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Chase TweelSBJ photo by APRIL TURNER
Chase Tweel


Retirement planning key for small businesses

Posted online
Despite an economy that still has many pinching pennies, saving a few for retirement is a necessity for any business or employee, says Chase Tweel, a 27-year-old Springfield up-and-comer working for Pension Consultants Inc.

Tweel, an Employee Retirement Income Security Act analyst with the full-service investment consulting firm, sat down March 8 at Houlihan's South with Springfield Business Journal Editor Eric Olson in the third 12 People You Need to Know breakfast of the year.

In his position, Tweel deals with the details of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, a federal statute that focuses on pension plans in the private industry and tax effects associated with employee benefits plans.

"The bottom line for us is retirement readiness," he said, noting he interprets regulations coming out of the Internal Revenue Service and the U.S. Department of Labor for Pension Consultants' ERISA division, which counsels its clients on the often-changing face of the law.

"Anytime you implement a change to your plan, there could be a number of issues," Tweel said. "Unfortunately, it tends to be smaller employers who face greater challenges when it comes to compliancies."

Tweel attributes this to the amount of resources available for small businesses, which is often reminiscent of the title "small" business itself.

He said myriad businesses shy away from intensive retirement plans, an act that generally should be avoided.

Pension Consultants' four-person ERISA division can help businesses keep up to date with their employee retirement plans.

Shifting his focus to the political side of retirement law, Tweel pointed to the overall hierarchy of the industry, what he called the three-legged stool of retirement plans - Social Security, pension plans and personal savings.

"When one or two of the legs become weak or break, it's going to put more strain on the other leg," he said. "Who's going to pick up the bill for that? The taxpayer."

Tweel began work for Pension Consultants last fall, moving from the Mecca of law itself, Washington D.C., where he worked as a senior tax associate for KPMG’s Washington National Tax Practice.

He said Marina Wiley, director of Pension's ERISA team, was influential in bringing him to Springfield, which wasn't originally on his radar.

"I had my ideal job coming out of (Georgetown University Law Center)," Tweel said, noting he would have been content to stay there had it not been for the influential impact of Wiley and Pension Consultants' urging. "My initial motivation in going to law school was an interest in public policy."
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