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What is Guideline?

Guideline headquartered in San Mateo offers a cloud-based 401k management software for businesses priced on a per employee basis.

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TrustRadius Insights

Guideline serves as a valuable retirement program solution for businesses looking to offer comprehensive benefits to their full-time …
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What is Guideline?

Guideline headquartered in San Mateo offers a cloud-based 401k management software for businesses priced on a per employee basis.

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  • No setup fee
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  • Free/Freemium Version
  • Premium Consulting/Integration Services

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What is Human Interest?

Human Interest headquartered in San Francisco offers their cloud-based 401k administation platform for employers featuring flexible plan design and a dedicated account manager.

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Product Details

What is Guideline?

Guideline offers aims to offer a simple, affordable way to save for retirement, by providing plans presented as low cost and highly automated. This helps companies to offer a valuable benefit, and it helps companies' people to invest in their financial future with confidence.

Guideline Features

401(k) Features

  • Supported: Administration and Recordkeeping
  • Supported: Payroll Integration
  • Supported: Compliance Maintenance
  • Supported: Plan Flexibility
  • Supported: Filings and Disclosures
  • Supported: Ease of Enrollment

Guideline Technical Details

Deployment TypesSoftware as a Service (SaaS), Cloud, or Web-Based
Operating SystemsUnspecified
Mobile ApplicationNo

Frequently Asked Questions

Guideline headquartered in San Mateo offers a cloud-based 401k management software for businesses priced on a per employee basis.

Human Interest, Betterment, and ForUsAll are common alternatives for Guideline.

Reviewers rate Ease of Enrollment highest, with a score of 7.

The most common users of Guideline are from Small Businesses (1-50 employees).
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Reviews and Ratings


Community Insights

TrustRadius Insights are summaries of user sentiment data from TrustRadius reviews and, when necessary, 3rd-party data sources. Have feedback on this content? Let us know!

Guideline serves as a valuable retirement program solution for businesses looking to offer comprehensive benefits to their full-time employees. Users appreciate the range of low-cost index ETF funds available through Guideline for their 401K options, providing a diverse range of investment opportunities. The super easy-to-use interface has been specifically mentioned by users, making it simple and efficient for employees to enroll and manage their retirement savings. The real-time calculation of contribution limits is also highly valued, providing peace of mind when making changes to contributions. Guideline's seamless integration with Gusto payroll further enhances its convenience, streamlining the administrative process for employers. The continuous safe harbor analysis offered by Guideline is also appreciated by administrators, helping them meet compliance requirements effortlessly. With Guideline as the company-wide 401K platform, businesses can eliminate the manual aspects of maintaining and processing employee retirement contributions, freeing up time for the executive team. Additionally, Guideline's quarterly reports allow users to track the progress of their portfolio and fine-tune their long-term financial strategy. The responsive support team provides timely assistance through email and phone, ensuring a seamless experience for customers. Overall, Guideline's user-friendly features, cost-effectiveness, and comprehensive services make it an efficient tool for businesses of all sizes.

Low-cost investment options: Several users have mentioned that Guideline offers low-cost investment options, which has been a positive aspect for them. They appreciate the affordability of the platform and feel that it allows them to invest their money without incurring high fees or expenses.

Excellent customer support: Reviewers have consistently praised Guideline's customer support, noting their commitment to helping users. The prompt and helpful assistance provided by the support team has contributed to a positive experience for many customers.

Easy-to-use interface: Many users have found Guideline's software to be easy to use and navigate. They appreciate its intuitive design, visually appealing interface, and user-friendly features. The seamless integration with payroll vendors also adds convenience for users.

Terrible Customer Service and Lack of Investment Options: Users have expressed dissatisfaction with Guideline's customer service, noting a lack of investment options. Some users have stated that the customer service provided by Guideline has been subpar, while others have mentioned that there are limited investment options available.

Lack of Integration and Synchronization Frequency: Some users have found the integration and synchronization feature of Guideline to be lacking in terms of frequency. They feel that the synchronization only occurring once per day is not sufficient and suggest that it should be more frequent for real-time updates.

Limited Customization and Absence of Mobile App: The simplicity of Guideline has been criticized by some users who feel it lacks customization options, which may be problematic for businesses with more sophisticated plans. Additionally, the absence of a mobile app for tracking progress on devices like phones and iPads has been seen as a drawback by users who believe having this feature would enhance ease of use.

