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Courtenay Shipley

When growing organizations need problem-solving on their retirement plans, they come to us.

Retirement Planology, Inc.



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Advisor Services

  • Pension Consulting
    • -401k
    • -403b
    • -457
    • -Defined Benefit
    • -Other Pension Consulting


Funds Used With Clients

There are no funds listed for this advisor at this time.

Firm Client types

There is no client type data to display at this time.



No timeline events available.
Employer Years Dates
Retirement Planology, Inc. 5 years, 11 months May 2014 - Present
Fiducia Group, LLC 1 year, 9 months Aug 2012 - May 2014
A&G Financial Management, LLC (154561) 8 months Dec 2010 - Aug 2011
Shipley Capital Advisory LLC 2 years, 1 month Jul 2010 - Aug 2012
Institutional Capital Management 11 months Aug 2009 - Jul 2010

Designations & Memberships

  • American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries
    American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries
    The American Society of Pension Professionals & Actuaries is the premier educator and policy advocate for over 7,500 career professionals actively engaged in the retirement plan industry.
  • Accredited Investment Fiduciary
    Accredited Investment Fiduciary
    The Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) designation represents a thorough knowledge of and ability to apply the fiduciary practices.
  • Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist
    Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist
    The CRPS Program is specifically targeted at professionals who design, install, and maintain retirement plans for the business community.

Articles and Answers

Insights by Courtenay Shipley

Guide to Understanding "Participant" on 5500
Published 2014-10-27 14:09:20
Guide to tracking down old 401k accounts
Published 2014-03-26 08:45:33
What Does a Retirement Plan Advisor Do?
Published 2014-11-03 09:23:39
Guide to choosing a retirement plan advisor
Published 2013-02-21 08:34:39
A Basic Guide to Helping Limited HCEs
Published 2013-02-15 14:08:34
A Guide to 2013's Retirement Plan Challenges
Published 2013-02-15 14:04:09
Bootstrapping Guide for Retirement Plans
Published 2013-02-15 14:25:30
    *Articles are published by advisors without compensation.


