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ANNOUNCEMENTS


How to use this Web-site:

Our online ADP/ACP test is fast, accurate and user-friendly!
Simply upload your employee data, run the test, and print the results.
This service is very valuable, and it's very easy to use.

We suggest you have a professional TPA review your first test. You can then confidently and quickly run test after test!

February, 2014

Apex Ohio joins 401kTest.com, for Administration and Testing.

Please join me in welcoming Apex Ohio to the 401kTest family! Apex joined forces with 401kTest.com to provide comprehensive pension benefit services to their payroll clients. Clients now have access to the following services and more:
  • Free interim testing for YTD payroll - any time their clients need it.
  • Free technical support.
  • Expert Pension planning and Administration Services by a team that has been in the business for over 40 years!
  • Flexibility to work with almost any investment firm in the country.
  • Pricing that's targeted for the small business community. Apex can now offer a Pension Plan that rivals the fortune 1,000, but it's priced for the small business community!
  • Apex Ohio is a large payroll firm located in Central Ohio. Their corporate mission is to take exceptional care of their employees and customers, to be a great place to work, and foster a culture where they strive to 'Wow' their customers in every interaction. Apex provides a very personalized experience by tailoring their services to each client's exact needs. Apex can be contacted thru their web-site: http://1096.apexpayroll.com/about.aspx

    ADP/ACP Testing Made Easy!

    Here are 3 very inexpensive ways to do the ADP and ACP tests:
    1. Sign up for 401kTest.com for $30 bucks.**
    2. Read these instructions and do it in Excel: www.401ktest.com/pages/terminology.asp#procedures
    3. Take a 2-hour course, CPE approved, for $20 at www.cpecredit.com - enter the keyword '401k' to find their ADP / ACP courses.

    January, 2014

    Finalized 2014 prices for testing subscriptions.

    ** We are committed to provide interim testing that's easy and affordable, so we created a 3-month initial subscription for $10 a month.
    Subsequent single-user licenses are for 1-year at $5 per month - $60!!

    There have been rumblings of a buyout, but our commitment to pricing will remain as long as the current ownership remains in control, which could be for a very long time! It's our pleasure to be of service so, Happy Testing!
    Please contact us if you have questions, need help with administration, etc..





    November, 2013

    We are adjusting the price of our annual subscriptions.

    401kTest.com is committed to keep the price of interim testing at an affordable level, even though there have been numberous upgades to the service, including the addition of a tech support team.

    "We're changing our subscription price to $10 a month, which is less than 10% of the service's value: We want interim testing to remain affordable for everyone who needs it, so we're keeping the price very low."
    No one should have to be surprised by an ADP/ACP test failure."

    "Our Tech Support Team can also provide affordable, mid-year, Top-Heavy testing. Contact them at 800.310.4975 for details."

    The price change will take place before the middle of November, 2013.

    401kTest.com has added a number of features to their service offering in the last couple years:
  • Integrated Third Party Administration.
  • Free Tools, including 401k Loan Processing Tools
  • A tech support staff that's available 5 days a week.
    401kTest.com's service to the small business retirement community is unmatched by anyone, anywhere. No one even comes close!





    September, 2013


    401kTest.com partners with NH Hicks to provide more comprehensive Tech Support:

    NH Hicks, a national TPA firm headquartered in CA, is under-writing 401kTest.com?s interim testing service beginning Monday, September 16th. They also agreed to provide assistance with testing and strategic planning at a reasonable hourly rate.

    401kTest had been searching for a good TPA since August, 2010, and we're happy the search is over. NH Hicks was an easy choice to make because they had everything we were looking for on behalf of our clients:
  • Products that serve companies ranging from 2 employees to 200.
  • Can work with any investment provider.
  • Flexible reporting platform options.
  • Low administration fees that are clearly disclosed.
  • Great technical support.
  • Willingness to serve the best interests of the small business community. We're looking forward to working with NH Hicks, and we?d strongly recommend them to anyone who needs a great TPA.

    Contact NH Hicks at 800.310.4975 for more information about their services, fees, or their commitment to the small business community.
    Contact 401kTest.com at info@401ktest.com for information about how this relationship will affect their testing service.





    October, 2012

    2013 Plan Limits have been released!

    The 2013 limits for 401Ks and SIMPlES are listed on our Tables and Terminology page for your convenience. The testing program will be updated for these limits well before Spring, 2013. You can use 2012 limits if you want to do estimates for 2013. They haven't changed that much.

    Our "Upload Employee Data" feature is up and running properly:
    We got it fixed within 24 hours after discovering the problem.

    Please excuse our dust!

    Our upload feature is not working properly.

    The upload feature stopped working after we switched server locations - We switched to improve security and speed. (Losing the upload feature) is the opposite of improving speed, so we'll get this fixed for you ASAP!

    You can still run a test by directly entering employee data into the system; the upload feature is tons faster though! It would be annoying to enter data for more than 10 employees, so get the upload feature back to you quickly!






    June, 2011

    401kTest.com 3.0 is a Success!

    The Upgraded site has been running since April, and the last training video was finished on May 15th. Response has been very positive so far, but we invite your comments and suggestions of all types. The praise helps us feel good about ourselves, and any criticism will help us grow.

    We're happy to offer our online testing program to the small business community.
    Our ultimate goal is to help make 401k plans affordable enough for every business that wants one!





    March, 2011

    The release of 401kTest.com 3.0 is eminent!

    We are nearly finished with Beta Testing, design changes, and the 1st round of instructional videos. The new site will, and the new partnership will be released before Friday, March 4th!





    January, 2011

    401kTest.com added an HCE Refund Calculator to our ADP/ACP testing site.

    The refund calculator is for 401ks that fail the year-end ADP/ACP test.
    The refunds must be made by 3/15 to avoid penalties.

    The HCE Refund Calculator was beta tested by a half dozen TPAs and one of the largest document providers in the country. They all found the tool to be accurate and easy to use, so we are happy to add it our web-site at no extra charge!

    This new feature makes 401ktest.com an unbeatable testing option for small TPAs. Subscriptions are priced with the small business community in mind. Anyone can afford one-year testing license!

    The HCE Refund Calculator is very easy to use:
  • Just enter HCE payroll information in the first worksheet and get instant results!
  • HCEs are automatically sorted and categorized as necessary, and the refunds are calculated automatically.
  • The tool can also calculate the investment earnings to be refunded.
  • It accommodates companies with up to 10 HCEs, which applies to most companies with 100 employees or less. The new tool will save a great deal of time and it will help you eliminate spreadsheet formula errors.

    There are 3 primary tests that firms often need to perform for 401k clients. There are others, but these are the big 3:
    The ADP/ACP test. The is the primary test for non-safe-harbor 401ks, and our site does it online.
    The Refund calculation. Our new tool makes this easy!
    Top Heavy Test. This isn't automated, but automating this test doesn't make the process any faster anyway.

    401kTest.com is an online ADP/ACP testing site. We offer a subscription-based testing tool for less than $50 per year! Our goal is to help make 401k administration affordable for everyone in the small business community.
    401kTest.com is managed as a division of Viser Business Tools:
    www.SmallCompanyTools.com
    www.FinancialFirmTemplate.com
    www.401kTest.com





    January 3, 2011

    Our HCE Refund Calculator will launch this Friday, Jan. 7th.

    This is the last week to Beta test it & make final comments.

