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Safe Harbor

Take care of
your retirement
+ your team

A Safe Harbor 401(k) can boost savings and reduce administrative work.

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Safe Harbor, explained

Unlike traditional 401(k) plans, Safe Harbor 401(k) plans get certain “safe harbor” protections and automatically satisfy most IRS nondiscrimination tests. In exchange, companies must contribute to their employees’ 401(k) accounts.

All in all, Safe Harbor plans can mean fewer headaches for small business owners and more savings for everyone.

  • Exempt from most IRS nondiscrimination testing

  • Requires a company contribution

Ace your compliance tests

Nondiscrimination testing is required by the IRS to help ensure that 401(k) plans benefit both owners and employees. But even the most well-intentioned business owner can run into trouble when sponsoring a 401(k) plan. An owner contributing too much or employees contributing too little can result in a failed test and expensive corrections.

Safe Harbor plans automatically satisfy most IRS nondiscrimination tests and help avoid the consequences of failure.

A benefit for employers
and employees

  • risk assessment

    Owners can max out their personal 401(k)

    With less to worry about when it comes to nondiscrimination tests, owners and other highly compensated employees can truly max out their deferrals.

  • Autopilot

    Employees get a savings boost

    Since Safe Harbor plans require a company contribution, employees get a little extra savings.


Open a new plan by
August 20 to start
saving this year

Timeline for new 401(k) plans

  • Aug



    Last day to set up a Safe Harbor 401(k) plan with Guideline

  • Sep



    30-day notice sent to employees

  • Oct



    Your Safe Harbor 401(k) plan is live

Timeline for existing 401(k) plans

  • Nov



    Last day to add Safe Harbor matching provisions to your 401(k) with Guideline

  • Dec



    30-day notice sent to employees

  • Jan


    Safe Harbor matching provision takes effect for 2022

pricing background

401(k) plans for small businesses, and all businesses

Safe Harbor is available on all of our plans, so you can get the pricing plan
that works for you. Learn more about our fees and services.



+ $8 per active participant

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



+ $8 per active participant

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



+ $8 per active participant

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

If you’re starting a new 401(k) Plan, you may be eligible to receive up to $16,500 in tax credits over three years to offset plan administration costs.

See if you’re eligible

We handle the
regulatory stuff

See everything we provide
  • Government filing

    Government filing

    We prepare annual reports for no extra fee, including Forms 5500 and 1099-R.

  • Investment Security

    Fiduciary services

    We serve as your 3(38) investment manager and 3(16) plan administrator.

Want more details?

Our 2021 Safe Harbor Guide covers everything from matching options to plan requirements to key deadlines.

Read the Guide

Let’s get started

Open a new Safe Harbor 401(k) and get plan fees waived for 1 month. Offer ends August 20, 2021.

Get started

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