Congratulations on setting up your small business!
It is undoubtedly a hurdle to create something out of nothing. With that being said, you need to consider a lot of things. The foremost of this should be your employees’ welfare.
With your limited budget, it may be not feasible for you to set up a pension plan. Although this is the case, you can still set up a 401k plan. This company-sponsored retirement plan is funded by the employee himself, with the contribution being deduced through payroll withholding. As an employer, it is your part to match your workers’ contributions.
What’s great about this investment is that it can promote employee retention, even if your enterprise is not that big as the others. After all, a Forbes report has stated that 62% of workers stay with a certain company because of its retirement benefits.
Yes, even if you are not paying as much as your competitor, you can keep your good workers by giving them a good retirement plan.
With that being said, you should make it a point to help your employees achieve their dreams of aging comfortably with the help of a small business 401k plan.
Selecting the Best 401k Plans
There are a lot of companies that offer 401k plans for small businesses. If you want to get the best benefits possible, then you should consider these factors when selecting a small business 401k plan:
1. Types of Plan
Small business 401k plans usually need to undergo nondiscrimination testing so it won’t be more favorable to highly-compensated workers.
Based on this testing, several options available for small businesses:
This plan has multiple options for employers. You can make payments – or opt not to. You can also match a part of the employee’s contribution, which is subject to a vesting period. While it is known for being flexible, a traditional plan requires annual nondiscrimination testing.
b. Small Harbor Plan
If you want to avoid the annual testing, then you should go for a plan that follows certain standards – something that safe harbor plans have.
As the most popular plan for small businesses, it requires employers to immediately contribute on behalf of its vesting workers.
The funds are categorized are as follows:
Employees need to contribute an amount of at least 3% of the worker’s salary, even if he or she doesn’t make self-contributions.
This is where employers fully match up to 3% of the worker’s contributions. The company also needs to match an additional 2% of the employee’s salary.
It involves the 100% matching of the employee’s contributions without exceeding 6% of his or her salary.
c. SIMPLE Plan
Also known as the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, it is best for businesses with less than 100 workers. While this requires employers to make contributions, it is not subject to nondiscrimination testing.
2. Affordable Fees
A small business and its employees will find it hard to sustain 401k plans with high investment fees. Apart from this, you also need to mind the other fees. These include the cost of setup, administration, and mutual funds. You also have to be careful with the other fees as they can blow up in time.
With that being said, it’s best to go with a company with low investment fees, such as a low-fee passive index fund.
3. Investment Options
With 401k plans, it is the more, the merrier. You don’t want to be limited with just 1 or 2 options. It’s best to go with a company that has a wide variety of investment choices, including low-cost index fund options.
Even if the plan has all the features your employees could ever want – and more – it wouldn’t matter if it’s not user-friendly. As such, you need to pick a plan that allows you to have a sneak peek of your contributions – and make necessary changes as needed.
A user-friendly platform is not just for the workers. As for the employers, this would keep them on track with federal regulations.
5. Payroll Platform Integrations
Some employees prefer to have their 401k contributions deducted from their payrolls. To save yourself and your workers the headache of making manual computations, go for plans that integrate well with payroll platforms.
With that being said, look for a program that you can easily connect with tools such as JetPay, Heartland, Paypro, Paylocity, or PC Payroll.
6. Good Record Keeping
Even if you have a small company, you might find it confusing to go over your employees’ contributions. To prevent any problems that may result from these, you need to go with a company that has a good track of record keeping. It doesn’t hurt to ask how it stores the records.
For best results, choose a provider that has back-up data saving plans. The last thing you want is to fail your employee because the company lost its 401k files.
7. Financial Advice
Small businesses don’t have enough funding to seek the help of a financial advisor. To make the most out of the plan’s benefits, then you should pick a company that offers personalized advice. Financial guidance is usually based on the worker’s salary, address, preferred age of retirement, and other retirement accounts.
Top 12 Small Business 401k Plans
For more than 70 years, ADP has provided companies with comprehensive and effective business solutions. As one of Fortune Magazine’s most admired companies, it has been a top choice for small businesses in search of 401k plans.
