The path to $1 billion and beyond

Today, we’re excited to share that Guideline’s assets under management have surpassed $1 billion. While we are not compensated based on the assets of our plans—and believe that industry norm is just one of many problems that needs solving—we’re proud to reach this milestone within three years of launching our modern, affordable 401(k) plan.

One of the most meaningful experiences our team gets to enjoy while building the Guideline platform is getting to know the 6,500+ growing businesses and their employees who we support in saving for retirement.
We have clients in every corner of the country, across more industries than we ever could have imagined. To celebrate today’s milestone, we decided to pull the veil back a bit and give you a window into what our community looks like.* Because whether it’s a franchise exercise studio, a chain of fresh lobster restaurants, a travel agency, a growing startup, or an orthodontics practice, the people we support are a diverse set of hard-working Americans building a retirement they can look forward to.

The most obvious piece of data to start with is just how much people on the Guideline platform are saving. According to Deloitte, the average saving rate for a 401(k) participant is 6% of their annual income. At Guideline, our participants save an average of 7.8%. We’re proud of this because it’s now clear that when you make saving easier, people will save more.  

Next, we wanted to see how saving behavior changes by age. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we identified a trend that indicates that the closer to retirement an individual is, the more they save.

On the Guideline platform, Traditionalists save a whopping 10.8% of their annual income, while Baby Boomers save 9.4%, Gen X save 7.9%, Millennials save 7.5%, and Gen Z save 7.6%, respectively.** Our hope is that these younger generations learn from their older counterparts and start saving more, sooner. This is a big focus area for us because the earlier in their career people start saving, the more potential there is for a comfortable retirement.

As I mentioned, our diverse set of clients are based all over the country, so we wanted to see how saving behavior varies by state. In the map above, you’ll see a breakdown of our top ten saving states, with the average saving rate noted for each. Congratulations to the hard working professionals with Guideline 401(k) plans in Maryland, who are saving on average more than 9.5% of their income annually.

So now that you know how saving varies by age and geographic location, we figured you may be curious how saving behavior changes depending on the industry someone works in. The image above shows the saving rate of our five highest-saving industries. Clearly people who work in Healthcare value the health of their retirement account.

We also thought it would be interesting to see what the age spread is on our platform, so we looked at the average age for both participants and the business owners who offer them a Guideline retirement plan. The average Guideline participant is 35 years old and the average business owner is 40.

So that’s what our path to $1 billion looked like. We commend these growing businesses for offering their employees such a powerful and important benefit. We also want to thank them for joining us on our mission to create a retirement Americans can look forward to.

Fast Company recently named Guideline one of the World’s Most Innovative Companies, an accolade we share with all of the growing businesses offering a Guideline retirement plan. Because from our perspective, what could be more innovative than choosing to protect the future of those who work for you?

We continue to grow at a very exciting rate. Over the course of the next few quarters, we’ll be continuing to fine tune our platform and extending our set of features and platform partners to cater to the needs of businesses of all sizes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: we’re just getting started. Here’s to the next billion.

By the way, we’re hiring.


To study participants’ saving behaviors, we analyzed 12,810 participants who participated in employer-sponsored Guideline 401(k) plans from January 2018 through December 2018. As a key metric to measure their saving behaviors, we used saving rate, defined as the fraction of a participant’s gross pay deferred in the plan. Participant and owner ages were calculated based on participants and business owners who were Guideline clients as of December 31, 2018.

**We based age generations on data provided by Pew Research. Pew defines Traditionalists as those born before 1945, Baby Boomers as those born between 1946 and 1964, Gen X as those born between 1965 and 1980, Millennials as those born between 1981 and 1996, and Gen Z as those born after 1997.