    We are pleased to announce that our HCE Refund Calculator is accurate, fast, & more user-friendly than we hoped!
  • Just enter HCE payroll information in the first worksheet and get instant results!
  • HCEs are automatically sorted and categorized as necessary, and the refunds are calculated automatically.
  • The tool will also calculate the investment earnings to be refunded, if you like.
  • It accommodates companies with up to 10 HCEs.
    The new tool will save a great deal of time and it will help you eliminate spreadsheet formula errors.

    The beta product is located here:
    http://www.401ktest.com/images/401kref/401kref.htm
    The Refund Calculator will be relocated to its final destination this Friday afternoon.

    Please provide us with any comments or testimonials before Friday, January 7th. We plan to publish some testimonials, so please also provide your company name and URL. We will not post any of your comments without notifying you first, and receiving your consent. Please feel free to contact us at tony @ 401test.com if you need any more information.



    December, 2010


    We are developing an HCE Refund Calculator:

    Now there's no excuse for missing the March 15th deadline!
    The new tool will accommodate companies with up to 10 HCEs. It will also save a ton of time, and it will help avoid spreadsheet errors.

    Please contact us before Saturday, December 11th if you'd like to BETA test this new calculator. Once it's been adequately tested, we will make it available to 401kTest.com clients at no additional charge. We're still on track to release the HCE Refund Calculator by January 15th.

    401kTest.com is an online ADP/ACP testing site. We offer a subscription-based testing tool for less than $50 per year! Our goal is to help make 401k administration affordable for everyone in the small business community.
    401kTest is a subsidiary of Viser Business Tools. Visit their web-sites for more information:
    www.401kTest.com
    www.SmallCompanyTools.com
    www.FinancialFirmTemplate.com




    September, 2010


    The Search is Still on:

    401ktest.com is still looking for a Low-Cost 401k option for our clients: Please see our August announcements below for more details.
    Please also take note: Hiding your fees in an expensive investment option doesn't mean you have a low-cost 401k.

    Speaking of 'low cost 401ks', please read the attached statement about the high hidden costs of a "low-cost 401k":
    'Free 401k Administration' is a Myth.
    This is a statement made by Senator Tom Harkin in December, 2007. His thoughts are still relevant today, though I disagree with his approach. See my January, 2008 Announcements for details.
    When it comes to "free" 401k administration, let the buyer beware!


    What tool would you like us to develop next?
    It about time to update our tools for tax changes, etc.. We were thinking about adding a few new tools while we were at it. We try to be very deliberate about the tools we develop. We're not interested in creating something that is not going to be used, so we appreciate your input.

    Take a look at our current inventory of tools, and then let us know what else you'd like to see. Here are a few things we're thinking about adding, based on input from clients and online users:
  • Minimum annual IRA distribution at retirement - This tool would only have limited use as a planning tool because laws change every year. It would be most effective for someone who is already 70 (or for a tax preparer with clients over 69. This would be a fun tool to create, but we?re not convinced of its effectiveness or mass appeal.
  • A daily investment performance tracking tool - Track fantasy picks or newsletter predictions. This would be very useful for analysts and bloggers, but we're not sure if that's a big enough market to warrant the effort. Let us know what you think.
  • Lease v. Buy analysis - Helps you decide whether to lease your next purchase, based on how long you plan to keep it, how much it will be worth at the end of th lease, the expected time-value of money, the monthly payments and the down-payment. Even with this tool, the decision will come down to an educated guess, in our opinion. This is why we haven't developed it yet. We're not convinced that this is an objective tool, even under the best of circumstances.
  • Analysis of Expected Social Security Benefits at Retirement. The retirement planning benefits of this tool would be obvious, but it's true predictive abilities are dependant upon changes in legislation. Please contact us with your idea. Whether you are a client or a free-online user, we still appreciate your input.



    August, 2010


    401ktest.com is Looking for a Low-Cost 401k Option for our Clients:

    Many small companies contact us each month; looking for an alternative to their current 401k plan. In response to their requests, we've decided to look for a National Retirement Administrator that will serve the best interests of the small business community.

    We are looking for a firm that will provide a simple prototype, solid investment choices, a low administration fee, and low investment fees. We would also like a firm to commit (in writing) that all fees will be fully disclosed.
    We strongly believe that such a firm will become very successful by making this commitment.

    If we find a firm that is willing to serve the national small business community with honesty, integrity, and full disclosure, we will make every effort to partner with that firm and bring them to you.

    Stay tuned!



    June, 2010


    401kTest.com now provides administration tools that can be added to your web-site

    401kTest.com has been providing free online tools to consultants and business owners since they started business in 2007; but now they've taken their commitment to the small business community a step further:

    Most of their tools can now be purchased as a .html web-page and added to your company's web-site.

    Here's a partial list of the tools that you can easily add to your web-site:
    • Loan Payment Calculators and loan schedules for monthly, weekly, and bi-weekly payment options!
    • HCE Limit Calculator.
    • Roth v. Traditional Retirement Plan Comparison Tool.
    • EBAR Calculation Spreadsheet - Using the Annual Method.


    401ktest.com provides interim testing for non-safe harbor plans with 200 employees or less. The company is dedicated to providing 401k administration tools at a price that's affordable to everyone who serves the Small Business Community.
    For more information, please visit their web-site or contact them at info@401ktest.com.



    January, 2010


    The 2010 table has been added for ADP / ACP testing

    Even though it's early in the year, many of you may find it helpful to run a test on 2010 data now. Keep in mind that a subscription to 401ktest.com allows you to test any year your like: 2010, 2005, 2009, etc.. Our database will accommodate testing as far back as 2001 if you like.

    There are a number of companies that like to test their plan every time they run payroll. Companies often test their draft payroll run, which gives them an opportunity to make adjustments to HCE withholdings before finalizing the payroll run. Who can argue with that kind of flexibility?


    Featured Link - EM Trend Advisors:

    We feature a sponsor from our links page each month. We only endorse sponsors with a good reputation in the business community. Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and consider revoking our endorsement.
    EM Trend Advisors provides trend analysis for serious investors.

    Many of us are not just employees: We are also investors. Here's my point: As our investment portfolios get larger, we should recognize that our role as an investor is becoming more and more important, and we should take this role seriously.
    Consider this: If you have $500,000 in the market (thru 401k, savings, Insurance surrender values, etc.), your role as an investor could be more important than your role as an employee.

    Every serious investor should have a good trend analyst on their team. Visit EM Trend Advisors' web-site. Take a look at their blogs and their track record. If you decide to work with them, tell them we sent you!



    November, 2009


    401ktest.com just lowered our annual subscription cost by 68%!

    We changed our pricing model in order to make interim testing affordable to everyone in the small business community. The price of an annual subscription has been lowered from $79 per year to $25!
    A single-user subscription allows a company to test their plan as often as they want.

    The lower fee is offset in a few ways:
    The Company is providing more advertising space for sponsor ads.
    The initial license term has been changed from 12 months to 3 months.
    Also; the tech support department is no longer reviewing payroll data or test results at no charge. About 3% of our clients request assistance with their first test, and we used to do it for no additional charge in most cases. This service is still available, but the cost is no longer built into the subscription fee.

    (Increasing ad revenues) and (Segregating value-added services from the subscription cost) makes interim testing more affordable for the majority of businesses who use the service. We hope it will also encourage other small businesses to perform interim testing, which will result in better informed decision making for Non-Safe Harbor plans as well as Safe Harbor plans who are considering a temporary reduction in benefits.