Based on user reviews, here are the most common recommendations for Guideline:

  1. Guideline is highly recommended for small nonprofits as a good solution for retirement benefits. Users have found it to be an efficient and cost-effective option.

  2. Businesses that use Gusto are advised to consider Guideline for their 401(k) plan administration. Users have found it to be a compatible and seamless integration with Gusto.

  3. Many users recommend Guideline for businesses seeking easy 401(k) plan administration. They appreciate its user-friendly interface and hassle-free management of retirement benefits.

Attribute Ratings


(1-11 of 11)
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Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
They are my previous company’s 401K benefits provider
  • Good online platform
  • Customer service
It has been 4 weeks since I’ve tried to extract my money from their account, and I still have not received. I’ve had to escalate the customer service ticket and I still have to stay on top of them. The money also is coming via check versus a simple account transfer because the customer service team closed my account prematurely, so it’s overall been an awful experience for me with a decent chunk of change. Very unsettling
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Guideline helps us to easily administrate our 401(k).
It is not easy to have visibility on the total retirement savings that each individual has accumulated and in total.

It also helps to understand the amount contributed before and after taxes.
This is specially helpful to understand if an emergency withdrawal would be taxed or not taxed.

For example, at the start of the year, the software projects the total contributed per year before and after taxes.
  • Administrate individual 401(k)
  • Understand the contributions accumulated in total and per year
  • Understand the percentage of salary being contributed per pay period.
  • It is not clear how to deal with the IRA accounts
  • In the IRA plan, it is no clear what are the risks (if any?) vs the benefits (or are all of them benefits?)
  • The explanations of the Portfolio should be easier to understand.
I think that the good thing of it is that it is easy to follow up contributions and accumulated money for the retirement without the need to directly ask H.R. people. That saves HR resources.

On the other hand, portfolios are not easy to understand and select. The meaning of risk is not clear.
What is risk in this case?
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We selected Guideline as our 401k provider and used the integration with Rippling (our payroll provider).
I believe that the only thing more broken than Guideline's product is their customer support. From initial contribution dates to the disastrous account closure that cost us personally thousands of dollars, this has been by far the worst SaaS and customer experience I've ever had in my career. If only 1) Guideline's product or 2) customer support had individually been broken, we would not have ended up in this state. I sent dozens and dozens of emails inquiring about oddities I was seeing in the product, but Guideline's reps only gave more conflicting and what ended up being grossly inaccurate feedback and status updates. I hope this review reaches anyone who is thinking of closing their Guideline account. Be extremely wary of what Guideline says and does in the account closure process and exact for detailed and exact timelines (you'll have to follow up many times...). For those of you who haven't yet selected a 401k provider, I'd recommend staying as far away from Guideline as possible.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
The guideline is used for our 401k service for all our employees and all departments. It addresses the benefits package offered to employees as to their retirement. Some of the partners also use Guideline, making it a fairly comprehensive service. One problem every business faces is a retirement (if offered) program for their full-time employees.
  • Easy to use
  • Clear and concise information
  • Navigation
  • Could be more responsive to inquiries
  • Could provide more upfront information when starting the process
Guideline is well suited for a comprehensive 401k service to most any business, whether small (10 or fewer employees) or far larger businesses. They can help employees understand how to invest their money and provide options for them. An employee can allow the people at Guideline to invest their money based upon a simple algorithm of conservative/moderate/less moderate risk or the employee can invest as they choose. Guideline is probably not the best suited as far as the type of financial advice one might get from more established investments and financial groups.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Guideline is administrating our company 401k plans. It's a fully automated system, connected to our payroll provider and allows my team to invest in their retirement, and allows my executive team to focus on other things besides plan administration. We're in an excellent position of "let it ride" where Guideline handles automated withdrawls, corporate matching, plan selection for our entire team.
  • Plan administration
  • automated benefits
  • employee guidance
  • employee knowledge
So far, guideline had done just about everything perfectly. Plan setup was simple and quick, and the initial onboarding process was outstanding. In the rare instance we have needed some form of support, it has been quick and simple as well. Its generally obvious that the first tier of support has not been particularly well trained on the platform, however, despite this small hinderance they have been able to adequately address our requests.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Our entire organization uses Guideline for our 401k program and benefits management.
  • User interface is excellent
  • Clear and effective communications
  • Cost is reasonable
  • I'd like to see more investment options
  • Additional integrations to banks and wealth management platforms
Is great for startups that need to offer competitive 401k and other benefits because rhe cost is reasonable and setup is effortless.
Score 1 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Guideline was mainly used because it connected with the company's prior payroll vendor Gusto. All employees at the company used Guideline for 401(k) services. We were looking to expand our benefits as a small employer at the time, and Guideline matched well at the time for the number of employees that we had.
  • Ease of use
  • Connection with payroll vendor
  • Cost
  • Terrible customer service
  • Lack of investment options
  • No resources for employees to help with financial needs
Guideline is really only good if you are a small company looking to integrate it easily with your current payroll provider. It gives you the bare minimum 401k options, and I could see a growing company using them to start. However, other 401(k) vendors far out-class them between customer service, investment options, and employee financial options.
November 10, 2021

