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How to get a fair priced 401(k) plan for your business


Like any employee benefit, 401(k) plans do come with a cost to your business. 401(k) costs typically include a one-time setup charge to establish your plan and an ongoing administration fee to manage your account. These costs cover record-keeping, personal support from an account manager, participant calls, and product and service improvements.

The per-employee administration cost of retirement plans varies dramatically across the industry as most providers focus on serving large businesses and are not priced to serve businesses with less than 50 employees. The first step of getting a fair price is to know what a reasonable price is for administration:

  • Self-employed (solo 401(k)) should pay less than $200 per year
  • 2 to 15 employees firms ought to pay no more than $1,200 per year
  • 16 to 50 employee businesses should cap around $1,800 per year

Also be aware of participant fees employees will pay from the money in their account. Read the Understanding 401(k) Costs guide or download our Cost Comparison sheet to learn the questions to ask, and the insights to get the best price for your business.

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