    Featured Link - Outright Bookkeeping Software
    We feature a sponsor from our links page each month. We only endorse sponsors with a good reputation in the business community. Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and consider revoking our endorsement.
    Outright offers a concise, organized and user-friendly system for compiling and tracking revenue and expenses for contractors and sole-proprietors. There are a number of other tools designed to help make bookkeeping and tax compliance less time-consuming.
    For a limited time, Outright offers the following:
    Free Bookkeeping; Free Web Address; and a Free Business Web Page!
    The web address and web page are courtesy of Network Solutions: Free for 1 year.




    October, 2009


    We added a table showing limits for S.I.M.PL.E plans:

    Our Courses & Tables page now provides information about SIMPLE plan limits by year. We hope you find this information helpful.

    We often recommend SIMPLE plans, so we thought it would be a good idea to include a table showing SIMPLE limits.
      TPAs don't make money with a SIMPLE, but we find ourselves recommending them for several reasons including the following:
      • No annual 5500 filing requirement.
      • The Prototype document is very easy, so there's little to no document administration costs.
      • The withholding limits have risen to the point that they are a good option in many cases! Some clients weren't taking advantage of the higher limits allowed by the 401k, so there wasn't a good reason to continue paying for a relatively expensive retirement plan.
      • The safe harbor match (and the Profit-sharing contribution) is lower than with a 401k.
      • Companies have some flexibility regarding who can enter the plan. You can restrict access into a SIMPLE for almost 3 years if you like.
    It's not really in our (short-term) best interest to recommend SIMPLEs, but in many cases it's a much better option for smaller companies who want to get the most out of their benefit dollars.

    IRS announced 2010 limits for retirement plans:

    The new limits have been posted on our Terminology Page, but I can save you some time: The 2010 limits are the same as 2009. There wasn't much inflation in 2009, so the limits were not adjusted.



    August, 2009


    Safe harbor plans are dropping their matches:
    There has been a disturbing trend with safe-harbor plans this year, but we're here to help!
    Due to economic conditions, many safe-horbor plans are dropping their matches and/or Profit sharing contributions. Under these circumstances the plan becomes subject to discrimination testing, which means Officers' (and Directors) withholdings could be restricted.

    If your company is dropping their match this year, you should have your plan tested before the end of the year to mitigate potential problems. If you wait till the end of the year to test your plan, your Highly Compensated Employees (HCEs) could discover that they were over-withholding by thousands! This means the plan will have to be retested manually, senior management will devote time to decide how to mitigate the problem, and then many officers will have likely take a premature distribution from the plan. This process will conservatively cost thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your company and the complexity of your pan document.

    Interim testing can help avoid time-consuming and costly plan failures. That's why we created 401ktest.com - to help companies perform interim testing quickly, affordably and often!







    April, 2009


    We are starting a referral service for "Advisor Friendly" Payroll processors.
    We are interviewing local Payroll Processing firms around the country right now. Please contact us if you would like to be considered for this program.

    401ktest.com is looking for the following type of firms:
    • Provides great service for your clients
    • Doesn't provide investment services (or TPA services), and doesn't plan to.
    • Has the technical ability to create a report that will directly upload to 401ktest.com, as well as Employee Census reports needed by TPAs at year-end.
    • Is able and willing to expand - Not everyone meets this criteria, though they think they might.
    If you are accepted into our network, we provide the following:
    • Exclusive listing on our site as an 'Advisor Friendly' firm.
    • Certification (that can be displayed on your site), as an 'Advisor Friendly' firm.
    • A discount for our interim testing service - IE: Your clients will have exclusive access to a service that is 10 times better than the interim testing provided National Firms!
    • We will refer local IAs and TPAs to your company.
    • A protected (and highly marketable) territory!
    Please contact us at info@401ktest.com if you would like to interview for a territory. Please also provide some background about your firm and two references that have been with you for more than a year.

    We only started offering these territories last month, but several areas are already taken, or in negotiation:
    Boca
    Palm Beach
    Las Vegas
    Columbus
    Delaware, OH
    Akron
    Canton
    Cleveland
    Flint, Michigan
    Your city won't last long!

    Why are we doing this?
    National advisors (and Payroll firms) have been aggressively going after the small business market for over a decade. They sign them up and then provide them with bad service.
    401ktest.com wants to partner with local firms to reverse this trend one city at a time!






    March, 2009


    Activity almost tripled in the first half of March. I'm guessing this was last minute testers trying to get their results before the March 15th deadline. I hope everyone was successful!


    We made another tool available online for your convenience:
    Roth Retirement vs. Traditional Retirement: Find out which option is better based on your unique circumstances.
    We hope you find this tool useful!
    As with most of the other tools, you can purchase this spreadsheet (as a single-user license) for next to nothing. When you purchase it, you get 2 formats for your convenience: .xls & .htm


    What's next on our Production Schedule?
    We are very happy with the way the site is working, but there are a couple things we'd like to do in the next couple months:
    • Allow users to upload files directly from Excel (.xls). right now uploads are done two ways:
      1. (.txt) files - These files are very easy to create in Excel, but it would be 30 seconds faster if clients could pull data directly from a .xls file. Some clients test their data 50 times a year, so we know every second counts!
      2. Direct upload from your Payroll Processing Company. Some Payroll Processors create a file specifically for 401ktest.com. If your processor doesn't; please have them contact us and we'll work with them to make it happen!
    • Eliminate the Margins on the free online tools. There's a small margin that shows up when you bring a tool up online. This margin isn't there when you purchase the product, but it's there on the online version. It's a small thing, but we'd still like to take care of it.
    We pay very close attention to your comments, suggestions and feedback, so Keep them coming! Your feedback is what encouraged us to create a 2nd testing routine (We launched with the Prior-Year Method as the only option, but our clients told us they prefer the Current-Year Method).

    btw: Have you noticed how many of our announcements are targeted to subscription holders rather than the general public? That's because we rarely contact our clients, and we never give away or sell your information. We respect your privacy almost as much as we respect our own! In the two years that we've been in existance, we have only E-mailed our clients once.


    Featured Link - ShareASale.com
    We feature a sponsor from our links page each month. We only endorse sponsors with a good reputation in the business community. Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and consider revoking our endorsement.

    ShareaSale provides an objective sales tracking and commission payment service for web-sites that market their products online. There are over 2,500 merchants currently using ShareaSale to find affiliates and track commission. This service is free for affiliates and reasonable for merchants.
    IE: You don't have to undergo an independant audit in order to ensure the accuracy of your commission tracking system. If this was the sole reason for your annual audit, then Merchants can save $20,000 a year by joining ShareaSale!
    How much is it worth to give your affiliates 100% confidence that all commissions are being tracked and paid accurately?



    February, 2009.

    We just finished a major upgrade This month! At long last!
    We upgraded our edit pages. You will now be prompted to save changes before leaving the "Edit Employee" area or the "Edit Company" page if you made any unsaved changes.
    It's about time huh? We promised to do this months ago.

    It turns out this feature is not easy to program on a SAS platform (Software As a Service). In fact, there are very few online services that offer it.
    After hours of interviewing to find the perfect Java-script programmer, and untold millions in research and development; we now have extremely user-friendly edit pages! I'm kidding about the Millions, but not about the user-friendly edit pages.

    Let's face it; our primary competition is a spreadsheet program. Most of our customers know the ADP/ACP rules inside and out. They use 401ktest.com (and I use 401ktest.com) because it saves time. Lot's of time! This makes it very easy to do interim testing as often as you want. That's our primary goal at 401ktest.com; to help administrators maximize 401k contributions by testing quickly, accurately and affordably!

