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In the News

Stop Letting 401k Record Keepers Cut in Line

August 18, 2021

“In some aspects of our culture, cutting in line is normal. We rarely object or think about it, but in more than a few instances, its cost is significant. One of the clearest places to observe its damaging effect is in the relationship between 401k plan advisors and recordkeepers.

While an advisor tells the participants to visit the portal, the portal is often silent about the advisor. The portal promotes only the recordkeeper, which seems patently unfair. But because this is how business is done, no one objects.

This relationship gives the recordkeepers a big advantage for stepping in line at a key time. As participants approach retirement, when they have the most assets, the portal can step right in front of the advisor to seize the business of the participants. Advisors watch this happen repeatedly.

This gives rise to a couple of questions. First, why do advisors continue to let this happen? And second, how can advisors prevent this from occurring?” Edward Dressel, President of RetireReady Solution explains in article published in 401(k) Specialist.

401k Plan Communications Panel Big Success at 401kTV GENIE Awards

August 28, 2019

The 401kTV GENIE Awards Communication session featured industry professionals Edward Dressel, RetireReady Solutions, Courtney Gladden, Chepeknik Financial and Jane Hagen, TriStar Trust Bank, on the Panel which was moderated by Aaron Schumm of Vestwell.

RetireReady Partnering with ARA and NTSA to Benefit Advisors, Participants

January 23, 2019

RetireReady Solutions® is kicking off the new year by announcing its new partnership with the National Tax-Deferred Savings Association (NTSA), a member of the American Retirement Association (ARA). Through the partnership, RetireReady will support the launch of NTSA’s Certified Retirement Education Specialist (CRES) certificate program, providing high-quality tools and resources for educating advisors.

The Best Way to Justify Higher 401k Fees

October 30, 2018

Make it real, make it granular and make it specific. It was a key point made at a Tuesday morning session at the annual Excel 401(k): The Advisors’ Conference in Las Vegas. “Participants are being told to focus on the wrong issues for retirement and they are,” Ed Dressel, president of RetireReady Solutions, bluntly said. It was part of a larger discussion about methods to effectively combat fee compression, reduced margins and many of the other problems plaguing plan advisors, best combatted through differentiation, unique value propositions and demonstrable participant and plan success.

Two Tech Stalwarts Team to Deliver Better 401k Retirement Readiness

May 23, 2018

If you’re tired of unengaged employees, generic enrollment materials and a plan web portal that nobody uses, it’s time to take control of participant education, Dressel says (401(k) Specialist interview with Edward Dressel.)

Two Tech Stalwarts Team to Deliver Better Retirement Readiness

April 16, 2018

Retirement planning software developer RetireReady Solutions has joined forces with Fi360, a provider of fiduciary-related education and technology for retirement plan advisors. On Monday, the two organizations announced a preferred relationship that will provide additional products and services to their shared clients.

RetireReady Solutions Adds Stretch IRA Feature to Online Portal

April 3, 2018

Retirement planning software developer RetireReady Solutions® today announced the release of the Stretch IRA calculator for its popular TRAK-Online advisor portal. The new calculator helps advisors educate their clients on wealth transfer scenarios.

Retiring Early? Possible Ways to Tap Savings but Sidestep Penalties

January 30, 2018

Your dream of early retirement is on the horizon, and you are not even 50 years old. You have worked hard, saved and invested, and avoided or overcome major financial setbacks. But if all your money is in retirement accounts, you might have a problem accessing the funds you need to retire without paying penalties.

Changes Coming to Your 401(k) in 2018 - What do They Mean for You?

November 21, 2017

As the calendar flips to 2018, do you need to make any adjustments to the amount of money you’re depositing monthly into your 401(k)? You might. That’s because the contribution limit for 401(k) programs is rising in 2018. It’s not jumping much but the increase means that you might want to change the amount you contribute to your fund with every paycheck.

Answering the Single Most Important Retirement Question for 401k Plan Participants

October 23, 2017

A Monday afternoon session at Excel 401(K): The Advisors’ Conference in Las Vegas tackled the intriguing issue of increasing assets under management using effective retirement readiness solutions, a win-win for financial professionals and participants that helps to answer a central question, “When can I retire?” logo

RetireReady Now Creates Personalized Participants Reports for Advisors

October 23, 2017

Retire Ready Solutions is now creating personalized participant reports for advisers. Making the service available to current customers of its The Retirement Analysis Kit (TRAK) and other services as well as to those who are not customers, Retire Ready says it produces the reports from plan census data, which the adviser must provide. Retire Ready can return the reports to advisers either electronically or via mail, or send them directly to participants.

