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Guideline logo


Save money while saving money

In an industry full of complicated pricing and excessive fees, we offer affordable 401(k) plans with no transaction fees

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Guideline pricing

See the fees you won’t be paying

We use technology to our advantage to automate many 401(k) administrative tasks. Those that can’t be automated, are handled by our team of account specialists. This allows us to keep monthly prices low while eliminating transaction fees. So you can create a roadmap to retirement and minimize fees along the way.

  • No rollover fees

  • No loan fees

  • No distribution fees

  • No plan termination fees

  • No 5500 prep fees

Cost for employers

Get the 401(k) pricing plan that works for you



+ $8 per active participant

A seamless Safe Harbor 401(k) for small businesses that want to make an employer contribution.

Payroll integration with Gusto, QuickBooks Online, and 15+ other providers.

Automated recordkeeping, plan admin, and employee onboarding.

We serve as your 3(38) and 3(16) fiduciary and handle certain IRS and DOL reporting and filings.

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+ $8 per active participant

A 401(k) for businesses that want the flexibility to pick and choose features to meet their goals.

Everything in our Core plan, plus:

Flexibility to open a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan or traditional 401(k) plan.

Add features like profit sharing and vesting schedules.

We conduct additional IRS nondiscrimination testing for traditional plans.

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+ $8 per active participant

Our most customizable 401(k) for business owners who want to maximize savings and receive dedicated support.

Everything in our Flex plan, plus:

Custom features like new comparability profit sharing.

Dedicated onboarding specialist and Client Relationship Manager.

Support for controlled group plans.

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Does your business currently have a 401(k)?

All existing 401(k) plan transfers must open a Max plan and maintain it for at least one year before becoming eligible to switch to a different pricing plan.

Estimate your plan costs

If you’re starting a new 401(k), your small business may be eligible to receive up to $16,500 in tax credits over the plan’s first three years to help offset plan costs.



per year

That comes out to 67¢ a month for every $10,000 saved.

Read more about our fees

Retirement plans that put people first

  • Low-cost funds

    The funds in our managed portfolios are from low-cost providers like Vanguard.

  • A guiding hand

    We offer investment portfolio recommendations, financial education, and live customer support.

  • Intelligent investing

    All of our investment portfolios rebalance automatically to help you stay on track.

  • Simple management

    Our modern dashboard lets you view your savings and make updates at any time.


Customer satisfaction score

Join 30,000+ companies that have chosen to save with Guideline

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Everything we do helps you do more

  • Plan Management

    • 3(16) plan administrator

    • Recordkeeping

    • Annual compliance testing

    • Employee & employer dashboards

    • Detailed employee roster

    • 360 payroll integration

  • Ongoing support

    • Employee onboarding

    • Support for any payroll provider

    • Phone & email support

    • Help center and video library

    • Self-serve reports

    • Unlimited Contribution Changes

    • Loans & hardship withdrawals

  • Filing and reporting

    • Form 5500

    • Form 1099-R

    • Form 8955-SSA

  • Investment management

    • 3(38) investment manager

    • Professionally managed portfolios

    • Low-cost mutual funds

    • Automatic rebalancing

    • Unlimited contribution changes

    • Loans & hardship withdrawals

  • Plan design features

    • Safe Harbor

    • Employer contributions

    • Owner participation


  • Flex

    Plan features

    • Vesting schedules

    • Profit sharing

    • Optional employer contributions

  • Max

    Plan features

    • New comparability profit sharing

    • Dedicated Client Relationship Manager

    • Customizable financial & billing reports

Frequently asked questions

What fees do employers pay?

Employers pay a flat monthly base fee and a flat monthly participant fee based on the number of participants in the plan for plan administration. In addition, if an employer is participating in the plan, his or her account will also be charged, as a 401(k) plan participant, a 0.08% account fee on assets under management. Learn more.

When do employers start getting invoiced?

Monthly payments aren’t due until after your plan is active and the first contributions have been made.

What fees do active employees pay?

Active employees pay a 0.08% account fee based on their account assets. Guideline deducts this fee on a monthly basis based on the month-end account balance. This fraction of a percentage comes out to about 67¢ a month for every $10,000 saved, and allows us to remove transaction fees. Participants will also be charged fund expense ratios by the mutual funds in which they invest. Expense ratios are reflected in the cost of the fund. For a list of expense ratios visit

What happens when an employee leaves my company?

You are only responsible to pay the monthly base fee for active employees who are currently employed by your company and are participating in the 401(k) plan. When an employee leaves your company, they will be responsible for any charges on the account.

How are former employees’ accounts charged?

Former employees who participate in your 401(k) plan are charged a $4 monthly base fee after an initial 90-day grace period following termination of employment, or after the end of the blackout period if the retirement plan was recently transferred to Guideline from another 401(k) provider. The monthly account base fee is deducted from the terminated 401(k) plan participant’s account for any month during which the month-end account balance is greater than $0. Former employees will continue to pay the 0.08% account fee based on their account assets and the fund expense ratios by the mutual funds in which they invest. Expense ratios are reflected in the cost of the fund. For a list of expense ratios visit

What does the 0.08% account fee cover?

This fee is intended in part to offset maintenance fees which can include costs like custodian fees, among others.

What fees have you removed and why?

We’ve heard from customers that transaction fees are a source of frustration because they often occur at a time of financial hardship. By charging a 0.08% account fee, we are able to remove transaction fees, including, but not limited to: rollover fees, distribution fees, loan application fees, loan maintenance fees, QDRO fees, check stop payment fees, expedited mail fees, and plan termination fees. Learn more

What kind of customer support and education does Guideline provide?

From opening an account to distributing funds, we support employees and employers via phone and email—our CSAT score is 84%. We also offer a video library, a detailed knowledge center, and conduct educational participant webinars.

How much does it cost to terminate the plan?

We don’t charge a termination fee if you decide to terminate your Guideline 401(k) plan.

Can I use a credit card to pay for the monthly base cost?

Guideline accepts credit cards as a payment method for your monthly plan billing. You can set this up from the Plan Settings page once you’ve logged in to See our Help Center for more information on how to set this up.

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