    Ask a financial questionAsk a question
    I'm on a committee to recommend a 401k policy for my firm. We've been discussing whether to automatically enroll all employees (they could opt-out), and also to auto-increase contributions with raises. What are the costs and benefits to these policies for our firm and employees? And are there rules
    Hi Liam,In addition to what has already been stated, there are a couple of other points:Auto-enrollment will actually drive up the administration/recordkeeping costs of the plan, at least at first, because you'll have more accounts. This assumes your provider charges either per head or per eligibl...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2013
    I am the CFO of my company and we offer a 401k plan, how do I know if I am a fiduciary?
    The answer is "most likely" because of your position and "maybe!" I've seen situations where the CFO is NOT responsible for the plan, but rather, a retirement committee of other leadership positions or the CEO and HR director were instead. A lot of the fiduciary tests relate to control. Here's a qu...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2013
    How do I, as a small company plan administrator, evaluate the financial stability of a 401(k) plan provider who offers a turn key operation including investment funds and plan administration?
    Off the top of my head - The things we would look for are evidence of a SAS70 and/or CEFEX certification, where the checks and balances are, is the money held at a reputable custodian, how are the investments registered and how has responsibility for monitoring and selecting them, conflicts of inter...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    What are reasonable fees for administering a 403b account, assets size is less than $5 million.
    The one thing I'm picking up on here is you said "his TPA" several times: The "Investment Advisor" portion of his services is not receiving any compensation; the only compensation is being paid to his TPA. If the TPA services cost 1%, you should look elsewhere!!If there are multiple services being...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2013
    What benefits does a plan administrator get?
    I agree with what the others have said. Plan Sponsor - bears legal responsibility for sponsoring the plan. Administrator - handles everything related to the plan document, required testing, IRS filings. Administrators get paid for the services they provide, outlined in a service agreement. One more...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    We are changing 401k providers. Do I have to "accept" the Financial Advisor that ADP is providing or can I interview several and select the one I like?
    Just a quick point here - no, you don't have to go with any suggested advisor. If you've already selected ADP as the vendor, then when you do a search for an advisor, look for one who has experience working with them. Each vendor has strengths and weaknesses and you'll want someone familiar with th...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2013
    My question regards being designated a highly compensated employee. For 2013 I have been designated as such which limits my 401k contributions regardless of source; i.e. pre-tax/post tax/Roth etc. My dilemma is this..for 2013, the limits of being HCE will not let me contribute the $17.5k maximum t
    Hi Joe, If you're attempting to get more money set aside, you might check and see if the plan allows for After Tax contributions. (Note: Not Roth, this is different!) It's an older provision and not as popular anymore, but we still see it from time to time in our clients' plans. You don't get any s...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    How do I find out all the hidden fees & expenses I am paying in my employer sponsored 401K plan?
    Hi - You said:"Can somebody please clarify exactly what our plan provider is obligated to disclose as far as fees are concerned & point me to where this is spelled out?"Not sure who the provider is, but most of the providers either mailed this information last year around August/September or i...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    What exactly is the purpose of the 401k HCE limit?
    As John said, it's for discrimination testing mandated by the IRS. Two ways around it: 1) become your company's biggest 401k cheerleader. The more money the non-HCEs put in, the more it helps your cause. 2) Encourage your company (if it's in their budget) to consider a safe harbor plan design, which...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    I know that im trying to find out how long it takes for a company to send a response to your 401k so they can distribute my money?
    Just a quick addition - don't forget about processing and mail time. It might take 2-4 weeks to get a check if they need to mail it to you....  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    My son worked for COMPUSA at the time of his death 5-12-00. Unknown to us at the time he was involved in their 401k program. A nephew of ours just brought it to our attention now almost 13 years later. We saved our son's things and found an old pay slip from 2 months before his death and he was inde
    Oh boy...looks like CompUSA has changed hands numerous times since then. See here for the timeline: You might try calling their current owner, Systemax, to see if the account is in their 401k plan, or if they might have any further information. The headquarters ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    When interviewing a financial advisor, what questions should I ask?
    Yes, yes, all of those. One more thought: think about what you want and where you are in your stage in life. Being able to articulate a little more about what you need should help you weed through or have advisor self select themselves out. For example, are you trying to get a path to go the right d...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    Which of these reports is my employer or 401k plan provider required to provide by law? 2011 Audit Report 2011 Form 5500 Summary Plan Description (SPD) Investment Fee Matrix 2011 Summary Annual Report I see samples of reports on the Brightscope site that I'd love to see for my plan. I nee
    The answer is kind of. The 5500 is public information and can be accessed. They're supposed to provide participants a Summary Annual Report, which is the basic data from the 5500 in summary form. It also has the contact information for the administrator should you want to request more financial info...  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    What do you think about a company that does not match 401 k. And only has ESOP? Is it worth to move to a new company? When mine matches 100% and I'm fully vested? Thank you.
    Your employer may view it that they're actually generously giving you 2 plans. ESOPs aren't bad, but it does depend on the strength of the company and its leadership, and the value when you retire. I wouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater, so to speak, because many people don't have access ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2013
    Where do you find an enrolled actuarial who will prepare Form 5500 for a single person self directed 401k over $250K?
