russell 1000® Growth Index measures the performance of those Russell 1000 companies with higher price-to-book ratios and higher forecasted growth values. Russell 1000® Value Index measures the performance of those Russell 1000 companies with lower price-to-book ratios and lower forecasted growth values. The “Retirement Times” is published monthly by Retirement Plan Advisory Group’s marketing team. This material is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax adviser, investment professional or insurance agent.

© 2018. Retirement Plan Advisory Group.

Contact Us

Cable Hill Partners 1155 SW Morrison Street Suite 400 Portland, OR 97205
To experience Advice at a Higher Level, contact us for an informal meeting or no-obligation portfolio assessment.
Cable Hill Partners
1155 SW Morrison Street
Suite 400
Portland, OR 97205
p: 503.765.1223
t: 888.313.0417
f: 503.765.1224
e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
© All materials are copyrighted 2020 Cable Hill Partners LLC.