PANC 2017: Understanding Advisor Tools and Support

October 16, 2017

Advisers on the “Understanding Adviser Tools and Support” panel at the 2017 PLANADVISER National Conference (PANC), Thursday, ran through a host of applications and tools that they described as “game changers” and observed that service providers—including recordkeepers, investment managers and defined contribution investment only (DCIO) firms—are constantly developing new ones.

Cracking the 403(b) Retirement Plan Market: A Primer

October 16, 2017

The 403(b) market is booming, so much so that financial advisors need to pay attention. Total 403(b) assets have grown from $357 billion in 1996 to nearly $1 trillion in 2017, according to Potomac Fund Management…Advisors looking to “crack the code” on 403(b) clients need to re-evaluate the way they look at retirement-minded clients. “The 403(b) market is quite different for those advisors used to working on the 401(k) side,” said Edward Dressel, president of Retire Ready Solutions.

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401k: Kill It or Expand Its Reach?

October 3, 2017

Sometimes we take the 401k retirement savings vehicle for granted, dwelling on its shortcomings instead of focusing on all the good it has accomplished. The facts, however, tell a different story. The 401k defined contribution savings plan has been the most successful national retirement policy implementation in the history of the United States. “We should be thankful that the majority of workers have access to a retirement savings vehicle,” says Edward Dressel, President of Retire Ready Solutions in Dallas, Oregon.

Fiduciary Rule Creating Opportunities for Advisors to Small Plans

October 2, 2017

The Department of Labor’s (DOL) pending fiduciary rule is just one of many factors causing smaller retirement plans to seek out the services of specialist retirement plan advisers, says George Revoir, head of distribution for John Hancock Retirement Plan Services in Boston. Related to this trend, broker/dealers are enhancing their service offerings to provide non-retirement specialists with more tools and protections so that they can effectively act as fiduciaries to these plans, he says.

How Plan Advisers Can Ease Stress About Retirement Readiness

September 19, 2017

According to a recent retirement confidence study conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, American workers are stressed about their inability to retire, but few are doing anything about it. For retirement plan advisers, this is an especially vexing problem – and, most likely, an urgent call to action. (Article by Edward Dressel)

RetireReady Solutions Honored for Industry Innovation

September 13, 2017

Retire Ready Solutions, formerly Trust Builders, Inc., a leading retirement planning technology solutions developer, has been selected as a finalist for’s 2017 Industry Awards. The annual competition recognizes outstanding achievement, innovation, and leadership among companies and organizations that support financial advisor success.

Reconsidering the Status Quo

July/August 2017

The passage of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) ushered in a new era of automatic plan design features. Many plans—and many advisers—embraced the plan design, and it seemed poised to be the new normal. However, while large and mega plans use automatic enrollment at levels of 61.7% and 63.7%, respectively, just 41.1% of plans overall auto-enroll their employees, according to the 2016 PLANSPONSOR Defined Contribution (DC) Survey.

Trust Builders, INC. Announces Company Name Change

August 9, 2017

Trust Builders, Inc.™, a company that produces professional retirement planning software, today announced its new name, Retire Ready Solutions. After over thirty years in the business, Trust Builders, Inc.’s leadership felt it was time to simplify the name to better illustrate the company’s role in providing advisors with innovative retirement education tools.

Retirement Software Solutions Firm Trust Builders Makes Long-Awaited Change

August 6, 2017

Trust Builders, Inc. has made it official, announcing its long-awaited and anticipated name change and rebrand to Retire Ready Solutions. The retirement planning software firm shed the Trust Builders name after over 30 years in the business, as its leadership felt it was time to simplify to better illustrate the company’s role in providing advisors with innovative retirement education tools.

Maximize Your Auto-Enrollment 401(k) Plan

August 4, 2017

It wasn’t long ago when employees had to opt in to their employer’s 401(k) retirement plan. But in recent years, more and more companies have started automatically enrolling employees in their organization’s retirement plan unless they specifically opt out.

Paris, Plans and Plenty of 401(k) Fun

July 26, 2017

401k advisors need a conference to call their own. Sure, there’s the NAPA 401k Summit, and we can throw Fi360 into the mix—sort of. But other than smaller regional conferences, that’s it. 401k-related topics that are geared specifically to 401k advisors are typically tacked on to major national conferences as an afterthought (think Schwab Impact and Morningstar Investment Conference). That’s right, a business with $5 trillion in assets, 55 million  active participants and millions of former employees and retirees is an afterthought.

