A New Way 2 401k

Your TPA Sucks

Two years ago we made some funny promo hats for an Advisor Golf Event we were sponsoring. The hats simply said “Your TPA Sucks” and were intended to get a smile/laugh out of people while at the same time reinforcing the edgy side of our company brand.

The idea was that if you were not working with Plan Design Consultants…..well then your TPA was inferior to us and you know……”they suck when compared to PDC.” It was all in good fun and everybody loved them, they were a huge hit. At future events when we didn’t bring the hats, people would ask about their whereabouts.

We had a whole new batch made for the recently held Excel 401k Conference in Las Vegas. At the event a very successful Advisor said to me “You know you are right, Your TPA does Suck” he had deeply analyzed this statement and it was really interesting to hear his take on the whole thing. He said that TPAs always get a bad rap, the job that they do has so many moving pieces and basically way too many ways that something can go wrong. He went on further to explain that he always has to stick up for his TPA partners and explain to upset clients that this stuff isn’t as easy and simple as it appears from the outside. He tells his clients that they should “cut their TPA some slack.” Boy! was this music to my TPA biased ears. 🙂

Now, his take on the meaning of the hat was WAY MORE cerebral, than my original idea of pure in your face humor. But to be honest, he kind of hit the nail on the head. Advisors that want to step up their game and create more value for their clients should start to learn a little more about the detailed steps in a compliance calendar. Learn intimately (that sounds creepy) the steps that your TPA takes and where things can go wrong along the way. This will allow you to assist clients and help smooth over situations or even avoid the pitfalls before they arise.

Find and partner with a TPA that is working really hard at not sucking….because a good TPA can build a process that minimizes these client frustrations. The Chicago Cubs mantra of “Try Not To Suck” seemed to work well as they just eliminated my San Francisco Giants from the 2016 Playoffs. Advisors should find a TPA that is trying not to suck. 🙂

Don’t forget to grab a cold beer (or two or three) and watch the most recent episode of Retireholi(k)s at www. retireholiks.com or by searching “retireholiks” on youtube

4 responses to “Your TPA Sucks”

  1. J.D., I think the pertinent questions I have upon reading this blog are:

    1) Are these trucker hats?
    2) Can I get my hands on one?

    I’m enjoying reading your stuff, btw. 🙂


  2. It’s good to know that an effective TPA should be able to create a process that is most helpful to their clients when it comes to setting up 401ks. I feel like it can often get confusing to understand the best way to make good use of your retirement funds without help from financial professionals. It can be very encouraging to have someone who is knowledgeable about 401ks advise you on what would be best for you in your unique, specific situation.


    • Thanks for the comments. I agree 100% in that it is important to find quality advice and guidance. Find a true professional that knows their shit and is full of honesty, integrity and puts client first.


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