Category Archives: fun

Time to Vote for Your Favorite Law Blog

The American Bar Association’s list of the top 100 blawgs is out, and voting is open. Voting is open from now to Friday, Dec. 21st.

Once again, no ERISA-related blogs are on the list, but, as we all know, everyone on the list, and everyone reading the list, either has a qualified plan, or should have a qualified plan, so, as Cub fans say, there is always next year. I am happy to see that TaxProf made the list again this year (even though I was expecting it because he has made every ABA Top 100 Blog list since the ABA has been compiling the list). TaxProf is written by Prof. Paul Caron of the University of Cincinnati College of Law. (Go Bearcats!) This is the last year I will share a UC Law connection with Prof. Caron because he is moving to Pepperdine at the end of this school year.

Oddest blog on the list is ZombieLaw by Josh Warren, which is devoted to documenting when judges and litigators cite to the living dead. I haven’t had a chance to read many entries, but am hoping it is somewhere between The Walking Dead and Jerry Garcia post-1995, but for lawyers and judges.

ABA Journal’s Blawg 100 Nominations Due Today

Today is the last day to nominate your favorite blog for the ABA Journal’s Blawg 100, which is the ABA Journal’s annual list of the most interesting legal blogs. Last year, only a handful of tax-related blogs made the list, and no ERISA-related blogs made the list, which is interesting when you consider that everyone contributing to the blawgs on the list, or nominating the blawgs on the list, or reading the blawgs on the list, all probably interact with ERISA on a more regular basis then they interact with divorce law or criminal law, which seem to dominate the list every year (think 401(k) plans, IRAs, QDROs, disability benefits, health care coverage, and/or the Affordable Care Act).

If you are thinking of nominating a blog, there are a number of terrific ERISA-related blogs. The ABA Journal just asks that you consider these factors when nominating a blog:

    1. They are primarily interested in blawgs (law-related blogs) in which the author is recognizable as someone working in a legal field or studying law in the vast majority of his or her posts;
    2. The blawg should be written with an audience of legal professionals or law students – rather than potential clients or potential law students – in mind;
    3. The majority of the blawg’s content should be unique to the blawg and not cross-posted or cut and pasted from other publications; and
    4. They are not interested in blawgs that more or less exist to promote the author’s products and services.

Nominating a blawg involves filling out a short form which includes a few sentences about why you like the blog. To nominate a blog, you can access the form here.

If you need a little help pondering a list of ERISA-related blogs before deciding who to nominate, Justia maintains a list of ERISA-related blogs.

401(k) Quote of the Day

The Onion Chicago

“One man’s trash is my 401k and full dental.”

Said by Josh Nalven, upon learning that 11 out of 16 full-time employees of The Onion are refusing to relocate from New York City to Chicago.

Mr. Nalven was quoted by Caroline O’Donovan in the article – Onion Staff Reluctant to Shed New York State of Mind – published in the Chicagoist.

No word on whether Onion, Inc. Savings & Retirement Plan contains a geographic exclusion for employees assigned to the Chicago office.

Boston College Creates Online Interactive Retirement Game

The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College has created an interactive retirement game, and posted it on their website. The game is called Get Rich Slow, and follows a fictional couple through several decades starting when they are in their 40′s. For each decade, the game asks retirement-related questions about such topics as portfolio diversification and maximizing matching contributions. For each question answered correctly, the couple gains $1,000 in their hypothetical retirement account.

As you make decisions about Sally and Norm, such as whether they should contribute to their 401(k) account or pay for their twins’ college education, the game shows how their 401(k) balances change. The game also throws in some twists, such as an unexpected illness, in an attempt to replicate real life.

The game plays a little slow but is entertaining enough to recommend. Take a few minutes during this Memorial Day weekend to see how you do. We played this game over lunch today at my office, and were very surprised that only one person was able to answer every question correctly. (hat tip to BenefitsLink.com)

[tags]Pension Protection Act, ppa, Boston College, Center for Retirement Research, Get Rich Slow, fun, online game, ERISA[/tags]

ERISA Pop Quiz

Here is a pretty good ERISA pop quiz written Barbara P. Pletcher of the law firm of Trucker Huss. In 5 questions, Ms. Pletcher covers a wide variety of ERISA topics. See if you can answer all 5 questions correctly. (hat tip to BenefitsLink)

[tags]Pension Protection Act, ppa, Trucker Huss, Barbara Pletcher, ERISA[/tags]

A Little ERISA April Fool’s Day Humor

From the brilliant mind of Kevin B. Segal of MullinTBG comes this bit of ERISA humor about April Fool’s Day:

Today, the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service released Notice 2008-41, authorizing the creation of a support group dedicated to helping companies avoid imposition of penalties from the inadvertent violation of Internal Revenue Code Section 409A. Dubbed 409AA, it guides companies and their advisors through a 12-step program designed to uncover areas of potential trouble. The Notice also specifies that commitments to participate must be received in writing in the year prior to commencement of the program, that shortening the number of steps is absolutely prohibited and that changes to the program will require participants to start 5 years later than originally scheduled.

Here are the 12 – steps:

    1.     I will never get into conversations as to whether it is 409A or 409-Cap-A.
    2.     I will never pronounce Dan Hogan’s name in a Colonel Klink voice.
    3.     I will not respond to transition relief with, “Oh no! Not again!”
    4.     I will not engage in debates whether nonqualified needs a hyphen.
    5.     I will not correct the use of “hardship”, even though I know it means “occurrence due to an unforeseeable emergency”.
    6.     I will not care whether leap year impacts the 6 month or 12 month rules.
    7.     I will not print out all the Notices, proposed regs, and final regs just to see the look on a client’s face when they hear the sound of the stack hitting the table.
    8.     I will avoid conversations asking how the underpayment penalty is really calculated.
    9.     I will respond to every question with “What does the plan document say?” and ignore the eye rolling.
    10.     I will preface every response with “I don’t give legal advice, but…”.
    11.     I will not demand additional transition relief must push the compliance date out 5 years (maybe).
    12.     I will not ask my employer whether our company plans are 409A-compliant.

[tags]Pension Protection Act, PPA, April Fool’s Day, Kevin Segal, MullinTBG, humor, ERISA[/tags]

2007 Letter to Pension Santa


Susan Mangiero over at Pension Risk Matters has posted a letter a pretty good letter to Pension Santa. Susan’s focus is fiduciary matters and risk, so her letter focuses on these topics.

I second Susan’s letter, and add this item to my letter to Pension Santa:

  • knowledge of, and the requisite guidance to create, any amendments required to be signed by December 31, 2008, well before that date. In a perfect world, no later than July 1st is a good date to know what must be created and signed by December 31st so plan sponsors will receive all plan document updates in one package instead of the slow trickle throughout the year which we have seen since the IRS released Rev. Proc. 2005-66;

[tags]Pension Protection Act, ppa, DOL, civil penalties, 502(c)(4), Susan Mangiero, ERISA[/tags]