ADP is all about making the retirement process better and easier. As for employers, ADP can provide the solutions that best suit the company. With the help of ADP’s guidance and expertise, you can decide on the best plan design for your business.
In terms of integration, ADP’s 401k plan blends well with the ADP payroll client. With its SmartSync Comprehensive Plan automation, it minimizes work by eliminating the need for manual entry. It also comes with less compliance risk, ensuring better data accuracy.
ADP can also work with your company to help minimize the investment fiduciary burden. For businesses with advisors, it offers co-investment managerial functions through Mesirow Financial. For those without, ADP can provide the necessary services through the ADP Strategic Plan Services LLC.
As for the employees, ADP offers a variety of unbiased funds, as the company has no investment bias per se.
In terms of usability, the company has a mobile app that comes with many features such as the MyADP Retirement Snapshot Calculator. With the help of this tool, participants are given an estimate of their retirement savings. With its targeted messaging and personalized questions, customers are updated with all the financial information they need.
ADP’s 401k plan fees are as follows:
- Base recording fee – $144 per month
- 5500 Preparation fee – $22.50 per month
- Trustee fee – $41.67 per month
- Participant fee
- 1 to 100 participants – $3.51 each
- 101 to 350 participants – $2.48 each
- 351+ participants – $2.03 each
- As an independent record keeper, ADP is not biased towards any company. This nature helps it provide neutral investment choices for its wide base of clientele.
- ADP comes with an app that offers a comprehensive view of the user’s 401k plan.
- The plan can be integrated easily with ADP’s payroll system.
- ADP does not have a third-party administrator.
- Non-ADP payroll users may have issues with the program’s integration features.
2. Capital Group – American Funds
Capital Group is a global investment manager that has been in operation for 90 years. One of its products is American Funds, which is all about providing businesses with the best investment options possible.
Participants get to choose from any of these 2 investment options:
- American Funds Portfolio Series – This objective-based program follows the user’s goals in terms of income, growth, and preservation.
- Individual Mutual Funds – As a customized plan, this covers American funds that fit the user’s needs or preferences.
In terms of participant contributions, employees can choose between traditional or Roth contributions. Traditional comes with taxes that are paid after withdrawal, while the Roth 401k collects money after taxes have been levied.
Employers, on the other hand, can match the entire or partial amount of their employees’ contributions. You could do this discreetly as well.
American Fund’s fees are as follows:
- Installation fee: $500
- Annual recordkeeping fees: $500 to $750 plus $20 per participant
- Per capita admin fees: average of $502.44
- All-in fees: about 1.56%
- American Funds provides a wide variety of investment options for every type of client.
- The company offers investment advice, especially if funds come from a broker.
- Most of the American Funds’ administration fees come from an ‘indirect fee’ called revenue sharing.
- It does not provide index funds, sector funds, or exchange-traded fund options.
3. Charles Schwab
The Charles Schwab company is one of the enterprises that offer 401k plans for businesses, regardless of scope or size. Apart from giving employers many tax benefits, such plans give workers bigger salary deferrals as well.
The company specializes in 401k retirement plans that are highly suitable for small businesses. This is especially the case for employees in search of good salary deferral rates. Most companies can join, as long as its employees are 21 years of age – and have worked for over 1,000 hours in the preceding year.
What’s great about the Charles Schwab 401k plan is that it can help business owners attain good tax benefits. After all, the workers’ contributions are in pre-taxed amounts. As a result, taxation is deferred for the growing earnings.
The Charles Schwab Small Retirement Plan’s opening and maintenance fees and account minimums are free of charge. Although this is the case, some fees may apply for fund expenses and brokerage services, among many others.
- Charles Schwab offers a vast amount of funding options.
- As mentioned, you don’t have to pay any fees for opening or maintaining a Charles Schwab account.
- Stock and ETF trades are commission-free as well.
Charles Schwab has a low default rate for cash sweeping.
4. Employee Fiduciary
Employee Fiduciary takes pride in being America’s low-cost 401k plan provider. It offers small business 401k plans that come with affordable fees and various investment choices. Most importantly, it provides quality service that is comparable to that of bigger enterprises.