    Hi there,I agree - your best bet is the third-party administrator. I have also known several accountants who offer this service, although they won't be able to help you as much on the design aspect of it usually. (By the way, I'm not sure why you'd be told you have to use an enrolled actuary if it'...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2013
    Deceased Brother. I am the only remaining family member. How to go about getting his 401k info.
    Another way to check for whether he participated in a 401k, is to check prior years W-2s in box 12, assuming you can get access to these. A couple of other resources: - nationwide, secure database listing of retirement plan account balances that have been...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    How do I find out how much I have in my 401k n how do I go about cashing it out?
    See above about the in-service withdrawal! If that's not offered, you won't be able to cash out unless you're separated from service, meaning you no longer work for the employer that sponsor the plan. However, you might qualify for a hardship or a loan if you're still working for the employer and t...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    How much is the penalty for taking money from 401k plan ?
    What they said -- If you're under age 59.5, you'll pay a 10% penalty and taxes. Note: 20% will be withheld for taxes automatically by most 401k providers for you, but that may or may not be enough at the end of the year. You might owe more or less....  (more)
    Answered Aug 2013
    How do I find my 401k plan?
    I wrote a guide on this recently. You might find it helpful:  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    I just watched Frontline's most recent documentary on the follies of actively managed accounts. Should I put most/all of my retirement savings into passively managed funds? What about all the hidden fees that are not reported in actively managed funds?
    Here's some more information on the Frontline piece that is worthy of review written by Fiduciary News writer, Chris Carosa. It talks about industry reactions as well as some of the info that was not included and the motivation in a 4 part series: the Good, Bad, Ugly, and the Final Take.Here's the ...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Why aren't more advisors doing comparative benchmarking for DOL Reg 408(b)-2?
    Benchmarking isn't directly required under the regulation but it's implied there has to be some basis for determining reasonableness. The regulation laid out the following requirements:- Assess reasonableness of total compensation, both direct and indirect, received by the Covered Service Provider,...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    Is it worth combining my 401k's when they both seem to be doing about the same? Additional investments on top of 401k?
    Hi - Reasons to consolidate: so you don't forget about the account and have to track it down 10 years from now, your former company can move to a new vendor and transfer your investments without your permission, and you might be charged additional account fees since you aren't employed there any lo...  (more)
    Answered May 2014
    I am 35 years old and I want to know how much do I need to put towards my 401K to retire ok?
    One more answer: as much as you can afford! It's really important to save as much as you can because you're creating your future paycheck. Most estimates are based on saving enough to have about 80% of your working years' paycheck in retirement, which assumes you'll have your house paid off, kids on...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    How much can an individual expect to pay an RIA for fee-only hourly? What about flat fee for 3(16) fiduciary services?
    Fees for a 3(16) are all over the map because the services aren't all the same. Some retirement plan providers will take care of a number of the responsibilities that fall under 3(16). It's only recently that we've come across vendors saying they'll be the named 3(16) and the prices have varied trem...  (more)
    Answered Nov 2013
    How do ineligible family members (due to very part-time hours) get treated in a 401(k) Safe Harbor Plan?
    Hi Mary, Peter is spot-on. Check to make sure the plan is being run in accordance with the provisions in the documents. If they are eligible, then yes, they would end up with the profit sharing contribution and the 3% safe harbor contribution. ...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    How do i change my 401k contribution?
    Hi Trisha,The answer could be: through your company's payroll or benefits department, online through the 401k company, or online through your HR/payroll/benefits website. If it isn't online, you'll probably need to sign a form. Your best bet is to ask in the human resources department at your emplo...  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    From a tax perspective, what is the difference between a 401K and an IRA account?
    Quick note just in case you're looking at attempting to do both - if you're covered by a 401k at work and you make above a certain IRS limit, you won't be able to deduct the IRA contributions. In that case, the 401k and its higher limits are more advantageous. See here for more info: http://www.irs....  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    He is 58 and sick with heart failure, can he get his retirement now?
    Looking at their 2013 5500 filing on DOL's website, it says Jimmy Gipson is the plan administrator and Hilliard Lyons in Louisville is the broker of record. Start by calling Houchens and ask for the benefits or HR department. If that doesn't work, you can try calling Hilliard Lyons on Jefferson St a...  (more)
    Answered Jul 2014
    Can you please send me a distribution form kit to my address please and thank you Richard Homa?
    Hi Richard,If you're looking for a distribution form for a work-sponsored retirement plan (like a 401k), you'll need to check with the company's human resources department. They can point you in the right direction for getting a distribution form....  (more)
    Answered Mar 2014
    Question about my esop plan.
    Hi Jimmy,Your access to the money may depend on how the ESOP plan is set up. Make sure to check with the plan administrator on the rules. For example, sometimes in ESOPs you only have access to the money at certain times of year or under certain circumstances....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2014
    We would like to submit an RFP for invtmnt advry srvs for a DCplan. Can u provide us a scope of work doc template?
    Douglas, I'm not sure what your plan needs, but here are the most common types of things advisors do for a plan:• Investment Policy Development, Fund Menu Design - putting together a thoughtful instruction manual for how your plan's investment options are chosen and monitored• Plan Design Consulti...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    Family member of HCE not eligble for 401k matching at same business as parent?
