nonqualified deferred compensation articles

Most-Popular Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Articles in 2021

December 16, 2021

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Here are the most-read nonqualified deferred compensation articles this year on Deferred Compensation News.

Nonqualified deferred compensation (NQDC) best practices and creative plan strategies are justifiably a topic that discerning companies and executives want to understand better. This interest in all aspects of deferred comp and strategic retirement readiness drives readership and pageviews here on Deferred Compensation News.

Having optimal NQDC plan options in place positions organizations to be more competitive in pursuing and keeping the key talent that is critical to the organization’s success. For highly compensated employees (HCEs), a well-designed nonqualified deferred compensation plan allows them to save more money for retirement than is allowed through qualified plans, such as 401(k) plans.

In 2021, the highest traffic and pageviews year-to-date here on Deferred Compensation News, have focused on long-term incentive plans; payment of the annual incentive bonus; and defining “separation from service.”

Here’s a recap of our top 3 most-read articles in 2021.

Number 1 on the list: What is a Long Term Incentive Plan and How Does it Work?

A long term incentive plan can be a very effective way to reward a company’s top talent when they reach performance goals and to motivate those valued workers for continued employment. LTIPs may vary greatly in structure and timing and terms of pay out from one plan to another, which indicates how readily customizable they can be to an organization’s objectives. Companies can choose to offer performance shares, restricted stock, company stock, retirement funds, or even cash payouts. To better understand how these plans benefit organizations and executives, you can read the full article here: What is a Long Term Incentive Plan.

Second Most-Read Article in 2021:  409A Guidelines on Payment of Annual Incentive Bonus

We understand why this article has been so popular. The article combines the engaging writing style of Michael S Melbinger, attorney Winston & Strawn, with easy-to-understand guidance for ensuring that annual incentive bonus pay is treated as a short-term deferral and not as a deferred compensation plan.

Since his wisdom on the topic of annual incentive bonuses remains timely, you’ll want to read (or re-read) 409A Guidelines on Payment of Annual Incentive Bonus. Mike was a valued contributor to Deferred Compensation News and since he retired from writing his blog, we all miss his contributions and his humor.

Most-Read Article #3: Defining “Separation from Service” under Section 409A

Even readers with a thorough understanding of what constitutes a “separation from service” and triggers payment of benefits, had to go back to the books in 2020 when the COVID pandemic created upheaval in the patterns and routines of the American workforce. No one wants to pay full taxes plus penalties on benefits received if this can be avoided, and it is certainly undesired to create such a situation inadvertently by failing to comply with Tax Code 409A.

With this in mind, it makes sense that thousands of followers of Deferred Compensation News made Defining “Separation from Service” under Section 409A the third-most popular article on our website.

Looking Ahead: 2022 and More Nonqualified Deferred Compensation Articles

With 2021 almost behind us, we are busy making plans for bringing our readers and followers timely and insightful information about deferred comp and other aspects of executive benefits. If you’d like your questions answered here on the blog, you can reach out to us at

Or you can connect directly with one of our seasoned executive benefits advisory team members, many of whom have been working in this profession over 30 years, and who would be glad to share their knowledge and experience with you.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, accounting, legal or tax advice. Any tax advice contained herein is of a general nature. You should seek specific advice from your tax professional before pursuing any idea contemplated herein.

Securities offered through Lion Street Financial, LLC (LSF) and Valmark Securities, Inc. (VSI), each a member of FINRA and SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Lion Street Advisors, LLC (LSA) and Valmark Advisers, Inc. (VAI), each an SEC registered investment advisor. Please refer to your investment advisory agreement and the Form ADV disclosures provided to you for more information. VAI/VSI and LSF/LSA are non-affiliated entities and separate entities from OneDigital and Fulcrum Partners.

Unless otherwise noted, VAI/VSI, LSF/LSA are not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with any other company, agency or government agency identified or referenced in this document.

Lion Street Advisors // Lion Street Financial

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