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The 401(k) checklist: tips for choosing the best 401(k) provider

The 401(k) checklist: tips for choosing the best 401(k) provider

Guideline Team

Before we dive in, give yourself a pat on the back. Shopping for a 401(k) provider means you’re thinking about your employees and helping to secure their financial future. Research shows that more than half of Americans say they don't have enough for retirement. And by offering a great 401(k) plan, you’ll be giving your employees — and yourself — a way to save for the future.  

That being said, giving employees this benefit does mean you’ll have a few additional responsibilities to consider:

Plan design and setup: Document your plan, coordinate contributions with your payroll provider and custodian, and act as a fiduciary.

Enrollment and education: Explain your plan to employees, educate them on investment options and give them timely notice of plan changes.

Administration and recordkeeping: Deduct contributions from payroll and deposit them with the custodian. Make employer contributions, and keep track of transactions.

Compliance and reporting: File IRS Form 5500 and complete compliance testing annually.

Investment management: Choose a provider and a selection of investments. investments should be considered with the best interests of employees in mind.

Consider help from a 401(k) provider

The list of responsibilities is pretty long, which is where 401(k) companies come in. They can help with a lot of the heavy lifting. And the very best 401(k) providers aim to take most (or all) of these responsibilities off your to-do list.

When shopping for a 401(k) company provider, there are a lot of little details to consider. At a high level, these are some key questions you may want to consider when looking for the best 401(k) provider for your business:

  • What services do they offer?
  • Which services are included in the basic fee? Which services are extra? And are there any additional fees that come up annually, in addition to the base fees?
  • What fees are employees expected to pay?
  • Are there diversified investment options?
  • Do they have good customer service to help employees set up their plan?

The 401(k) provider checklist

To help you find the best 401(k) provider we’ve put together a detailed checklist of specific questions to ask the 401(k) providers you’re considering. To help you get started, we’ve already filled out Guideline’s answers.

Checklist for a new 401(k)

Want to see how Guideline can help you take better care of your team? Check us out.

Guideline affordable 401(k) plans

This information is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for specific tax, legal and/or financial advice that considers all relevant facts and circumstances.  You are advised to consult a qualified financial adviser or tax professional before relying on the information provided.