    So here you are! You have the ease of a desktop application with the convenience of an online service. I hope you find this web-site as useful as I do!


    We are posting a few ads from an affiliate network called Project Wonderful.
    Odd name, but a good marketing tool!
    We have no control over the Project Wonderful Ads. We wanted to let you know this so you will understand that we can make no assurances regarding the companies listed on 401ktest.com via the Project Wonderful ads. The only stipulation we are able to make is; All ad content must be child-friendly. However; this assurance is basically self-policed by the maker of the ad, so there is little comfort in this either.
      Why are we using Project Wonderful?
      • We can target ads to thousands of customers (We're advertising on their site as well as allowing ad space on our sites).
      • The ads are based on a daily auction, rather than pay-per-click. If someone really wants to advertize on a certain site (on a certain day), they only have to out-bid the competition.
      • There is a large network of companies affiliated with them.
      • There's no initiation fee or large deposit requirement to advertize with them. That make is easy on the budget!



    January, 2009

    Excess 401k Distributions are no longer taxable in the previous year!
    In recent years, officers and directors have faced the possibility of amending prior year returns if the 401k failed anti-discrimination testing. Thanks to new provisions in PPA 2006, this has changed for the better!

    Here is a brief summary of the new rules regarding excess distributions:
    • Distributions are taxable in the year made. Distributions are now on the cash-basis like more taxpayers, which makes things simpler.
    • If the plan fails and a company makes the correction prior to March 15th, there?s no penalty on the distribution! Plan failures are expensive enough due to the extra administrative work required to address them. The penalty has always been salt in the wound.
      Point of fact: The excess distribution penalty is paid by the company, not the employees. Premature distribution penalties are paid by employees.
    • If your company has automatic enrollment / automatic contribution provisions, you have till June 30th to make the distributions without threat of a 10% penalty. This gives you additional time to re-test the plan! I?m not a big fan of Auto-enrollment plans, this new provision notwithstanding. Hopefully, this later deadline will apply to all 401k plans in the future.
    Anyone interested in reading the legalese can refer to PPA section 902(e). Here is an excerpt for your reference. Many Companies abandoned their safe-harbor provisions due to economic concerns, so the IRS is expecting a large number of plan failures this year and next year. This law change will stem the tide of amended 1040s that would have resulted from the plan failures.


    Featured Link - InkPlusToner.com
    We feature a sponsor from our links page each month. We only endorse sponsors with a good reputation in the business community. Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and consider revoking our endorsement.

    InkPlusToner's prices are better than local brick and mortar stores. We haven't found savings of 80%, but we'll let them have a little 'creative license'.
    If your office goes thru a lot of ink (like ours), give them a try.


    December, 2008

    Merry Christmas Everyone!
    This has been a great year for 401ktest.com! And we're looking forward to serving the small business community for many years to come!


    Featured Link - ProposalPortal.com
    We feature a sponsor from our links page each month. We only endorse sponsors with a good reputation in the business community. Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any sponsors. We will immediately investigate your concerns and consider revoking our endorsement.

    ProposalPortal.com puts you in touch with several Credit Card Processing companies, which gives you the opportunity to provide this service at a competitive price.
    You don't have to pay the bank's rates for credit card processing, just like you don't have to order checks from the bank. It's a great deal cheaper to order checks from a paper company. It's also cheaper to get credit card processing from a credit card processing company. : )


    Last chance to get a 2-month subscription to 401ktest.com for $29!
    We are offering a 2-month subscription at this price in order to help companies who have abandoned their 401k Safe Harbor Provisions this year.
    Due to economic concerns, many companies de-funded their matches and profit sharing contributions this year, which makes many 401k plans subject to the ADP/ACP test for the first time.
    If you make more than $100,000 per year, you could be forced to take a large premature 401k distribution next year; unless your company takes action to prevent a test failure. Please see our Subscription page to take advantage of this one-time offer.


    November 21, 2008.

    We had some credible complaints about one of our sponsers (Research Now), so their ad has been taken off our site while we investigate the claims.
    The ad says a user ?Gets paid up to $50 for their opinion?.
    I?m told that users actually get credits, which can used to buy products sold on their site.
    While this isn't the worst 'bait-and-switch scheme' in the world, I don?t want anything on our site that is even slightly misleading.

    We'll give you the results of our findings within a week.

    December 15, 2008 - Followup to complaints about Research Now.
    The claims were accurate. However; Research Now feels we're being picky when we claim that their ads are misleading.
    I agree!
    That said, I don't want an ad on our site that is even slightly misleading. We are committed to maintaining high standards of integrety on behalf of our customers and visitors.

    If you have any problems with a sponsor of 401ktest.com, please let us know. We'll investigate your claim and take appropriate action.


    November, 2008

    2009 limits were released by the IRS in October. Our tables have been updated with these new limits for your convenience. We will also update our testing process imminently, so you can run 2009 test scenarios. We have a few clients that like to do this.


    Featured Link - Em Trend Advisors
    Technical analysis for institutional (and sophisticated individual) investors.
      We'll feature a sponsor from our links page each month.
      We make an effort to endorse sponsors with a good reputation in the business community. Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and consider revoking our endorsement.
    We featured EMtrend recently, but I felt it was appropriate to bring them up again.
    Guess who's clients MADE money in the last couple months? EMTrend's newsletters and daily market analysis have been invaluable, as they were last January when things were swinging up and down.
    Every serious investor should have a trend analyst on their team.


    Vote for the other guy!
    (An editorial reaction to HR 1424)
    It may be time to fire your congressman!

    The 'bailout bill' had 3 pages of so-called bailout provisions and 448 pages of pork, corporate welfare and unfunded mandates. Read the attached article to find out what the bailout bill was all about.

    Almost everyone disapproves of the way congress does things, yet most people think their congressman is one of the 'good guys'. If your congressman voted for this bill, he/she is NOT one of the good guys. HR 1424 is a 451 page testament to ineptness and politics as usual.

    Send a clear message to Washington.
    If your representative voted for this bill, send them home.



    October, 2008

    Featured Link:
    WORLD CLASS NUTRITION - See our recommended links page for details
      We plan to feature one of our sponsors on a monthly (or semi-monthly) basis from now on. We will only feature sponsors with a good reputation in the business community.
      Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any of our sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and work to resolve them. This is one of many efforts taken to ensure the integrity of our sponsors.
    I agreed to list World Class Nutrition because their prices are really good, and because they paid me to model for the picture in the ad! But seriously folks; Their prices are the best I've found anywhere. Buy in bulk! Save on shipping!
    My favorite product is the Trioplex bars! Excellent pre and post-workout bars! They also taste good, but who cares about that! Stay away from the Growth Hormone, Testosterone, etc.. Why even take a chance? For appearance?


    September 18th, 2008.
    Central Ohio was hit by a massive wind-storm last Sunday, which knocked out our servers and our electricity. I don't expect our service to be up and running properly for some time. My electricity and ISP is up, but many ISPs (like Time Warner) are still having trouble. We apologize for the loss of service. I know everyone is working as hard as they can to get things back to normal.

    There are a number of clients who like to run a test before finalizing their payroll run. For those who called, I suggested that you zero out withholdings for all HCEs. You can restart their withholdings on the next payroll run - assuming we are up and running by then! Don't forget, you are allowed to discriminate against HCEs, according to ERISA

    What a storm! I was mountain biking the phase II trail at Alum Creek State Park when it hit. We were 3 miles into the woods and had to ride out during the worst of it. Aside from a few scrapes and bruises, we all made it out in one piece! There were so many near misses, I felt like I was in a live version of the movie "Final Destination". I've never experienced such an odd storm. No rain or lightning, but massive winds!