The company is known for its brand of personal care, as it can help businesses from the setup to the account maintenance process. It has a wide variety of investments – with 30,000 share classes from 377 fund groups. With that being said, users get to choose from exchange-traded funds, index funds, vanguards, and other low-cost options.
What’s great about Employee Fiduciary is that it can help businesses maximize tax credits. Since the government can subsidize as much as 50% of startup costs, the company can assist you in getting as much as $16,500 in tax breaks.
Employee Fiduciary also offers consultation services so employers learn about the process, features, and contribution schemes, to name a few.
After choosing the plan design, the company proceeds with helping employers with the documentations needed. Employee Fiduciary administrators can also help in the preparation of plan documents, enrollment materials, and web access files. It also provides training on the proper uploading of contribution data.
Following setup, Employee Fiduciary can proceed with taking care of the company’s other needs. After all, it offers third party administration and record keeping services.
The Employee Fiduciary 401k plan comes with an establishment fee of $500 for new plans and $1,000 for existing account holders. There is an annual base fee of $1,500, and a 0.08% custody fee for plan assets.
- The company is specially designed for small businesses.
- Employee Fiduciary has no hidden fees as it does not observe revenue sharing.
- Compared to other companies, Employee Fiduciary boasts of has lower costs.
- The company’s fee schedule is very transparent.
- Employee Fiduciary is limited to business 401k plans as it is not a full-service financial company.
- Its investment options are quite limited.
5. Edward Jones
The Edward Jones company takes pride in helping businesses find the best plans for their employees. For smaller industries, it offers a foolproof 401k plan. With its assistance, employers don’t have to worry about record-keeping, plan maintenance, IRS form 5500 filling, compliance, and necessary testing.
With the Edward Jones 401k plan, employees get to defer part of their wages for their retirement funds. The best options are made available, as they can choose from the traditional type or the Roth 401k.
Similarly, employers are provided with options that are sustainable for the business. They get to choose when and how much to contribute.
To achieve the 401k plan’s benefits, employers must accomplish the requirements before the end of the year. More importantly, salary deposits must be wired before the 15th of the month. Employer contributions, on the other hand, may be given until the due date of tax filing.
The Account fee costs $40 a year. This does not include the other fees for stocks (2%), IRAs ($40 annual fee), account types, and account protection.
- Edward Jones has many local offices, so you could easily visit one should you have any questions or concerns.
- The company, which has been of service for 90 years, is one of the most reputable firms in the market.
- The fees are quite expensive for portfolios lower than $2.5 million.
- It does not provide financial advice regarding the use of junk bonds or penny stocks.
6. Merrill Edge
Merrill Edge is a Bank of America company that offers a handful of investments, including bonds, stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, to name a few.
One of its service offerings is a 401k plan for small businesses. By setting this up, Merrill Edge can help you retain the best and brightest of your employees. After all, a survey has shown that 88% of workers view retirement plans as highly beneficial.
For the employer’s part, a Merrill Edge 401k plan can lead to tax breaks. This is especially the case if this is your first 401k plan for your business of fewer than 100 employees. If you meet the said standards, you may be entitled to a $5,000 tax credit for 3 years.
Should you find the act of 401k retirement planning for your employees time-consuming, you can always seek the help of Merrill Edge’s Plan Administrators Inc. They can help you administer the plans and organize records as necessary.
As for the employees, Merrill Edge also provides sound investment advice. With the help of Morningstar Investment Management LLC, they can choose from a variety of funds and portfolios that best suit their needs.
Forgetting things is the least of your worries with this company as well. With Plan Administrator’s CoPilot alerts, you and your employees are informed with important notifications regarding the retirement planning process.
Merrill Edge’s small business 401k fees are as follows:
- One-time setup fee – $390
- Monthly administration cost – $90
- Monthly recordkeeping fee – $4 per participant
- Annual asset-based cost – 0.52% per participant
- Merrill Edge is integrated with the Bank of America.
- The company boasts of good third-party research.
Fewer securities are offered for ‘advanced’ traders.