    Great answers above and yes, it's lousy that because your father is part owner, you're lumped into the HCE category. One more thought - it's actually permitted to discriminate against HCEs. In other words, they may have the plan set up to match only non-highly compensated employees. ...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    I run the 401k plan for my company and some of our employees occasionally ask for personal advice about how much to save or which funds to choose, am I allowed to give them advice?
    I wouldn't do it. It looks bad (a la fox-watching-henhouse) and someone could sue you if they misconstrue what you said down the road or only follow part of your advice. Blanket statements like, "save as much as you can afford" or "the plan offers a menu to choose from or they have some 'invest-for-...  (more)
    Answered Dec 2013
    Okay so I just did my taxes on Turbo Tax married filing joint. With both our AGI out 375k we are getting killed in taxes. When I remove my wifes W2 income we'd get money back so that got me thinking. We had a baby in December and will have to start paying for child care next month at 2500 a month
    Don't forget to defer the max to your 401ks pre-tax to help. If you're self-employed and have money to save, think about starting a defined benefit plan....  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Starting financial planning at a late stage of career life - 401(k) & IRA?
    Everyone has said great things in their posts! 20% is awesome - work towards contributing the max! I'll just round it out with a couple of thoughts: One way to think about it is if you think you'll make less in retirement than you do now and thus pay less in taxes, use the pre-tax side. If you thi...  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Where can I find my P & SRetirement Plan?
    Hi Gary,It depends! For example, do you just want to view information about the plan (try, did you work there in the past and are trying to find your account, or are you trying to find out how to enroll (ask HR)? Sorry to answer a question with a question but give us some more ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    I participated in a 401(k) through my employer, a law firm. The law firm dissolved 5/31/10, but I neglected to move my 401(k) funds. I recently contacted the group from whom I had received statements about my account to recover and transfer my funds. They have no record of my old law firm's plan.
    One more thought - try calling back the company on your old 401k statement and ask them to search for any information under your social security number. If they rolled you over to an IRA there and you have an account, that might be how you can find out. ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    I received a statement from Social Security titled Potential Private Pension Benefit Information. I actually received 2 of them. How do I get more information?
    Agreed. Contact the human resources or benefits department at Verizon....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    I need to know how to withdrawl my money. I cannot find a phone number to contact anyone.?
    Make sure when you call Mercy you have your information available on when you worked there. Any chance you have an account statement? If so, you could call the 800# on it for instructions on how to take a withdrawal....  (more)
    Answered Apr 2013
    What are the benefits of having life insurance tied to a 403B? Are the costs worth the insurance?
    I'm in total agreement with everything that was said prior. I feel like someone needs to play devil's advocate since this is a discussion site, so...What if you can't get life insurance because your health won't let you qualify? Maybe having the life insurance that goes along with the annuity to a...  (more)
    Answered Feb 2014
    How do I find information on fees associated with my company 401k?
    Each year you're required to get a participant fee disclosure for your account (the 404(a)(5) thingy the other answer referenced). It outlines the fees for your account, certain types of transactions (taking a loan, etc) as well as how much you're spending on investment management fees (quoted as a ...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2015
    I am currently 38 and do not have any retirement accounts yet. Which retirement plan will be best for me now?
    You can always change later! Just get started!! Lots of good answers and info here, so I'll just add one more thing. A lot of folks like the 401k because you can contribute so much more to them -- $18,000 in 2015 if under age 50. IRAs are limited to $5,500 in 2015 if under age 50. If you're playin...  (more)
    Answered Apr 2015
    How do I receive my money from my old 401k?
    If you can't find your old statement, you can also ask your former human resources contact for information as well. There is likely a form you will need to fill out and submit (sometimes over the phone) and it might require your former employer to sign off. Definitely don't forget about taxes and pe...  (more)
    Answered May 2013
    How do i access my account to change amont to be deposited into my plan each week?
    Hi Jeffrey, There are three ways you might need to change it. Ask your HR which one to be sure! You may have to change it...- through your payroll - through HR - or through the 401k provider.Of these three, they might be online or it might be through a paper form. Hope that helps!...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2015
    I'm a Former Employee of Advance Auto Parts from year 1997-99 I receive a 401K Plan S?
    It's also possible they changed the companies handling the pension. Definitely call the HR or benefits dept at Advance Auto Parts as suggested above....  (more)
    Answered Jun 2013
    Trying to access my 401k plan to edit how much of a % is coming out of my paycheck I don't know how to do it?
    There are three ways for how you might need to change it. Ask your HR which one to be sure! You may have to change it... 1) through your payroll 2) through HR or 3) through the 401k provider. Of these three, they might be online or it might be through a paper form. Hope that helps!...  (more)
    Answered Oct 2015
      *Answers are submitted by advisors without compensation.

      Licenses & Conducts

      U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
      • license status
      • disclosures
      • as of date
        Aug 4, 2019
      • license status
        Not registered
      • disclosures
      • as of date
        Aug 4, 2019
      Review the status and details of the disclosures noted above using the SEC's Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website:



      Last updated on Aug. 5, 2019
        • $85.0M
          Total Assets Under Management
        • $0
          Total Assets Under Advisement
        • 10
          number of clients
        • $8.5M
          Estimated Average Account Balance Per Client

      Retirement Planology, Inc.

      Last updated on March 1, 2019
        • $180.9M
          Total Assets Under Management
        • N/A
          Total Assets Under Advisement
        • 33
        • $5.5M
          Estimated Average Account Balance


      Fee Only Advisor
      This advisor has certified that they are compensated soley by their clients, and do not accept commisions or compensation of any kind based on the products they recommend.

      Types of Compensation Arrangements