    I understand there were a number of deaths in Central Ohio as a result of the wind storm. My sympathy and prayers go to the families of those victims, as well as the families affected by the hurricane in Texas.


    August 2008


    Burning the Midnight Oil - A salute to small business owners.
    I was here till 8PM doing some office work Saturday - as I was last Saturday. After leaving I noted that I work harder (as a business owner) than I ever did as an employee. And I'm not the only one:

    While looking at access statistics for 401ktest.com, I notice that 25% of our traffic takes place between 10PM and 7AM. Our clients are primarily small businesses (with 50 employees or less), so I think some observations can be made about the small business community (SBC):
    • SBCs work harder (and hopefully smarter) than anyone else.
    • (Working hard) expresses optimism and hope for the future in my opinion. SBCs are working to create a better life for themselves, and often for their families as well.
    • SBCs usually wear a lot of hats, so they are often up late at night (once or twice a week) catching up with office work (boring work!).
    • What are you doing in the office after 10PM! Are you kidding me! Go home and get some sleep!
    We are happy to serve the small business community, and we wish you all the success that you deserve!



    Featured Link:
    Projected Financial Statements.com:
      We plan to feature one of our sponsors on a monthly (or semi-monthly) basis from now on. We will only feature sponsors with a good reputation in the business community.
      Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any of our sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and work to resolve them. This is one of many efforts taken to ensure the integrity of our sponsors.

      Projected Financial Statements.com has a very sophisticated spreadsheet template that creates a 3 year business plan. Simply enter historical financial data (then assumptions) into the yellow shaded cells, and the financial projection (and cash-flow projection) is created instantly. The following reports are generated:
      • Binder Cover and Spine insert
      • Balance Sheet, Income Statment, and Direct Method Cash-Flow Statement
        Monthly Projections for the 1st 12 months, and annual statements for the subsequent 2 years
      • Detailed assumptions including Headcount projections, sales, and a projected Depreciation Schedule.

      The company founder took a projection tool (that's been used by CPA firms and CFOs for almost 20 years) and developed it into a very user-friendly program. I think you'll like it.
      Take a look at their products and tell them that 401ktest.com sent you!
    401ktest Webinar Wednesday, August 20th at 1:00PM Eastern.
      We're going to host a series of online meetings to demonstrate 401ktest's functionality and ease of use. Please contact us ASAP if you would like to attend. We are limiting the size of each class so everyone will have a chance to ask questions and provide feedback. If you can't join us this Wednesday, don't worry. Future dates will be announced very soon.

      These demonstrations are being conducted to help our online customers understand the value of this service. Many people see the subscription price and assume they are going to get what they pay for - very little! Let us show you that nothing could be further from the truth. We are keeping the price low so everyone in our target market can afford it.

      Our highly respected collegues have suggested that we raise our price to $250 per year or higher. We have no intention of doing this. If such a price increase every happens, you'll know that we were bought out by Fidelity, Raymond James, Paychex, Datair, or another large player in the 401k industry. Till then, we'll keep delivering an excellent product at an excellent price!


    July 2008


    Featured Link:

    EM Trend Advisors:
      We plan to feature one of our sponsors on a monthly (or semi-monthly) basis from now on. We will only feature sponsors with a good reputation in the business community.
      By the way: Please let us know if you have a bad experience with any of our sponsors. We will investigate your concerns and work to resolve them. This is one of the efforts we make to ensure the integrity of our sponsors.

      EM Trend Advisors provides trend analysis for serious investors.
      I chose to feature EM Trend first after reading that Southwest Airlines made a profit last quarter. While other Airlines lost tons of money because of fuel prices, Southwest "cleaned up".

      Southwest understands that they are not only an Airline Company, they are also a commodities investor. They (and all other airlines) have a major stake in the crude oil market. Many airlines don't seem to understand how the crude oil market impacts their livelyhood, or they just don't invest enough time and money to take advantage of this fact.

      Here's my point. We are not just employees: Most of us are also investors. As our investment portfolios get larger, we should recognize that our role as an investor is becomming more and more important, and we should take this role seriously. Consider this: If you have $500,000 in the market (thru 401k, savings, Insurance surrender values, etc.), your role as an investor could be more important than your role as an employee.

      Every serious investor should have a good trend analyst on their team. Visit EM Trend Advisors' web-site. Take a look at their blogs and their track record. If you decide to work with them, tell them we sent you!


    May / June 2008


    Site upgrades are immanent:
    Many of the updates mentioned in March?s announcements will be ready within the few couple months, along with a few other surprises:
    • You will be prompted to save changes upon exiting a page.
      If you forget to save changes to an edit field, we?ll give you a friendly reminder.
    • You will be able to renew your license online.
      You no longer need to call with your credit card information (or mail a check) in order to renew your current UserID.
    • The Administrator?s license will become more powerful.
      Under the new configuration, an Administrator will have control over a group of Single User Licenses.
      • You buy an admin license, and then purchase as many single-users licenses as you need.
      • When you issue a single-user license to a client, your client can upload payroll information for you, then you can access it instantly. You and your client will have secure access to the client?s file.
      • Each Single User license (under an administrators control) has a separate password and userid.
    • 401k courses will be made available.
      Earn CPE credit for the material covered on our Terminology page. Most of the information provided on our Terminology page is being developed into a series of courses that are approved for Continuing Professional Education in most states.
    • An alternative method for calculating ADP and ACP %?s is being added to the testing process.
      If the IRS comes up with a 3rd method for calculating an average, we?ll consider adding that also.
    • More content is being added to the Terminology section.
      We are also making more content available to non-members.
    Most of these features will be added incrementally. We hope to be finished before the end of the Summer.


    Subscription pricing is also being changed. After most of these upgrades are completed, our services will be offered under the following terms:
      One year subscription ? Unlimited usage:
      • Single-company license - $79.00
      • Administrator?s license - Based on volume: Please contact us for details.

      Continuing education courses ? Earn up to 3 hours of CPE per course while learning valuable information about 401k and 403b administration and testing.
      • $59 per course.
      • Members receive a $20 discount, bringing the price to $39 per course.
    This site provides a great service to the 401k community, and we are happy to provide it at a price that any small businesses can afford. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns.


    April 2008


    I recently attended the PSCA conference in Chicago (aka The Pension & Profit Sharing Council of America).

    I want to thank the PSCA for putting an informative and relevant conference together. I enjoyed meeting many of the attendees and sponsors. It?s great to rub elbows with others in the retirement planning community. And it was good to hear information and feedback regarding today?s political (and litigious) climate.

    It would take too long to share everything, but I would like to bring up two important issues that were brought up in discussion forums:
    • Mutual fund fees:
      This issue will not go away, nor will it be fixed by anyone in Washington (in my opinion). However we currently have a situation (created by Washington) that puts a great deal of pressure on Plan Sponsors. Plan Sponsors are now required to provide full disclosure of plan costs to participants. But there?s a problem; Brokers and Advisors are not required to provide full disclosure to plan sponsors. Do you see a problem here? Me to. In my opinion, the full disclosure mandate can not be taken seriously under these circumstances.

      Let's assume we get to the point some day where all information is available: Will participants really want to see it? I believe participants would not be interested in this minutia, and I?m pretty sure they are more concerned with the performance of their investment. Speaking of which.

