Readers Weigh in With Predictions About 2018

As we head into the new year, there are lots of predictions and portents (and predictions based on portents) for the year ahead – and this week NAPA Net readers peeked into their crystal balls, and took a shot at their predictions for markets, the elections, the fiduciary regulation, retirement legislation… and more.

First – the markets. We asked readers to pick what they thought was the most likely outcome for 2018, and a clear plurality (46%) predicted that the stock market will end 2018 higher than it began it, while another 23% thought it would tumble, but still end the year higher. That said, a quarter said the market would end the year lower than it opened, and the rest saw a year where the market tumbled, and didn’t recover.


How about those mid-term elections? Nearly 4-in-10 think that the GOP will keep the House, but lose the Senate. Second-most went with the 24% who thought the GOP would keep the Senate, but lose the House, while just about as many thought the GOP would keep both the House and Senate. Only one-in-eight (12%) thought the Democrats would recapture both the House and the Senate.

The Fiduciary Rule

As for the fiduciary regulation, a clear plurality (46%) think it will undergo some further modification before full applicability, while a third think that full applicability date will be delayed further. About 17% thought the SEC would enter the fray (without concluding what that might mean). Only about 4% thought the fiduciary regulation would come online as scheduled.

State-Run Retirement Plans

A little closer to home, just over half (53%) of this week’s reader poll respondents think that more new state-run retirement plans for private sector workers would be introduced, but fail to get off the ground. Just over one-in-five think that the existing plans would come on line, but with opt-out rates that are “shockingly high.” About 15% think that existing state-run plans for private sector workers will come online, but later than expected. Only about 1-in-20 think that the existing plans will come on line, and begin to gain traction.

“All of the above,” opined one reader. “Fed too dysfunctional to implement any broad reform/program to replace states’ efforts. Academics support State programs to increase coverage, but even most progressive states (e.g., California) who have passed programs, will not be able to implement according to their own time-tables because of bureaucratic decision making processes and the detail of successful implementation. State-based private sector programs that compete with existing system will have competitive disadvantage unless they are mandated because they inherently add to the paradox of choice. The low wage or gig workers that these programs target don’t already save in IRAs so why would they engage in a different type of voluntary State based program. High wage Gig workers have great alternative in a Solo 401(k) vehicle, but these have very low adoption.”

Another reader noted, “I think any state-run plan is going to get very little traction – without a match, most will opt out; those who are defaulted in will have such low balances and lost accounts when they change jobs that the programs will not work.”


Multiple employer plans, or MEPs – more specifically “open” MEPs – have been of growing interest, even bipartisan interest on the Hill – and have even made their way into legislation. However, asked what they see as the most likely outcome, a plurality (45%) didn’t seem much change ahead – status quo, in fact. However, just over a third (35%) opined that new direction from the Labor Department would open the door to open MEPs, and just under one-in-five (19%) predicted that open MEPs will become a reality due to legislation.

Retirement Legislation

Speaking of legislation, with tax reform now behind us (the drafting part, anyway), what do readers see as prospects for retirement legislation in the months ahead? Here there wasn’t much divergence of opinion; the vast majority, 81%, went with “no new retirement legislation will be (seriously) introduced – it’s the mid-terms after all.” A distant second (14%) thought that new retirement legislation would be introduced, but would come to naught. Just 5% thought that new retirement legislation will be introduced, move through Congress, and obtain the president’s signature.

We’ll see how it all plays out. Thanks to everyone who participated in this, and every week’s NAPA Net reader poll!

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