Growing Your 401k Practice with Participant Retirement Readiness

July 20, 2017

Ed Dressel from Trust Builders joins me today. Ed will be presenting two sessions at the upcoming Excel 401k Conference. The interview is an intro to those sessions as well as info for Advisors on how retirement readiness can bolster advisory practice growth

5 Money Decisions to Make When Leaving a Job

May 26, 2017

If you’ve left a job for another, it’s often because you’re taking a position that pays more money. But whenever anyone leaves a job, especially one with benefits, there are often ways to lose some hard-earned income in the process, even if the next position you take has far better compensation. In other words, changing jobs means paying attention to more than the paycheck. You also want to be thinking about the following five things.

What to do if You Put Too Much in a 401(k)

May 17, 2017

Contributing regularly to an individual retirement account helps your investments grow in a tax-advantaged way, but it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

Financial Advisors/Plan Advisors: Are you Asking the Wrong Questions?

May 11, 2017

I met Ed Dressel, CEO of the firm that makes TRAK retirement planning software for financial advisors, through a mutual acquaintance. I have since taken a deep dive into the financial planning software and listened to Ed tell his story a couple times. What he says makes a ton of sense to me, so I invited him to record a Best Practices in the Financial Services Industry interview.

Trust Builders Releases Maximum Contribution Tool for Advisers

April 21, 2017

Trust Builders has launched the Maximum Allowable Contribution (MAC) module for the TRAK-Online retirement readiness portal. MAC allows advisers to gauge clients’ maximum annual contribution to 403(b), and 457 accounts including the 402(g)(7) limit and double-up options.

Trust Builders Expands Online Retirement Readiness Tools

April 20, 2017

Trust Builders, Inc. is announcing the release of the Maximum Allowable Contribution (MAC) module for the TRAK-Online retirement readiness portal. The MAC module allows advisors to calculate the maximum annual contribution to a 403(b) account and a 457 account, including the 402(g)(7) limit and double-up options.

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The Top Seven Questions Retirement Savers Fail to Ask but Should

March 28, 2017

If there’s one thing research in behavior finance reveals it’s that inexperienced investors often zig when they should be zagging and zag when they should be zigging. In other words, when it comes to saving for retirement, they often focus on the precisely the wrong thing at precisely the wrong time. Have you seen people do this? Have you done this yourself? Behavior researchers will tell you you’ve probably seen other people make this error but fail to see yourself making it even when you do.

How to Raise Depressingly Low 401k Participation Rates

March 25, 2017

We’re leading 401k participants to water, and yet they’re dying of thirst. Why? Ed Dressel helps us figure it out. (Interview with 401(k) Specialist Magazine)

RIAs Take a Soft Approach to Cross-Selling

March 10, 2017

Registered investment advisers are under increased pressure to grow their business and deepen client relationships, which forces them to sell their full spectrum of services to as many clients as possible. Thus, RIAs have become masters of the cross-sell.

Takeaways From the T3 Advisor Tech Conference

March 6, 2017

Last month, nearly 600 people, including those representing 76 vendor sponsors, gathered at the Hyatt Regency Orange County in Los Angeles for the 12th annual Technology Tools for Today (T3) advisor technology conference, chaired by advisor technology guru Joel Bruckenstein. With a comparable turnout to its recent year highs, the conference continues to maintain its place as the best dedicated FinTech event specifically for financial advisors.

Industry Gurus Challenge Conventional Thinking - Coverage from Day 2 of T3

February 20, 2017

After the frantic pace of day one, T3 became more reflective during its second day. A range of key industry thought leaders provided challenge and analysis that put many of the previous day’s announcements in suitable context. What follows is a summary of just a few of the key messages and insights shared.

Fintechs Feature DOL Fiduciary Tools at T3

February 14, 2017

Many new tools that fintech firms are unveiling as the T3 conference opens this week are aimed at helping financial advisers meet requirements of the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, which was due to take effect in less than two months but is now in limbo as President Donald J. Trump delayed implementation by six months.

Trust Builders to Introduce New Fiduciary-Focused Features at the T3 Advisor Conference

February 14, 2017

Trust Builders, Inc. is at the T3 Advisor Conference this week announcing the release of two features to help advisors serve clients in a fiduciary capacity. The two newest features complement the retirement readiness solutions in The Retirement Analysis Kit (TRAK) by integrating an annuity illustration into the Sequence of Returns analysis and allowing advisors to document their advice to clients.