    • Investment Performance.
      Lawsuits are on the rise. The most troubling lawsuits are those that 2nd guess a plan?s fee structure. For one thing, it?s very hard to get this information. I have spent hours of research and coercion, and I?m not confident I have found all the ways that fees are passed from Mutual funds to brokers. In addition, I think some brokers don?t take advantage of all the revenue-share options made available by mutual funds ? IE: Many brokers are leaving money on the table, which ultimately adds to the participant?s cost. Is this frustrating? Yes! Very! Should anyone get sued over this? No!
      Mistakes happen. It's human nature. Hindsight is 20/20. Pick your favorite cliche.

      I found a couple other issues of particular concern. These issues will not affect investment performance (In fact they will probably improved investment performance overall), but I still find them troubling:
      • Many large companies no longer offer mutual funds.
        In response to the full-disclosure issue, many companies no longer offer mutual funds. Instead, they are offering actively managed lifestyle funds. That?s one way to take care of the full-disclosure mandate!
      • Many other investment options are being away.
        Technology is making it possible for 401k?s to provide more choices to their participants; and many large companies took advantage of this by allowing employees to direct their own investments. However, research is showing that most employees? investment performance is extremely poor.
        In response to this, many sponsors are taking more control of the investment decisions of their plans. More precisely, they are hiring professional investors to actively manage plan assets. One the one hand, this is a great service that is usually only available to the wealthiest among us. On the other hand, I am sorry to see participants lose the freedom to choose their own investments.
    There was a great deal of information shared at the conference. I only scratched to surface of the two topics mentioned above.

    To David, Georgeanne, Ed, Christine, John, Jennifer (and many others); it was great meeting you! I hope to see you again next year.


    MARCH 2008


    Thank you!
    401ktest.com and 403btest.com has been up and running for 10 months. The ADP/ACP testing process was finalized 6 months ago, and our educational materials have been up for 4 months. In that time we've had more than 10,000 unique visitors and hundreds of customers.
    Over 1,200 people have viewed our educational materials. The average viewer spends over 30 minutes at a time on the '401k courses and tables' page. I'm very glad you find these materials useful! We focused our development efforts to this content because we felt it was important to provide quality educational materials at a price that the small business community could afford.

    We've had lot's of suggestions about how to improve the site (which we appreciate), but we haven't had a single complaint about the ADP/ACP testing process. We're gratified that it's working, and we're happy to provide this service to the small business community!


    Affordable 401k courses are now available!
    Content from our 401k Courses & Tables section have been published on CPEcredit.com. If you are interested in learning more about 401k testing and 401k administration, you now have access to affordable courses that are approved for CPE credit. There are 3 courses available with more to follow:
    • 401k Basics
    • ADP / ACP Testing
    • 403b Testing Basics - This course covers 4 tests in detail (The ACP test, Universal Availability, Maximum Deferal and Annual Limitations). It also explains the Coverage test and the Gateway minimum test - The circumstances under which these tests become necessary, and the basic guidelines of these tests.
    We are currently working on a course called 403b Basics. This course will be a great training tool, a reference tool and/or quality CPE for professionals working in the 403b environment. The IRS has paid a great deal of attention to 403b plans recently, so it is important to have a good understanding of their operational guidelines and procedures.

    We are soliciting subject matter experts for a comprehensive series of courses on Cross-testing. Please contact us at info@401ktest.com if you would like to be considered. Please include a resume and/or a sample of your work. We're looking for someone who can present complicated topics in an understandable way.


    Summer 2008 Production Schedule
    We are focusing our short term production goals in two areas:
    • CPE courses will be published on 401ktest.com: After we develop an online courseware platform I can be proud of, CPE approved courses will also be offered here at our site. Members will receive a substantial discount of course!
    • The site is going to get a make-over: The ADP/ACP testing process works better than we hoped when we envisioned this site, so there won't be any changes to that basic testing process. But there are a few things I'd like to change. I'm not just the President of 401ktest.com, I'm also a client! As I've used the site, I've noticed a few improvements I would like to make:
      • When in an Edit field, I'd like to see the 'Save' button moved to a more visible location. This is a learning curve issue that users get comfortable with after a few minutes on the site, but I still think the 'Save' button should be moved to a more prominent location.
      • We're going to prompt you to save before you leave an edit field. Currently, if you make a change to an employee or a company field, you have to hit save or your changes will be lost with no warning. This has been a great source of frustration for me a few times, so I'm surprised that no one else has complained about it.
      • More license options will be available to purchase online. You can currently buy a single-user license or a multi-user license online. You will soon be able to buy multiple single user licenses online. We also want to provide a way for your to renew your annual subscription online, rather than mailing a check with your client number in the memo line. Who wants to write checks these days? It takes so long! And stamps are so expensive! Gosh!
    Keep your comments and suggestions coming! We are very interested in hearing your ideas about how we could improve the quality and content of this site.


    JANUARY 2008


    Congress thinks 401k fees are too high. I agree!
    I attached a letter from Senator Tom Harkin, which highlights one of the reasons I got into the 401k Administration business. This letter explains how some 401k plans (in the small business community) can find themselves paying extremely high fees. Click this badge to view the letter:



    I agree with the Senator's letter, but I am not in favor of this legislation. I'm very much in favor of full disclosure of fees, but not government mandates. Here are a couple thoughts along these lines:
    • Some administrators should be ashamed of themselves, but they are not doing anything immoral or unethical. I wouldn't do business with them, but that's my choice.
    • Clients should insist on full disclosure of fees. However, our government's time might be better spent on something else.
    • 401k fees are currently knowable. If your administrator doesn't disclose them, you can find them without too much difficulty. Every mutual fund has a prospectus which discloses fees paid for administration. Fees taken (over and above mutual fund fees) have to come from somewhere. If the company is not paying them directly, they have to be taken out of fund assets, so it wouldn't (shouldn't) go un-noticed.
    • It's your money. Pay attention to what's going on. If you don't like what's happening, fire your administrator and hire someone more honest and less greedy.

    Small businesses; it's time to step up to the plate!
    Health plans out-number retirement plans almost 4 to 1.

    I was browsing the IRS web-site over Christmas vacation (it's what I do!), and I read some alarming statistics regarding qualified plans:
    In 2006, there were 2.5 million health insurance plans in the United States. IE: 2.5 million companies have a group health insurance plan for their employees. This is good, but from what I hear, there are still millions without health insurance, so there is more to do. But what really alarmed me was the number of retirement plans that exist in America. Can you guess how many retirement plans there were in 2006?

    700,000.
    In 2006, there were only 700,000 company sponsored retirement plans in the US! More than 70% of companies that provide group health insurance don?t provide a retirement plan for their employees. If this trend continues, there will be an inevitable and alarming result: Most Americans will not be preparing for retirement:
    • The only tax-deductible retirement vehicle available, other than a company sponsored plan, is an IRA. The limit on IRAs, though rising, makes them an inadequate retirement planning option. An after-tax retirement plan is good for those who can afford it, but most Americans need the tax savings now, so they can afford to defer enough for later.
    • Social Security is also not a valid retirement option, and it was never meant to be a retirement option. Social Security was intended to be a supplement. Nothing more.
    • Everyone with an income should be saving something for a time when they are no longer able (or willing) to work. As you make plans for retirement, you should assume that Social Security is not going to be there. If SS is available when you retire, consider it a pleasant surprise.
    A company sponsored retirement plan is just as important as Health Insurance coverage - perhaps more so. If a majority of Americans rely on the Social Security system alone, the system will fail - This fact should be obvious, so I won't spend time explaining it. But with a little research, you will draw the same conclusion.

