/ 401(k) Basics

The 401(k) Provider Checklist: How to Choose a Great Plan

Before we dive in, give yourself a pat on the back. Shopping for a 401(k) provider means you’re thinking about giving your employees a benefit they crave. Recent research shows that less than half of American families have any retirement savings at all, and only 45% of small businesses offer employees a retirement plan.

By offering a great 401(k) plan, you’ll help your employees — and yourself — save more for retirement. But giving employees this benefit does mean you’ll have a few extra responsibilities:

401k company duties provided

Getting help from a 401(k) provider

The good news: Working with a 401(k) provider means you can take most (or all) of the responsibilities listed above off of your to-do list. The bad news: There are a lot of little details to consider when you’re shopping for a provider. Below, we’ve put together a detailed checklist that breaks it all down.


At a high level, these are the key questions you should keep in mind:

  • What services does each vendor 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?

The 401(k) provider checklist

Here are specific questions to ask the 401(k) providers you’re considering.

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

Checklist followup with Guideline