Trust Builders Revamps Fiduciary Support

February 13, 2017

Trust Builders announced the release of two features to help retirement specialist advisers serve clients in a fiduciary capacity. The two newest features complement the retirement readiness solutions in The Retirement Analysis Kit (TRAK) by integrating an annuity illustration into the sequence of returns analysis and allowing advisers to document their advice to clients, the firm explains.

T3 Technology Conference for Financial Advisory Firms Coming to Orange County Claifornia

February 9, 2017

Joel Bruckenstein and a select group of industry thought leaders will gather February 14-17, 2017 at the Hyatt Regency in Orange County, California, to dialog about seismic challenges and opportunities within the financial services industry. This annual gathering is specifically designed for financial advisory firms (both the staff and the principals) interested in learning about the latest and greatest tech-ops solutions for their firms.

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10 Reasons Why It's Better to Rollover Your 410k Into an IRA

January 31, 2017

From the point of view of a 401k plan sponsor, it’s often better if former employees take their retirement savings with them when they leave the firm. But what about from the perspective of the employee? This is an ongoing debate that may intensify as we move toward a de facto Fiduciary Rule. A survey of financial professionals reveals ten reasons it’s better to rollover your 401k account at a former employer into your own personal IRA.

What 401k Advisors get Wrong in Participant Education and Success

January 31, 2017

Savvy 401k advisors know the importance of talking about the three Fs: funds, fiduciary and fees. These three interrelated topics should be front-and-center in client meetings, your website and social media…While the three Fs tend to be the focus of conversations between advisors and clients, here’s the rub: if everyone is talking about the three Fs, how can advisors differentiate themselves? If advisor conversations, especially with clients, revolve around only the three Fs, what added value does an advisor bring? What can one advisor do that other advisors don’t? (Article by Edward Dressel)

How to Revamp Your Retirement Strategy When Changing Jobs

December 20, 2016

Changing jobs – whether it’s to pursue a different career path or snag a higher salary – is something most people do at some point. Young adults are particularly receptive to the idea of switching things up, with 21 percent saying they’ve changed jobs in the last year, according to Gallup’s “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” report. That’s three times the rate of non-millennials.

Quick Takes: AskTRAK by Trust Builders, INC

December 19, 2016

Trust Builders, Inc. has been in business for thirty years, yet it is relatively unknown in the independent advisory space. Perhaps that is because for much of their existence, the firm specialized in the 403(b) market. More recently, however, Trust Builders has extended into other markets including financial planning software, retirement software, Social Security software, and financial calculators. Perhaps their most interesting offering, however, is the one for the 401(k) space.

3 Social Security Questions for the Trump ERA

December 14, 2016

The old Chinese saying, “May you live in interesting times,” may be more true than ever before. With this in mind, here are three key Social Security-related questions that advisers must be prepared to answer when speaking with clients ahead of President-elect Donald Trump taking office next month.
1. How will baby boomers’ Social Security benefits be affected?
2. What about Social Security for younger generations?
3. What strategies might the administration consider in the short-, mid- and long-term to fix Social Security? (Article by Edward Dressel)

5 Tips for Providing 401k Plan Sponsors with Added Value

December 13, 2016

In such a competitive playing field, how can 401k advisors or advisory firms differentiate themselves? Think about it, over the past 20 years, the number of 401k plans has increased dramatically—and so has the number of advisors seeking to provide advisory services to plan sponsors. With so many 401k advisors offering services, plan sponsors have the luxury of being more discerning as they select their plan advisor. Below are five ways in which advisors and advisory firms can provide additional value to plan sponsors and differentiate themselves from the competition. (Article by Edward Dressel)

Trust Builders Rolls Out New Retirement Readiness Software

November 29, 2016

Trust Builders has released its new batch processing module for the TRAK-Online retirement readiness portal; the tool is designed to help advisers provide interactive retirement readiness illustrations to plan sponsors and plan participants. For example, advisers can import participant census data into the batch processing module to generate a personalized, one-page gap analysis report for each participant.

Trust Builders Introduces Batch Processing Module to Bolster Online Plan Participant Tools

November 29, 2016

Trust Builders, Inc. has announced the release of its new Batch Processing module for the TRAK-Online retirement readiness portal. The Batch Processing module helps advisors provide engaging retirement readiness illustrations to plan participants and plan sponsors. Advisors can quickly import participant census data into the Batch Processing module to generate a personalized, one-page Gap Analysis report for each participant. This easy-to-understand report grabs the attention of participants, who see a re-creation of their own paycheck and the contribution needed to retire successfully. “I believe our Batch Gap report is the most exciting 401(k) participant engagement solution in the industry,” said Edward Dressel, President of Trust Builders. “It is making a big difference for participants, advisors and plan sponsors.”