      A retirement plan doesn't have to be a big company expense:
      If you can't afford to offer a 401k plan, then consider offering a SIMPLE retirement plan. Here is one way to structure a SIMPLE plan so it minimizes cost and targets your benefit dollars strategically:
      • Opt to offer a 3% match. You must choose between a 3% match or a 2% contribution for all eligible employees. If you choose the 3% match, you are only paying money for employees who choose to participate. Also, you have an option to lower the 3% match to 1% for up to 2 years in a row. So if things get really tight for the company, you have this option to pull back company expenses to almost nothing.
      • Let the participants pay for the plan administration expenses. SIMPLE plans are very inexpensive to manage because there are very few testing requirements, and no annual 5500 filing requirement.
      • Restrict access to the plan if you like. You can make Employees wait up to 2 years to join a SIMPLE plan. You can also let them join immediately.
      • Officers can participate in this plan with no fear of anti-discrimination testing. As long you follow the rules, the SIMPLE plan functions like a Safe Harbor plan.
      An employee making $50,000 could have deferred as much as $12,000 in 2006 - $10,500 in withholdings and $1,500 in matching funds. If the company is passing administrative costs to the employees, each employee should expect to pay about $75 per year plus 1/2% to 3/4% of total assets to the administrator - Perhaps less. Under this cost structure, an employee with $100,000 in his retirement account would pay about $825 in administration fees. Most 401k participants pay more than this, though many are not aware of it.

      A company (with $300,000 in annual payroll) might pay $6,000 in benefits for a plan like this - probably less. And these benefit dollars are targeted to employees who perceive its value:
      • Assume each employee makes $50,000; that 4 of them participate, and the 4 participants contribute $10,500 per year.
        The company would give each participant a match of $1,500 each year (1,500 * 4 = $6,000).
        The match can be funded after the end of the year, or each pay period.
      • Employees who are not interested in retirement (and who wouldn't appreciate the benefit) won't cost the company anything under this plan: Company contributions are in the form of a match so, if an employee doesn't invest their own money in the plan, they won't get a benefit. I have seen many poorly structured 401k plans that provide $1,000's in benefits to employees who don't care; just so the Officers can participate in the plan. This SIMPLE plan structure doesn't allow that to happen.
      • If $6,000 sounds like a lot of money, keep in mind this represents less than 2% of total payroll costs. Total annual payroll costs for a company this size would be about $330,000 - $300,000 for salaries, and 30,000 for Employer Payroll Taxes (FICA, Medicare, Workers' Comp. Insurance, State unemployment, and Federal Unemployment).
      Retirement plans don't have to be expensive. Companies can offer great benefits for very little money, as illustrated in this example.
    Retirement plans don't have to be expensive. Companies can offer great benefits for very little money, as illustrated in this example. Consider contacting an administrator to find out what options are available for you and your employees. If your Company located in Central Ohio or Tampa, feel free to contact 401ktest.com for help setting up a plan that achieves your objectives.

    401k administrators: Feel free to use the material (in this January announcement) for your own marketing efforts. No other materials on this site can be used without the express written permission of the officers of 401ktest.com


    DECEMBER 2007


    Some larger companies have shown interest in our site. Our features and funcionality are geared toward a company with less than 1,000 employees, but the site also works for companies with up to 5,000 employees - It works slowly, but it works. If you have more than 1,000 employees and you want to use our site, please contact our Ohio office at 614.313.4130. Our fee structure is graduated based on the size of your company.

    We have provided detail instructions on many 401k testing procedures in the 'Terminology and Tables' section of this site. Our next step is to provide continuing education exams on the content of this page. We will probably provide 2 courses: 401k Basics - including terminology and common acronyms; and 401k Testing Procedures. The Basics course will likely be worth 2 CPE credits. The Advanced course will probably be worth 4 credits.

    Future topics for consideration include:
    Cross-testing
    403b basics
    403b testing
    We are soliciting subject matter experts for these 3 topics. Please contact us at info@401ktest.com if you would like to be considered. Please include a resume and/or a sample of your work. We're looking for someone who can present complicated topics in an understandable way.


    OCTOBER 2007


    Our client base is continuing to grow, and we are continuing to add new features to the site. TPAs and Companies are finding out how useful 401ktest is for ADP/ACP testing, for sending payroll information securely over the web, and for organizing payroll data so that other tests can be performed quickly. Companies with as few as 3 employees (and as many as 700 employees) are taking advantage of our single user license pricing; and we are happy to offer this service.

    We are going to provide (a list the other tests that are often necessary for a 401k plan) in our terminology section. This should give you an idea what TPAs go thru in order to keep your plan in compliance: The ADP and ACP test is just the beginning, though they are the primary tests done for non-safe harbor plans. We may also add detailed instructions regarding how to perform these other tests.

    Here are some of the tests involved with keeping some 401k plans in compliance:
    • Average Deferral Percentage (ADP) Test (IRC 401(k))
    • Average Contribution Percentage (ACP) Test (IRC 401(m))
    • Multiple Use Test
    • Coverage Test (IRC 410(b))
    • Top Heavy Test (IRC 416)
    • Maximum Deferral Limit Test (IRC 402(g))
    • Annual Additions Limitations (IRC 415)
    This doesn't include tests connected with New Comparability (aka Cross Testing).

    In the future, parts of our terminology section may be restricted to members only. We may put some our content in the form of a course that will be approved for continuing education credit.


    SEPTEMBER 2007


    You may have noticed by now; we are constantly making changes and updates to this site. As time, money and our production schedule permits, we will continue to make improvements to the look, feel and functionality of 401ktest.com. Some of the changes made last month include:
    • Additional updates to the Terminology page. We want to help people understand the unique language used in the Pension industry, so this page will be updated several times a year.
    • Our product offering and pricing has been updated. We are also making more of our products available for purchase online - as a convenience. Please also feel free to purchase our services by contacting us directly at info@401ktest.com.
    Our Fall and Winter production schedule is going to be busy. We are planning to add the following features to the site:
    • Assistance with Cross-tested 401k Contributions Cross-testing will become available to prototype 401k plans in 2008, so we are going to provide assistance with some of the repetitive and time consuming functions related to this test, like Tiered testing and the E-bar calculations.
    • Vesting and a test of simple limits: These items are still on our production schedule, but our primary focus is on Cross-testing.


    AUGUST 2007


    Here are some of some of the things we have been up to in the last several weeks:
    • Single user licenses are now available for bulk purchase. Some TPAs and investment managers have expressed an interest in buying single user licenses for their clients. I hadn't considered this, but it's a good idea. With single-user license, your client can:
      • Perform their own interim tests and intitial year-end test.
      • Transmit their payroll data to you quickly and safely.
      This can be a great value-added service for your clients. Thank you for the suggestion!
    • Our 'Terminology & Tables' page has been updated: We provided this page to help employers navigate some of the acronyms, terms and numbers used in the 401k community. We may also provide a course on discrimination testing for those who are interested in learning more about the process.
    • We purchased another web-site address - www.403btest.com: A new testing procedure has been put in place for so called 403(b) plans. We plan to create a systematic testing process to help non-profit organizations navigate these new rules. PLease E-mail us if you would like to beta test this process when the time comes.
    As always, we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Many of you have had an impact on the type of services provided at 401ktest.com.


