Retirement Plan Services


Simple Clean & Fee Only

PHD Consulting offers a variety of services to help the employer sponsor their retirement plan, including designing and building the retirement plan, evaluating and bench-marking an existing plan, or serving in an ongoing fiduciary capacity as an adviser. And PHD. Consulting can design, build, implement, and facilitate the employer’s financial wellness program (whether we advise on the retirement plan or not)

Advisor on the Plan

Serving in an ongoing fashion as either the consultant or advisor to the retirement plan.

Financial Wellness

Helping employees manage their entire financial picture and win the battle with debt. 

Request for Proposal

We can run your request for proposal (RFP) for you, let us do the heavy lifting.

Fiduciary & Non-fiduciary Services

What we typically offer as part of our comprehensive services, only on an A la carte basis.

Consultation for Schools

Our firm specializes in working with colleges and universities that offer 403(b) plans for their employees.


Book the founder and CEO of PHD, Troy Redstone, to speak at your next event.

Service Details

Most often our clients hire us in some type of ongoing capacity, where we are either the consultant or advisor to the retirement plan.

Serving in an ongoing fashion like this allows us to assume a co-fiduciary role with the retirement plan and help manage the fiduciary risk for the employer who sponsors the plan.

As part of an ongoing engagement, we will develop a customized Health & Wellness System for each client’s retirement plan.

The Health & Wellness System includes the complete Documentable & Defensible Due Diligence Process; a Service Agreement and Fee Disclosure Report; a Plan Health Analysis with a Plan Performance Scorecard and a Plan Effectiveness Rating; a customized Investment Policy Statement and Education Policy Statement; and a customized version of our very own Disclosure Policy Statement.

Financial Wellness is the new buzz word … but what does it really mean? It’s more than just Financial Literacy. It’s certainly more than just Retirement Education. It starts with proper stewardship, knowing how to master your money (rather than having it master you). It’s about helping employees manage their entire financial picture and win the battle with debt. 

Increasingly the retirement plan industry is trying to provide solutions for the epidemic of Financial Illiteracy in America. The problem is that the solutions can’t be found within the retirement industry.

  • According to the Wall Street Journal, 70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
  • According to U.S. Census Bureau, 24% of the average paycheck goes towards consumer debt.

Retirement plan service providers and advisors can’t fix the problem. Their solutions start with putting more money in the retirement plan. But perhaps the best advice is to eliminate debt rather than saving more, posing a conflict of interest between the retirement plan industry and financial wellness.

At PHD. Retirement Consulting, we were teaching and practicing Financial Wellness before it was the latest fad; we were involved in Behavioral Finance and Financial Wellness even before we were involved in fixing retirement plans. It’s in our DNA!

We use the principals of Financial Peace University and Smart Dollar to offer Financial Wellness solutions. Some employers hire PHD. Consulting to manage both the retirement plan as well as the financial wellness plan. But it is also possible to hire our team to manage just the financial wellness program even if we don’t manage the retirement plan.

  • The Retirement Plan is governed by the Investment Policy Statement, undergirded by Retirement Education, and offered to every Plan Participant. An employer should hire a Professional Retirement Plan Advisor to manage this piece of their benefits package.
  • The Financial Wellness Plan is governed by the Education Policy Statement, undergirded by Financial Education, and offered to every employee, whether they’re in the retirement plan or not. And an employer should hire a Financial Wellness Consultant to manage this piece of their benefits package.

In rare cases the Professional Retirement Plan Advisor and the Financial Wellness Consultant are the same, but sometimes the advisor lacks this specialization and often there are inherent conflicts of interest (as referenced above).

Let us know if you need help designing or implementing a Financial Wellness Program. It is not necessary that we already work with your retirement plan. And we can run an ROI report to demonstrate the efficacy of investing in wellness at your workplace. 

Periodically employers ask us to help administer an RFP process (Request for Proposal).

We can facilitate a limited-scope RFP

  • We write the RFP
  • We evaluate the responses
  • We deliver a complete analysis to the trustees with recommended finalists
  • We interview the Finalists
  • We make recommendations to the trustees about which provider to hire

We can also facilitate a full RFP where we interview service providers and consultants

  • Again we write and administer the RFP
  • We facilitate the interviews and make recommendations
  • If a full RFP is requested we will evaluate the candidates but excuse our own team from consideration for ongoing advisory services.

There are several different versions of the RFP process, whether it’s a limited-scope RFP or a full RFP.

The Silver RFP Process is the route to take if the committee has already decided to move the plan to a new service provider because it involves no analysis of the current plan.

The Gold RFP Process involves an analysis of the current plan and includes a recommendation to the committee about which service provider to hire.

The Platinum RFP Process involves a deeper analysis of the current plan as well as a formal engagement with independent ERISA counsel. This third process is recommended if there are any concerns about the compliance of the current plan.

Other Fiduciary and non-Fiduciary Services

At times an employer engages with our team on a limited-scope project basis. For instance, we might be hired to conduct a benchmarking study rather than an RFP when there is no intention of changing service providers. At other times an employer might hire our team to offer just one of the services we would normally offer as part of our comprehensive services when serving as the ongoing advisor to the plan, like participant education for the employees. Listed below are the two most common project engagements but anything that we typically offer as part of our comprehensive services could potentially be done on an A la carte basis for a flat fee. Just ask.