7. Betterment for Business
Betterment for Business offers a retail platform that hopes to make investing and fiduciary activities easier. One of its prime offers is its 401k plan, which can help boost up businesses – as well as their employees.
The company offers traditional and Roth 401k, giving employees the option to choose the best scheme for their needs. With the help of a personalized retirement plan, clients get the best advice on how much to save – and what accounts they should use. These can help clients set more saving goals for the future.
Betterment for Business also comes with automatic enrollment, so all the workers get to start on their 401k plans right away. These accounts are easily accessible through the company’s dashboard, which has all the vital information for retirement savings.
As for business owners, Betterment for Business offers a safe harbor 401k that eliminates the need for compliance testing. With its profit sharing, employer contributions can remain flexible.
Betterment for Business fees for employers include an annual base fee of $1,500 and a monthly fee of $6 per worker. For example, a small business owner with 20 employees will need to pay $2,940 every year.
As for the employees, the annual management fee will set them back 25 basis points. So for an employee with $10,000 in assets, the yearly cost is about $25.
- Betterment for Business offers a variety of investment options.
- With the help of fractional shares, the company ensures that all your funds are invested.
- It comes with a dashboard that is fairly easy to use.
Compared to other companies, Betterment for Business has no direct indexing feature.
8. Sharebuilder 401k
Sharebuilder 401k is all about lowering retirement costs – so you end up saving more in the future. While it has only been founded in 2005, it has helped 6,500 businesses build economical 401k plans.
Sharebuilder 401k offers 4 plan types. Self-employed bosses can take advantage of the solo 401k that can help them save up to $57,000 a year.
The most popular choice continues to be Sharebuilder 401k’s safe harbor plans. After all, this can help improve employer or employee savings without the usual fuss. For one, this is not subject to IRS nondiscrimination testing. In terms of employer matching, it usually comes at a rate of 3% to 4%.
There’s also the traditional 401k plan, which permits employers to make vesting and eligibility rules per worker loyalty. At the same time, this allows bosses to match the contribution on a specified schedule. This plan is recommended for enterprises with high seasonal cash flows, as well as those with a high degree of worker turnover.
Another option is advanced profit sharing. It’s also tax-deductible and can be used together with a safe harbor 401k plan.
Whatever plan you pick, you get to enjoy the company’s features, which include:
- Model portfolios that can help the participant choose the best investment
- Qualified default investment alternatives, where the money is placed in an appropriate portfolio
- Auto-rebalancing, where users can auto-rebalance each of their assets
- Videos and tools for guidance and investment education
Set-up fees range from $150 to $750. Administration costs vary from $25 to $110.
What’s great about Sharebuilder 401k is that it comes with discounts for automatic pricing. For example, a business with 11-25 participants and assets of less than $499,000 only need to pay $145 for monthly administration and 0.75% for investment management. The administration fee is also waived for assets ranging from $5 million to less than $12 million.
- Sharebuilder 401k plans integrate easily with most payroll providers.
- It allows for easy transfer from one 401k account to the next.
- The company has a good and responsive customer support team.
No mobile app is available for use.
9. Fidelity Workplace Services
Fidelity’s 401k plan for small businesses is all about providing good benefits for your workers. After all, it is one of the best ways to attract new recruits – as well as retain your hardworking employees. At the same time, this plan can provide you with a lot of tax advantages.
Fidelity’s 401k plan is best for private and public businesses with more than 20 employees. For one, the plan is very flexible in design. It also comes with a variety of mutual fund choices. Usability is another one of its great features, as you can easily access your account data by using the NetBenefits platform.
The benefits of this plan go beyond the tax-deferred growth for employees. Employers, for one, get to join in matching contributions or participant loans.
Apart from facilitating funds, Fidelity offers administrative support as well. Its consultants can help with IRS form 500 filing, specialized IRS testing, and distributing employee notices. It also provides access to resources that can help employees improve their 401k plans.
Fidelity levies a 1.08% fee for 1-25 employees with assets of $750,000. The rate is higher for businesses with 26 to 50 employees. It clocks in at 1.09% for assets of $1.55 million.
- Fidelity offers commission-free trades for ETF and online US stocks.
- The company offers expense-ratio-free index funds.
