Answering Protests to Starting a Retirement Plan

Merrill Edge’s MythBuster, which helps small-business owners navigate retirement plan choices, can be a resource for advisers answering questions about starting a plan.

The site is fundamentally intended as an educational resource for small-business owners and sole proprietors, says Judith Anderson, senior vice president, preferred and small-business segment solutions, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

MythBuster highlights how important it is to set up a small-business retirement plan, and details the different plans available. “It can also help to compare and clarify plan details based on a business owner’s priorities,” Anderson tells PLANADVISER.

Merrill Edge cites statistics from a U.S. Small Business Administration study that says roughly 23 million small businesses in the U.S. employ an estimated 50 million workers, most of them without a retirement plan in place.

“Advisers might use MythBuster to prepare themselves prior to meetings with prospects or clients,” Anderson suggests. Advisers might consider steering clients or prospective clients interested in implementing a retirement—or those with doubts about the advantages of starting one—to the site in advance of meeting, she adds. The site can act as a way to break the ice or jumpstart some thoughts before a conversation about what plans may be best suited for them.

It’s going to take too much of my time to research, set up and maintain; It will cost me too much money … My employees just don’t care. “Business owners have many misconceptions surrounding the establishment of workplace retirement plans,” Anderson says. “On top of this, industry and plan terminology can be confusing.”

The purpose of creating MythBuster was to address these common misconceptions and help business owners better understand and navigate through their retirement plan choices. The site aims to be intuitive enough to allow business owners to use the site on their own or with their adviser.

In addition to clearing up the fog around money and time, the site helps business owners navigate based on their employee size: sole proprietor (0-1), several employees (2-10) and many employees (11-100). Or they can answer four simple questions about what they would like their retirement plan to do. Questions include “Do you want employees to contribute to the plan through payroll?” and “Do you need flexibility to access money prior to retirement?” An interactive questionnaire allows business owners to view and compare different retirement plan types and associated costs side by side.

“The micro-site is a great resource to help small-business owners better understand and navigate workplace retirement plans,” Anderson says. “We still encourage business owners to speak with an adviser, as well as other experts, such as accountants or tax advisers, prior to selecting a retirement plan.”

More information is at the MythBusters site.