Trust Builders Offers Sequence of Returns Calculator

November 7, 2016

Trust Builders, Inc. released its Sequence of Returns calculator with integration in The Retirement Analysis Kit’s (TRAK’s) existing retirement needs analysis calculators. The Sequence of Returns analysis evaluates a client’s retirement plan and assesses the likelihood of possible success or failure based on a historical stock index or a blend of indexes.

Trust Builders Enhances TRAK Gay Analysis with New "Sequence of Returns" Feature

November 4, 2016

The Sequence of Returns calculator augments TRAK’s suite of solutions that engage clients in the retirement planning process. TRAK presents advisors with a technological solution that satisfies the DOL fiduciary rule requirements for interactive investment materials. TRAK also allows advisors to incorporate multiple assets and income streams, thereby improving projections of clients’ retirement income. “At Trust Builders, we have been focused on retirement education for 30 years,” said Edward Dressel, President of Trust Builders, the Dallas, Oregon-based developer of TRAK. “While other fintech providers are changing their products to meet DOL fiduciary rule requirements, TRAK has had interactivity and education as its guiding principles since 1986. For advisors looking for fiduciary tech solutions, TRAK is ready today.”

Trust Builders Enhances TRAK Gap Analysis, Announces Squeence of Returns Calculator at T3 Conference

November 4, 2016

While at the T3 Enterprise conference in Las Vegas this week, Trust Builders, Inc. announced the release of the Sequence of Returns calculator with integration in The Retirement Analysis Kit’s (TRAK’s) existing retirement needs analysis calculators. The Sequence of Returns analysis evaluates a client’s retirement plan and assesses the likelihood of possible success or failure based on a historical stock index or a blend of indexes. Trust Builder president Ed Dressel also spoke at the T3 conference. Hosted by long-time industry tech guru Joel Bruckenstein, this elite conference attracted a select group of IBD, custodian and enterprise executives.

Trust Builders Offers Calculators to Help With Retirement Readiness

June 22, 2016

Trust Builders, Inc. has released Paycheck Calculator, a suite of three calculators to be used with its TRAK-Online retirement readiness portal. The three calculators, all designed for advisers to use with participant clients, are: Paycheck Analysis, 1040 Analysis and Projections. With TRAK-Online, advisers can easily illustrate how changes in retirement plan contributions affect clients’ take-home pay today and their retirement savings down the road.

Trust Builders Expands Online Retirement Readiness Tools for Use by Financial Advisors

June 21, 2016

Providing paycheck analysis has never been easier with TRAK-Online’s brand new Paycheck Calculator from Trust Builders, Inc. The Paycheck Calculator is a suite of three separate calculators that help advisors provide illustrations to clients: the Paycheck Analysis, 1040 Analysis and Projections calculators. “Helping advisors educate clients has always been our mission. And now with the addition of the Paycheck Calculator to TRAK-Online, advisors can quickly show clients their paychecks, matched to the penny, and easily illustrate how changes in retirement plan contributions affect their take-home pay today and their retirement savings down the road. This engages individuals and changes the whole conversation,” says Edward Dressel, President of Trust Builders, Inc., the Dallas, Oregon-based developer of TRAK-Online.

Trust Builders Introduces TRAK_Online for Mobile Devices

May 20, 2015

Trust Builders, Inc.™ introduces the online version of their flagship TRAK (The Retirement Analysis Kit), TRAK-Online. TRAK-Online provides agents and brokers with web-based touch- and tablet-ready tools and calculators to interactively model, analyze and illustrate retirement portfolios for clients. “I’ve been involved in the retirement planning software industry for almost 20 years and it is really exciting to provide my advisors with a 100% web-based, touch- and tablet-friendly retirement planning solution,” said Mr. Edward Dressel, president and owner of Trust Builders, Inc.

Trust Builders Partners with Employee Benefits and Compliance Expert to Revamp TRAK Software

April 30, 2014

Retirement planning software provider Trust Builders, Inc. is partnering with employee benefits and compliance expert Kristi Cook on the next release of The Retirement Analysis Kit (TRAK) system. The TRAK software system is used by advisers working with variety of defined contribution (DC) plan clients, including 403(b)s, 457s, and 401(k)s. Ed Dressel, president of Trust Builders, says Cook is serving in an advisory capacity and lending legal and compliance expertise during the development of the TRAK update. Trust Builders hopes the partnership will help the firm provide advisers with more robust tools to address common challenges faced by DC plan clients.

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