Retirement Planning with the Best 401k Funds for Your Business

Owners of small to medium-sized businesses have to go the extra mile to retain top talent. Unlike large corporations, they may not have access to the benefit plans and business perks that attract great candidates. But sometimes, decent pay plus a little job security and, of course, a retirement plan like 401k plans are enough to do the trick.

Small to medium-sized businesses (SMB) that want to offer a good retirement solution for their companies may want to consider a few 401k companies. 401k plans are not as unwieldy and expensive as pensions, but the best 401k plans offer employer matching and tax advantages. 

Red Award Emblem for Best 401k Companies

Award Emblem: Best 401k Companies

An SMB considering 401k providers usually falls into one of two categories. They either:

  1. Have an existing retirement plan and are looking for 401k companies that can manage 401k investments better or
  2. Have no retirement plan and are looking for the best 401k funds and best 401k investments.

Finding the best 401k funds is not as difficult or complicated as it may sound. This article on the best 401k companies and the best 401k investments will provide a primer for the process of securing the best 401k providers. The article will:

  • Tell You Why You Need to Look for 401k Investment Companies. According to the US Department of Labor, Americans will need roughly 70 to 90 percent of their pre-retirement income to enjoy their preretirement standard of living in retirement. When employers make the top 401k providers and best 401k plans available to their employees, they are encouraged to plan ahead.
  • Give You a Breakdown of What 401k Plans Are. There’s no shame in needing a quick tutorial. There are so many financial products out there that the difference between 401k investments and Roth IRA plans may get a little fuzzy sometimes.
  • Identify What You Should Look for in 401k Providers. If you want to identify the best 401k investments and the best 401k funds, you’re going to need to know what to look for. This article will help you to do that.
  • Show You What to Look Out for with 401k Companies and 401k Plans. A large part of identifying the best 401k companies is knowing what to look out for. This article will give you a quick overview of what things to look out for when choosing 401k investment companies.
  • Provide a 401k Companies List with Reviews. You may be at a loss for where to start looking for the best 401k companies. We are going to give you a list of six top 401k providers, with quick reviews to boot!

SMBs (particularly small business owners) juggle a lot of responsibility, so taking the time to draw up a 401k companies list may seem like just another helping of work to add to your already full plate. But having a retirement plan like 401k investments in place will help you attract good employees, foster loyalty, and do right by the people helping you build your company: your employees.

By reviewing this article on the best 401k funds and the best 401k companies, you will feel more confident about retirement planning for your small business.

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AdvisoryHQ’s List of Top 6 Best 401k Companies

List is sorted alphabetically (click any of the 401k investment companies below to go directly to the detailed review section for those top 401k providers):

Top 6 Best 401k Companies | Brief Comparison

Best 401k Companies

Startup fees listed on site?

Other Services



Payroll, HR, insurance

American Funds


Mutual funds

Betterment for Business


Personal finance/investing, roboadvising

Edward Jones


Wealth management, investing, insurance

Employee Fiduciary


Only focused on 401k plans

Fidelity Investments


Mutual funds, wealth management, life insurance

Table: Top 6 Best 401k Companies | Above list is sorted alphabetically

How to Pick the Best 401k Plans for Your Business

Pigibank with coins - Best 401k Funds

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Why Choose 401k Plans for Your Business’s Employees

Technically, 401k companies are not your only option when it comes to retirement planning for your business. Depending on your size, you could opt for a:

  • SIMPLE IRA: It stands for the Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees, and it is a less cumbersome option for those who want to provide the benefits of traditional matching programs for the employees of their small business.
  • SEP IRA: It stands for Simplified Employee Pension. Ideal if your small business just consists of yourself (or yourself and a partner).

While there are definitely other variations (including pensions, which are slowly declining in popularity), the SIMPLE IRA and the SEP IRA are the two most popular alternatives for small businesses that are not yet ready to make a 401k companies list and look for 401k providers. 

There are pros and cons to both. The pros of SIMPLE IRAs are that they are easy to set up and affordable to maintain. The downside is that they are limited to rather small businesses. If you have plans to grow your business beyond 100 employees, then you will have to consider alternatives, like 401k plans.

An SEP IRA is easy to set up and maintain. Employees are not required to contribute, and all of the contributions are made by the employer, but there is no set contribution percentage. It’s a great incentive-based strategy since the employer will contribute to the fund based on how well the company is doing. This means that employees are further motivated to increase the company’s profits.

The downside of an SEP IRA compared to things like 401k plans is that the contributions are not taken from employee paychecks. Instead, the employer pays the entire thing. This may be sustainable with only a few employees, but it can become extremely unaffordable with several employees. As a result, it may not be the best strategy if you are planning to grow even a little.

Looking for the best 401k providers, especially those tailored toward small business needs, can help you reap the benefits of a 401k (tax incentives, a flexible retirement savings plan) without needing the human resources and management budget of a large company.

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A Quick Breakdown of 401k Plans

401k plans are one of the many retirement savings options out there. The biggest difference is that they are sponsored by the employers who offer them to their employees. Using 401k investments instead of offering pensions has become a favorite among employers who want a more cost-effective way to offer retirement benefits to their employees.

Essentially, employees can contribute a portion of their paycheck to their 401k investments and those contributions (and their subsequent growth within 401k plans) are not taxed until the money is eventually withdrawn later in life. Employers match employee contributions up to a certain amount.

401k plans refer to the section of the Internal Revenue Code that makes them possible.

What to Look for When Finding the Best 401k Providers

When looking for the best 401k providers, there are a few things that you should keep an eye out for to ensure you’re getting the best value. These tips from Forbes are not only helpful for people looking to get started with top 401k providers but for those who want to ensure their current arrangement is with the best.