    JULY 2007


    Version 2.0 is finished: We have added the following features to 401ktest.com:
    • Current Year Method testing: For more aggressive clients who have adopted the Current Year Method without a safe harbor match. NOw you can perform the current year method as often as you like. This can help minimize (if not eliminate) plan failures.
    • Improved reporting: The final report provides detailed results to assist with 5500 preparation
    • More flexibility: HCE status can be permanently forced for any eligible employee. You have always had the ability to manually move employees from one category to another during testing: But this feature makes the change in the employees' file.
    We are pleased to offer this service, and these upgrades, to 401k Administrators and to the Small Business Community. Please continue to provide feedback and ideas regarding how we can improve this site.


    JUNE 2007


    Here?s an update to our summer production schedule:
    • E-Commerce: Credit Card Processing is up and running: We had announced that it would be ready by the end of the summer, but we like to under-promise and over-perform as a general rule.


    • We have segregated our remaining production goals into two tiers, in order of expected completion. The following items should be completed in July:
      • Manual override for HCE Status:
      • Test report upgrade:
      • Current Year Method: I prefer the Prior Year Method as a management tool to maximize HCE contributions, but many administrators prefer the Current Year Method ? See details below. The people have spoken, so we moved this upgrade up on our priority list.

    • Testing of simple limits on the employee report. We?re going to expand this project to include the percentage vested year-to-date. Vesting schedules are required on a quarterly basis, and we want to be helpful, so we?ll add this feature to the ?simple limits? report. This feature should be available before the end of the 3rd quarter ? September 30th.


    • There are a couple items that have fallen off our production schedule due to a lack of interest:
      • 403(b) Testing: There have been a few requests for this service, but not enough to justify an investment of time and money. We will consider this for future updates.
      • Output reports in a format other than Excel. A Mac user asked if we were planning to produce reports in a MAC friendly format. We will keep this under advisement, but it?s not a priority for our current audience. IE: We had over 20,000 hits on this site in the last month: 3 of them were MAC users. I really like the commercials though!
    We want to provide you with a site that is valuable yet affordable for small companies and TPAs. Please keep your comments and suggestions coming to info@401ktest.com.


    401ktest?s pricing is too low!
    I have consulted with a number of business advisors for the last few years regarding many aspects of this service. Every advisor has counseled me to do the same thing - Raise my subscription prices. In the wake of their over-whelming consensus, I am considering a price-hike effective October 29th. The new prices would be no higher than the following:
    Single user $75
    Multi user $300
    I have a very strong commitment to the small business community. I want this site to be affordable to any administrator that needs help remaining competitive. For that reason, don?t intend to raise my Multi-user price. For those who say my prices are too low (and it?s unanimous so far), I?ll take that as a compliment.


    Current Year Method v. Prior Year Method:
    While the Prior Year method is a superior planning tool, the Current Year Method can provide HCEs an opportunity to contribute more each year. Companies that use the Current Year Method should expect to pay significantly more for administration, and HCEs should expect their plan to fail the discrimination test. Even with constant supervision, there?s no way to reasonably predict the results of the final test. An administrator can only minimize the impact when a plan fails. In fact; if you are not failing your discrimination test occasionally, and you are using the Current Year Method, your administrator may not be using this method aggressively; so you might get a better result using the Prior Year Method.

    The Current Year Method is an aggressive and unpredictable 401k planning tool. Specialists who use this method effectively are well worth the additional fee they charge for administration. 401ktest.com will partner with these administrators in their efforts to add value to their clients.



    MAY 2007


    We had a very successful launch: The site is working better than I had hoped. I think you?ll find 401ktest very helpful.

    I wanted to address a few comments, and provide our development schedule for the summer:

    • Speed - Demand for the site is picking up steam, as anticipated. Our ISP has invested a great deal of money to ensure efficient navigation: We?ll continue to be proactive in order to keep navigation easy and fast.
    • Features and future development plans: We have developed a site that will save you a great deal of time; but we?re not going to stop there. We have an aggressive development schedule planned for the summer:
    Here?s what the site does already:
    • Uploads payroll data from a tab delimited text file ? If your payroll program won?t create a file(s) that can be directly uploaded; just download your payroll data to Excel, configure it as needed, then save it as a text file. A prior year test takes two files to perform the test - Prior year data and current year data. Each file takes less than 10 seconds to upload.
    • Eligibility criteria can be filtered based on hours worked per year, employee start date, and/or employee age. If your plan has more criteria than this, you can manually move an employee from one category to another by dragging and dropping them. This is done just before the test is performed and it is a temporary status change.
    • Catch-up contributions are taken into consideration for HCEs who are 50 or older. This is a very powerful feature, and it can be easily overlooked when you perform a test manually.
    • When test results are reported, you have an option to download current year testing information to Excel. Some may want to run pro-forma scenarios this way, though it would be easier to use 401ktest.
    • Security: We go to great lengths to make sure your information is kept private. My ISP also handles medical records, so we do everything reasonable to secure our clients data.
    Here is our production schedule for the summer:
    • E-Commerce: You will be able to purchase a license securely over the web. This is our first order of business. We hope to have this feature available soon.
    • Current Year Method: We?re adding an option for those who have opted to do the ?Current Year? test. I wouldn?t recommend that anyone opt for current year testing. BE WARNED: No testing can guarantee that you will pass when you use the ?Current Year? method. Anyone using this method should test every time they run payroll, especially in the 4th quarter, in order to minimize the impact of failing a test.
    • Manual override: We?re adding a feature so an employee can be permanently designated as an HCE. Such an override is not for the faint of heart. While you WILL be able to (deselect the employee as an HCE at any time), it will be very easy to forget that you selected them in the first place. I would recommend that you drag and drop an employee if you need to change their status prior to testing. However; this feature will be useful in some cases.
    • Testing of simple limits on the employee report. The employee report is primarily provided to double-check the accuracy of an uploaded file; but were going to add a feature that will test data for simple limits, and give you a warning when something looks out of the ordinary. Most payroll programs do this already, but it won?t hurt to have another program looking at your data with a ?critical eye?.
    • Test report upgrade: Prior year information is going to be added to the report created after testing is complete. This information may be useful to TPAs and sophisticated users who want to double-check their results or run additional scenarios in Excel ? rather than in 401ktest.com.
    • 403(b) Testing: We have had a few requests for a test routine for Non-profit organizations. If we get more requests for this service, we will consider adding it.
    Thank you for your interest in our 401ktest.com. I hope you find this site helpful. We will be submitting further announcements and feedback on at least a monthly basis.

    Please send any comments, criticisms, or feedback to info@401ktest.com



    April 2007

    We?re scheduled to go live on May 1, 2007. Here are our introductory rates:


    • One year subscription ? Unlimited usage:
      • $45 for a single company license
      • $300 for up to 100 companies
      • $260 to upgrade from a single company license to a 100 company license ? The term of the license is 1 year from the date of the upgrade
    • Advertising on this site: Please contact us at 614-313-4130 if you would like to help sponsor this site.
      • $500 per year. We will link to your web-site for one year. Please provide a couple sentences about your company, your link, and a small banner (approximately 500 x 60 pixels).
    We created this site for two primary reasons.
    • To help small Third Party Administrators streamline their compliance testing procedures; giving them a chance to be more competitive.
    • To provide Companies with a tool to help them maximize (401k contributions for their Officers and HCEs) without failing the compliance test.
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