Many retirement plans are at risk of failure because plan sponsors have the same lethargy about retirement savings as their employees.It is very easy to "set it and forget it" on both sides.

So what can retirement plan sponsors do to make sure they aren't wasting their money and resources on a plan that doesn't stand a chance? The most important step is to hire a financial advisor who has a lot of experience working in the retirement plan space and a recordkeeper whose focus is retirement plans versus something they do on the side," said Kathleen Connelly, executive vice president of client service at Ascensus in Pennsylvania.

"The complexity of the regulatory environment and the number of things advisors, employers and recordkeepers need to keep an eye on…that list is getting longer, not shorter," she said.

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