- Fidelity is well-known for its good customer service.
The fees for broker-assisted trades can be quite expensive.
10. T. Rowe Price
T. Rowe Price is a company that allows you to invest with confidence. True to its mission of helping its customers achieve their long-term financial goals, the company offers a 401k plan for small businesses.
Best for companies with less than 1,000 clients, T. Rowe Price’s 401k offering comes with many benefits for both the employer and his or her employees. For one, it provides access to over 100 no-load mutual funds as well as 5,400 non-proprietary funds.
Rowe Price’s 401k plan comes with many complementary features as well. For example, it has a plan resource center where users can access useful tools and necessary information. With the help of such guides, the administrative functions associated with 401k planning are made easier.
The company also boasts of comprehensive communication, many thanks to its educational materials, web support, telephone support with 24-hour access, and employee meetings. With these at hand, employers and employees are well-aware of the benefits of investing.
Annual participant fees vary as they depend on the plan’s structure and economics.
- Rowe Price offers cheap mutual funds.
- It comes with many useful tools for fund screening and retirement investing.
Commissions and account minimums can be a little costly.
Ubiquity Retirement and Savings is a 401k plan provider to over 7,000 small businesses. With over $2.5 billion in assets, it has been recognized as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies.
Ubiquity helps you set up your small business 401k plan according to your choice:
This enables one-person businesses to enjoy tax-deductible retirement savings without the bothersome paperwork. Prices start at $18 a month.
This includes expert-chosen 401k design plan, safe harbor plans, and employer or employee support. While pre-tax contributions are included, it does not levy charges or commission fees. The Saver K plan starts at $75 a month.
This affordable yet popular plan can help employers save money without scrimping out on the service. This plan costs a minimum of $118 a month.
As the name suggests, this customized 401k plan helps meet business needs while providing the best tax credits. With access to a broad range of investments, this scheme is surprisingly cheap at $165 a month.
After choosing from any of the plans, Ubiquity can help you adopt a written plan and choose from a variety of investments. The company is also in charge of performing several administrative functions, such as handing your employees’ particulars to service providers. More importantly, Ubiquity helps workers read through the plan’s terms so they are well-informed of the stipulations.
- Ubiquity provides excellent safe harbor and Roth 401k plans to small businesses.
- It provides a $250 incentive for any small business referral.
- With the help of its Paradigm Saas platform, users can access their retirement plans digitally.
- Ubiquity can be quite expensive for small companies in the short term.
- Its services are limited to businesses with less than 100 employees.
12. Human Interest
When it comes to 401k plans for small to medium-sized businesses, Human Interest is worth your consideration. After all, you can set up this plan online in just a few clicks.
To get such a deal, the first thing you need to do is sign up. After registering your company and establishing a payroll connection, you can choose from any of the company’s 401k plans. If you are confused as to which scheme to choose, worry not as an implementation manager can help you out.
After reviewing the statutes of the plan, you can proceed with signing the documents and checking other pertinent data. You need not inform your employees one by one as Human Interest will send notification e-mails to these participants. Through this platform, employees can review their balances, complete their contributions, and take a chance on built-in investing.
Even with everything set up for you and your employees, you can rely on Human Interest to be at the wayside 24/7. With its ongoing support feature, you can call the hotline or send an e-mail for inquiries and whatnot.
Human Interest monthly fees for employers are $120 for the base fee plus $4 per employee. As for the employees, the fees are 0.50% of the account balance annually plus 0.07% for average funding.
- Human Interest’s interface is very easy to use.
- The plan can be easily integrated with most payroll services.
- It offers an automatic contribution program that can help reduce errors on the participant’s part.
Some users have encountered duplicate contribution issues.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are two types of 401k plans – traditional and Roth. The traditional style involves the reduction of income taxes for a corresponding year. This, however, comes with taxable withdrawals. With that being said, this type of 401k is better for those in a low salary bracket as it comes with a tax break.
The Roth 401k plan, on the other hand, involves tax-free withdrawals. This is after making contributions following tax-deduced income. In contrast to the traditional plan, this is best for employees with higher salaries. That’s because this doesn’t have taxes during the withdrawal process.