Jordan's Guideline Review

Jordan Wilhelmi | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use Guideline for our company-wide 401k platform. I go on to my account every paycheck and I love the simple to read interface to see how my retirement savings are doing. It is also seamless to adjust risk and strategy at the click of a button. The quarterly reports are a great way to track progress of my portfolio and fine tune my long-term financial strategy.
  • User interface is seamless and easy to read
  • Quarterly reports are detailed but not difficult to understand in terms of performance
  • Projection data is a valuable resource to analyze my financial planning
  • I'd like an app so I can track progress from my phone and iPad with ease
  • Two-factor authentication might be nice with all the private financial data the platform holds
  • A contact number or option to speak with financial advisors might be useful down the road for my retirement planning
Guideline is the perfect 401k retirement platform for small businesses. The best thing about Guideline is its interface, as it is so easy to understand and use. I can't think of a scenario where Guideline would not be a great option for this use. The only thing I dislike about Guideline is that it is sometimes slow to process contributions from my paychecks, or at least confirm those contributions.
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Fantastic 401K option for SMB Guideline has been a great choice for our small but fast growing software company. Our employees are savvy and appreciate the range of low costs index/ETF funds as well as the super easy to use interface. Features like real-time calculation of contribution limits when assessing contribution changes and super simple allocation changes have been specifically mentioned by the team. As the administrator, I really appreciate the continuous safe harbor analysis, seamless integration with Gusto (payroll), low and predictable costs and support that answers emails and phone calls in a timely and complete manner.
  • Low costs investment options
  • Excellent customer support
  • Easy to use integrations and user experience
  • None to suggest
Guideline is an excellent tool for SMBs who want to offer a complete and low costs 401k option without administrative complexity. We are especially pleased with the integration to Gusto our payroll service. Employees appreciate the options for split contributions between Roth and conventional 401k accounts. Admins like the ease of use, complete feature list and low price.
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We use it to maintain and process all employee retirement contributions. it does a great job of taking the manual part out of this process!
  • Integration with systems
  • Great interface
  • Portfolio options
  • Integration [sync] could be more often - only once per day
  • Bloated customer service line
  • Simplicity lacks customization
Appropriate for retirement benefits for all-sized companies! Not great if your employees need to be able to change their contribution and integrate with systems simultaneously.
Ed Hart | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
We utilize Guideline as our 401(k) provider. We added this benefit in 2019 and made the decision primarily because Guideline gave us an easy and efficient vehicle to offer the benefit due to online admin, not having to deal with a broker and integration with Gusto, our payroll system. As a small business, It has been a very efficient and easy tool for our team to enroll and manage their 401(k)s.
  • Integration with the payroll system.
  • Handles all of the regulatory requirements for 401(k) like top heavy testing.
  • For a small business with very minimal 401(k) needs, Guideline is sufficient for us. If you have a more sophisticated plan, you may run into some limitations.
Guideline seems particularly suited to a small business with relatively simple plan requirements. Everything is online and easily accessible to our employees and the interface is more user-friendly than some of the larger 401(k) companies. If you're looking for a lot of plan complexity or bells and whistles, then Guideline might seem limited, but for a startup or small business with a technically savvy team using Gusto as the payroll system, Guideline is a no-brainer.
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