Most large employers now have a Wellness Program of some type, and many are beginning to couple a Financial Wellness component to a holistic Wellness Program. Our firm specializes in building, administering and measuring the success of Financial Wellness programs. In fact, we were doing this before many in the industry even had a name of it. What we call “Retirement Education” has always involved more than just saving in the 401(k) plan. The PHD. approach is more holistic. We believe that we need to first help employees be good stewards of what they have to alleviate the financial stress in the workplace. We discuss building an emergency fund and eliminating debt before we even mention saving in the retirement plan. And taking a more consultative approach, we understand that sometimes the best savings plan for employees is to defer the amount up to the company match, then maxing out the HSA since it can provide triple tax savings, and then maxing out the 401(k) or 403(b) with any additional money.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, they estimate that “By expanding workplace wellness to include the financial health of employees, businesses could recover up to $3 for every dollar spent on Financial Wellness.” Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, said “The number one problem in today’s generation and economy is the lack of financial literacy.”

And that’s exactly what the PHD. approach addresses. Whether Financial Literacy is incorporated as part of the ongoing retirement education plan or offered separately as a stand alone seminar or series of workshops, our aim is to help Americans be smarter with their money. The founder of PHD. is one of the first retirement plan consultants in the industry to also be a Certified Financial Education Instructor through the National Financial Educators Council and several of the facilitators of our Financial Wellness Workshops are also certified and trained to deliver the courses through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University.


Periodically clients hire us to simply benchmark or evaluate their Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA) offering. This is particularly important as more retirement plans increasingly utilize auto-enrollment features which enroll employees without any investment or deferral elections. In the absence of an actual election by the plan participant, the plan sponsor can default them into a portfolio based on their age and the year in which they might reasonably expect to retire. Guidance from the Department of Labor (February, 2013) indicates that an employer should be evaluating these investment alternatives just as rigorously if not more so than other investments in the core fund lineup. Ironically, because employees are defaulted into these investment portfolios it is often where the majority of the plan assets reside, but because the portfolios are managed by the service provider that takes care of the recordkeeping for that particular plan, they may come under the least amount of scrutiny. Our team can help you determine if you are using the appropriate QDIAs for your retirement plan and make recommendations about which QDIA to use.

Our firm specializes in working with colleges and universities that offer 403(b) plans for their employees. Sometimes the school needs to improve the service for either the trustees of the plan or the plan participants. At other times the school needs to improve the investments, either refreshing the fund options to reflect better performance and/or refreshing the fund options with investments that reflect the values of the college. In most cases, the school is trying to manage all of the fiduciary liability themselves and exposing their institution to unncessary risk.

Some recordkeeping service providers offer support services for the trustee of the retirement plan and/or the participants of the retirement plan, if the plan assets are large enough to warrant that higher tier of service. But if the plan assets fall below that mark (generally $100MM) the school is underserved. In most cases they receive little help with plan design and very little help with their fiduciary responsibilities.

At times we have discovered that church-sponsored colleges are offering investments that do not reflect the core values of their school. They may or may not offer a Socially Responsible Investment (SRI) but few offer a Biblically Responsible Investment (BRI). This means that the investment options their employees have to choose from are in conflict with the doctrinal statements of the university. We strongly believe that our clients should not have to sacrifice performance or compromise their values to meet their investment needs. BRI funds invest in companies that demonstrate values and business practices that are ethical and sustainable. The assets in SRI/BRI alternatives now represent roughly 10% of all assets under professional management in the U.S., as tracked by Thomas Reuters Nelson. The popularity has increased as research showed that performance did not have to be compromised to follow value-based investing. The volatility and risk-adjusted measurements are comparable to broad market indexes, according to a study conducted by TIAA-CREF, based on the Calvert Social Index.

The bottom line is that a school doesn’t have to compromise its values for performance or compromise top performance for its values. We call this the Double Bottom Line. And yet very few church-sponsored schools have investments that would pass the Biblically Responsible Investment Institute’s 11-point screening process.

Ironically, some church-sponsored schools have “opted in” to ERISA by filing Form 5500s and conducting an expensive audit when their plans should be non-ERISA as a Qualified Church Controlled Organization (QCCO). Our team has worked successfully to help colleges re-establish their QCCO status, saving them considerable money and resources.

And at times improving services, changing investments, and building a Defensible Due Diligence Process to provide real fiduciary support does NOT require ANY changes in the recordkeeping service provider. Our firm can renovate the plan without having to decontruct it and re-build it with another provider.

Speaking Engagements

Troy speaks on a variety of topics related to money and finances and employees and employee benefits.

  • Retirement Plans made simple
  • Making the Workplace Work again
  • How do we turn our offices into communities?
  • See all topics

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(888) 123-4562


2345 Divi St
San Francisco, CA 94222


Open Hours

Mon:10am – 5pm
Tue: 10am – 5pm
Wed: Closed
Thur: 10am – 5pm
Fri: 10am – 3pm
Sat: 10am – 3pm 
Sun: Closed

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