As a defined-contribution system, it involves the employee and employer making contributions up to the amount set forth by the Internal Revenue System.
It is up to the employee to choose from a variety of investments available through their 401k plans. Options include stocks, mutual funds, even target-date funds. Some companies offer guaranteed investment contracts, even their own stock.
As of late, the annual limit is $19,500 for employees aged under 50. The cut-off is higher at $26,000 for those aged 50 and above.
Should the employer contribute, or if the employee wants to make deductible after-tax payments, the limitation can be increased. This would be $57,000 or 100% of salary for workers under 50, and $63,500 for employees aged 50 and above.
The rule of thumb is this: contribute at least 10% of your gross salary to your 401k plan. Try to hit 15% to 20% if you can. Should your employer match your contribution, make sure to avail of it.
Should you start late, you don’t have to worry. You can still catch up with the additional $6,000 limit for employees aged 60 and above.
401k plans usually offer mutual funds. Here are the common types:
a. Conservative Funds
These risk-minimal options feature safe investments such as high-quality bonds. Growth may be slow and predictable, but you don’t have to worry about losing money along the way.
b. Value Funds
This middle-risk fund comes with investments from stable yet undervalued corporations. The dividends that grow from this have a modest rate of increase.
c. Balanced Funds
This covers a mix of moderate-risk equities, including safe bonds and value stocks. The goal of this investment is to appreciate both income and capital.
d. Aggressive Growth Funds
As the name suggests, this type of investment can either get you rich – or out of a retirement fund. Although this is focused on companies with high growth potentials, it usually comes with greater risks.
e. Target-Date Funds
This helps you maximize your contributions until your desired retirement date. Investments are made more ‘conservative’ as the target date approaches. While good, this investment plan usually comes with higher fees.
There are 4 things that you could do with your 401k plan:
a. Withdraw the funds
This is usually not recommended unless the employee needs to pay hospital bills or what. Apart from being taxable, withdrawing the traditional 401k comes with an additional 10% distribution tax. You can only avoid this is you are at least 59 ½ years old or permanently disabled. Fortunately, for now, this ruling has been suspended in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As for the Roth 401k, you can withdraw it without worrying about taxes and penalties. It’s not always the case though, as an account less than 5 years old – or those owned by people less than 59 ½ – are taxed accordingly.
b. Roll the funds over to an IRA
An individual retirement account (IRA) is a tax-advantaged way to save retirement money. After retiring, you could roll your 401k into an IRA from a mutual fund company or a brokerage firm. This will save you from the hassle of paying taxes. More importantly, an IRA can present you with more choices for investments.
While rolling your 401k to an IRA has many benefits, it is quite a lengthy step. Making one tiny mistake can come with exorbitant penalties. With that being said, make sure to this with the help of an accredited institution.
c. Leave it be
Even if you leave the company, you can still keep your 401k with your old employer for an indefinite amount of time. This is a viable option if your account costs more than $5,000. This is well applicable to those who are happy with their former employer’s fund management and investment options.
The drawback of this is that the employee may forget that he or she has an existing 401k plan. Worse he or she may pass without telling his or her heirs about it.
d. Move it
If you are transferring to another company, you may opt to move your 401k plan to avoid taxes. This is highly advantageous for those aged 72 and above, as moving the plan will help him or her protect his or her retirement assets.
A small business 401k plan comes with many benefits for both the employer and the employee. It can help attract and retain talented workers while giving the business good tax credits. As for the employee, such a plan can help him or her save for retirement without worrying much about taxes.
When choosing a small business 401k plan, there are several factors that you need to consider. These include the type of plan (traditional or Roth), investment options (bonds, stocks, ETFs, etc.), record keeping services, and fees associated with the service.
The company’s interface should also be easy to use. You want something that is user-friendly, so that all your employees – regardless of age – can use it.
As a bonus, finding a company that offers payroll platform integrations will work to your advantage as well. This will save you from the burden of doing administrative tasks.
If your business is without a financial advisor, you may opt for a service provider that comes with complimentary financial advice. This will help you and your employees make better decisions in terms of investing.