  • Look for funds with employee fees under 1 percent. You want to ensure most of your employees’ money is being invested as opposed to paying for management of the 401k plans.
  • Look for 401k investment companies that are flexible. The best 401k providers have options to meet different business needs and ensure that, as your business changes, its retirement plan can change as well.
  • Find 401k providers that will take on some of the fiduciary duty. This reduces your business’s exposure and requires them to ensure they are doing what is best for your needs and investing based on the goals you agreed upon.
  • Keep administrative costs low. As your company grows and the amount of money being invested grows as well, 401k investment companies should be offering significantly lower fees.

What to Look Out for When Reviewing Your 401k Companies List

  • 401k Investment Companies Trying to Make a Buck: Look out for 401k providers that are hawking their own investment products while managing your fund. You want to ensure they want to do what’s best for you, not make an extra buck in commissions. You want 401k investment advice that is unbiased and objective.
  • Make Sure There Is Some Built-In Plan Protection: If you thought making a 401k companies list was a lot of work, think of how much work you’ll be in for if your plan needs to be audited or if your employees have any issues or questions about the fund. Legally, you are responsible for making investment decisions that are in the best interests of your employees, and as a result, you are the one who will face questions (or worse, lawsuits) if anything goes wrong.You want to look for investment companies that will also take on some of the responsibility of selecting 401k investments, not just giving you a list of funds to choose from.

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Detailed Review – Top Ranking Best 401k Companies

Below, please find the detailed review of each card on our list of the best 401k providers. We have highlighted some of the factors that allowed these top 401k providers to score so highly in our selection ranking.

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ADP Review

ADP offers 401k plans for businesses in addition to other retirement plan options. They also specialize in payroll management and human resources, so they are well-equipped to understand the unique needs of small businesses looking for the best 401k investments.

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Their specific brand of 401k investments solutions, ADP ACCESS, is designed to be flexible and adaptable to the 401k plans requirements of any business that comes to them for assistance.

The company is also committed to ensuring that investment choices are made to help companies meet their 401k investments goals.Instead of simply providing you with a list of funds to select for your 401k plans, they are there step-by-step to help you design and implement a plan that works for your company’s needs and goals. 

American Funds Review

American Funds also offers 401k investments solutions for companies. American Funds offers over 360,000 plans, allowing them to provide great flexibility and 401k plans options for plan sponsors and employers. You can work with the advisors at American Funds to find plans that meet specific investment goals, such as balance or growth, and come up with the best 401k investments strategies for your needs.

Because American Funds is a provider of mutual funds, be extra mindful that the people in charge of your account are making the best 401k investments for your business since you are ultimately responsible for its success or failure when it comes to answering to your employees.

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 Betterment for Business Review

Betterment for Business is a spin-off of the more popularly known personal finance and investment robo-advisor, Betterment. It is one of the best 401k investments providers for cost-effectiveness. The company uses exchange-traded funds and proprietary algorithms instead of pricey stock pickers keeping the prices of their 401k funds significantly low.

They are one of the 401k providers that handle the process from beginning to end. Additionally, as a fintech company, they make their tools easily accessible online or through a mobile app, and they provide tailor-made solutions customized to your business’s needs. Its user-friendliness also means that employees can feel more comfortable and involved in their 401k plans.

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 Edward Jones Review

Edward Jones is a popular and well-known name in the investing world, so it’s only natural that they would be considered one of the best 401k providers for small businesses. Business owners have one of the industry’s trusted 401k companies as their administer to ensure that the proper tax forms are filed, the plan is properly maintained, and there is accurate record keeping.

They will also help you determine whether 401k plans are even what’s best for your business. After doing so, they can help you compare options to decide what the best investment plan is for you. This way, you are choosing the optimal retirement plan that is both sustainable and beneficial, whether that comes in the form of the best 401k funds or otherwise.

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 Employee Fiduciary Review

Employee Fiduciary is a favorite among favorites for one main reason: it makes its pricing for 401k plans clear and explicit, eliminating much of the obscurity associated with even the best 401k providers.

Business owners don’t mind paying for a service; they just want to receive value. And knowing whether you’re getting value requires the ability to compare pricing between service providers. Employee Fiduciary lets you know exactly how much it costs to start up 401k investments with them or convert an existing plan and how much it will cost to administer the fund each year. They make finding the best 401k companies easier by highlighting the core features of their 401k plans (the bread and butter that every fund should have) and spend less time emphasizing bells and whistles.

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 Fidelity Investments Review

Fidelity Investments is another well-known option that business owners can consider. Much like Edward Jones, Fidelity Investments will take the time to ensure whether 401k plans are even the right fit for your business. Once they’ve done that, they can work with you to create a customized plan that fits your business’s situation.

They have a reputation for working very closely with business customers to develop their 401k investments strategy. They have the manpower and the resources to cultivate a solid relationship with businesses and take a hands-on approach to advising business owners on fund selection and goal setting for their 401k plans. There is also easy online access for the employees holding the 401k accounts so that they can check up on their 401k and view how their retirement savings are coming along.

Conclusion: Encourage Your Employees to Save for Retirement with the Best 401k Funds

Seeking out the best 401k companies for your employees draws good people to your staff and cultivates a healthy work environment. The process may seem complicated, but there are several top 401k providers that can guide you through the process. The willingness of 401k investment companies to answer your questions is a great indicator of whether you want to trust your employees’ (and your!) money with them, so do not hesitate to seek out the information you need.

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Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.

Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.