This module deals with issues that arise when working with plan participants, both before and during retirement. Designing effective participant education programs is addressed. Particular attention is paid the rules related to various types of retirement plan distributions, their associated tax implications, and the employer’s role in administering distributions. The new Department of Labor (DOL) fiduciary standard applies to any advice given to retirement investors by advisers, and this module covers various topics and concepts that a competent fiduciary adviser should be knowledgeable about when working with retirement plan participants.

7–1 Discuss the retirement plan provider’s role in educating employees on the importance of planning for retirement and making the most of their employer-sponsored plan.
7–2 Discuss employee options for receiving a preretirement distribution from an employer-sponsored retirement plan and the associated tax implications.
7–3 Discuss distribution options available to plan participants following termination of employment and the tax implications of each.
7–4 Identify the required minimum distribution rules that apply to a plan participant or beneficiary and calculate the required distribution amount..
7–5 Discuss the plan administrator’s role in responding to benefit claims by non-participants, dividing plan assets under a QDRO, and handling accrued benefits of unlocatable plan participants.

About the Author

Kristen MacKenzie, MBA, CFP®, CRPC® is an associate professor at the College for Financial Planning. Kristen has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, both as an active financial planner and as a provider of financial education. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in economics and later received her MBA at the University of Colorado. You can contact Kristen at

Complexity Level: Intermediate