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July 21, 2017
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States Take Similar Action to Private Sector in Reducing Health Benefits Costs
Retirement Planning Differs for Wealthy Versus Non-Wealthy Pre-Retirees
Phased Retirement Can Preserve Boomers' Knowledge Base
Investment Products and Services Launches
Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Theft From 401(k) Plan
Sears Holdings Faces Stock Drop Lawsuit
Benefits & Administration
States Take Similar Action to Private Sector in Reducing Health Benefits Costs:
Total costs and premiums for state employer health benefits continue to increase despite ongoing efforts to mitigate and manage trend, such as plan design reductions and member incentives to promote healthy and efficient choices, according to a study from Segal Consulting. The study finds an increase in cost sharing and the offering of consumer-directed health plans. Read more »
Retirement Planning Differs for Wealthy Versus Non-Wealthy Pre-Retirees:
Wealthy pre-retirees want to reach a certain asset level before they retire, while age is the trigger for pre-retirees with fewer assets, according to UBS Wealth Management Americas’ latest UBS Investor Watch report. For wealthy pre-retirees, emotional anxiety trumps financial concerns in assessing retirement readiness. However, 73% say getting sick is their top retirement concern. Read more »
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Phased Retirement Can Preserve Boomers' Knowledge Base:
In a report to the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommends that employers adopt phased retirement programs, so that they will not suddenly lose the knowledge and experience of Baby Boomers. However, only 15% of workers between the ages of 61 and 66 are semi-retired, according to the GAO. Read more »
Products, Deals and People
Investment Products and Services Launches:
Wilshire launches VETS Index; Betterment sprouts SRI option for participants; and Deutsche launches Liquid Real Assets CIT. Read more »
Economic Events

In the week ending July 15, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance was 233,000, a decrease of 15,000 from the previous week's revised level of 248,000, the Labor Department reported. The four-week moving average was 243,750, a decrease of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 246,000.

The average interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.96%, down from 4.03% one week ago, according to Freddie Mac. The average interest rate for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is 3.23%, down from 3.29%.
Market Mirror

Thursday, the Dow decreased 28.97 points (0.13%) to 21,611.78, the NASDAQ was up 4.96 points (0.08%) at 6,390.00, and the S&P 500 was virtually unchanged at 2,473.45. The Russell 2000 was virtually unchanged at 1,442.35, and the Wilshire 5000 was also virtually unchanged at 25,728.63.

The price of the 10-year Treasury note was up 4/32, decreasing its yield to 2.258%. The price of the 30-year Treasury bond increased 16/32, bringing its yield down to 2.829%.
Compliance
Business Owner Pleads Guilty to Theft From 401(k) Plan:
The owner of PCI, a commercial janitorial company that contracted with area school districts, and CDM, a company that performed construction and property management services in a metro area in Kansas, has pleaded guilty to theft from an employee benefit plan. Provider statements to 401(k) plan participants alerted them to their missing contributions. The business owner tried to blame other employees until she met with a Department of Labor (DOL) investigator. Read more »
Sears Holdings Faces Stock Drop Lawsuit:
A participant in the Sears Holdings Savings Plan has filed a proposed Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class action lawsuit alleging Sears continued to hold company stock in its retirement plan when it was no longer prudent to do so. The lawsuit alleges that even if the plan required that Sears Stock be offered, the plan’s fiduciaries were obligated by law to disregard that directive once it became clear company stock was no longer a prudent investment for the plan. The complaint suggests several alternative actions plan fiduciaries could have taken. Read more »
Small Talk

ON THIS DATE: In 1733, John Winthrop was granted the first honorary Doctor of Law Degree given by Harvard College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 1861, the first major battle of the U.S. Civil War began. It was the Battle of Bull Run at Manassas Junction, Virginia. The Confederates won the battle. In 1925, the "Monkey Trial" ended in Dayton, Tennessee. John T. Scopes was convicted and fined $100 for violating the state prohibition on teaching Darwin's theory of evolution. The conviction was later overturned on a legal technicality because the judge had set the fine instead of the jury. In 1930, the Veterans Administration of the United States was established. In 1944, American forces landed on Guam during World War II. In 1949, the U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty. The 1954, the Geneva Conference partitioned Vietnam into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. In 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win a major U.S. tennis title when she won the Women’s National clay-court singles competition. In 1968, Arnold Palmer became the first golfer to make a million dollars in career earnings after he tied for second place at the PGA Championship. In 1980, draft registration began in the United States for 19 and 20-year-old men. In 2002, WorldCom Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time it was the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history. In 2004, White House officials were briefed on the September 11 commission's final report. The 575-page report concluded that hijackers exploited "deep institutional failings within our government." The report was released to the public the next day. In 2011, Space Shuttle Atlantis landed at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It was the last flight of NASA's space shuttle program.

 

And now it’s time for FRIDAY FILES!
A good reason to slow down for speed bumps. Read more »
This video just goes to show we all can get along. Read more »
Whose idea was it to do a news story about helicopters coming in? Read more »

Near Birmingham, England, doctors readying a 67-year-old woman for cataract surgery discovered that a “blueish mass” in one of her eyes was actually 17 contact lenses mashed together, according to a report published this month in the British Medical Journal. The woman reported discomfort in her eye, but figured it was because of dry eye and old age, according to Optometry Today. A specialist trainee ophthalmologist told the website that doctors eventually found an additional 10 individual contact lenses in the same eye. All of the lenses were monthly disposable contacts that the woman had forgotten about. The cataract surgery was postponed after the discovery to avoid increased risk of eye infection due to the bacteria around the patient’s conjunctiva, but there was no obvious infection in the eye.

In Corpus Christi, Texas, customers went to a Bank of America ATM, and instead of a receipt, out popped a message saying, “Please Help I’m stuck here and I don’t have my phone please call my boss.” The trapped man was stuck for about two hours. Some people who saw the note initially thought it was a joke. Luckily for the man, someone took it seriously and called for help. “Apparently he left his cellphone and the swipe card he needed to get out of the room outside in his truck,” Corpus Christi police Lt. Chris Hooper told The Associated Press.

In Manitowoc, Wisconsin, police officers found a 32-year-old nak.ed man standing in the street yelling that he wanted to harm people living nearby. Officers suspected he was impaired by drugs and placed him in handcuffs, but the man struggled and refused to enter a squad car. According to the Associated Press, that's when one officer deployed a stun gun, striking a lighter in the man's hand. The lighter fluid and electricity combined to spark a fire in his beard and chest hair. As officers extinguished the blaze, the man punched one of them in the face.

In Taiwan, a woman has been granted a divorce, using the "Read" indicators on the Line messages she had sent to her husband as proof that he had been ignoring her. Line is the leading messaging app in several Asian countries. The app showed he had opened the text messages, but didn't reply to any of them. The family affairs court judge cited the ignored Line messages as key evidence of the woman's marriage being beyond repair, ruling that she was therefore entitled to a divorce.

In Deerfield Beach, Florida, a man said he and his family were awakened one morning by a loud thud on the roof of their home. "We got up, found two packages of sausage on our side yard, and then we were like, 'OK, well, we got to go on the roof and check and see if we find more of this stuff,'" he said, according to the local ABC News station. A total of 15 pounds of Italian sausage was found in bags marked William Land Service, a land-clearing company in Alabama. The homeowners were baffled about how the sausage ended up on their roof, so their son called the company, which said it had no idea what he was talking about.

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EDITORIAL

Alison Cooke Mintzer | Editor-in-Chief | alison.mintzer@strategic-i.com

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