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ShareBuilder 401k Review

ShareBuilder Editor’s Score: 93/100

Transparent pricing 85/100
Low employee investment fees 91/100
Mobile and online access 86/100
No fees for sign-up and administration 90/100
Variety of plans 100/100

Why ShareBuilder 401k Is Best for Low Investment Fees

ShareBuilder 401k is a great choice for low fees because it keeps investment fees below 1%. This is in addition to ts very low starting cost of just $25 per month, Though the company charges another $190 per month for plan administration, businesses can technically handle that in-house. Or, if you’re self-employed and want a solo 401(k), you can skip the administration entirely.

Pros

  • ShareBuilder 401k uses low-cost investments to guarantee investment fees stay below 1%.
  • ShareBuilder 401k charges a flat monthly fee that never changes or increases.
  • The company offers a wide selection of account types and investment options.

Cons

  • Limited information is available on the company website.
  • ShareBuilder 401k does not offer a mobile app.

Plans

Unlike some top employee retirement providers, ShareBuilder does not offer multiple service tiers. Instead, employers can choose from several types of 401(k) plans and get a range of services and features, like investment management, payroll integration and online resources.

Additional Features

  • Plan administration: ShareBuilder’s solo 401(k) is fully administered, while other plan types include ongoing investment roster management, such as ERISA 3(38) coverage.
  • Compliance and recordkeeping: ShareBuilder provides a fully administered solo 401(k) plan, including IRS Form 5500, as well as signature-ready Forms 5500 for other plan types. Plans are bundled with service from independent recordkeepers specializing in 401(k) plans.
  • Automatic discounts: Administrative costs and management fees are automatically adjusted based on the total number of participating employees and total plan assets.
  • Payroll integration: ShareBuilder offers integration with payroll providers. Employers can also choose to enter payroll manually or upload payroll records to reduce the amount of time it takes to process documents.
  • Auto-enrollment: ShareBuilder’s safe harbor, traditional and tiered profit-sharing 401(k) plans include automatic enrollment with qualified default investment options.
  • Educational resources: Employees and employers can take advantage of ShareBuilder’s model portfolios, webinars, guides, videos and calculators to make investment decisions.

Account Types

Small businesses that use ShareBuilder 401k to manage their employee retirement benefits can choose from several standard 401(k) plans. Each plan type has its own rules and regulations, as determined by the IRS.

  • Solo 401(k): Intended for self-employed business owners, owner-only plans and spouses who contribute more than $6,000 per year, ShareBuilder 401k’s solo 401(k) plan has Roth 401(k) and tax deferred options, and offers access to the platform’s full range of investments.
  • Safe harbor 401(k): A safe harbor 401(k) lets owners and highly compensated employees contribute to their retirement plans without restrictions. Profit sharing is available, matching is required and employers automatically satisfy IRS requirements.
  • Traditional 401(k): An extremely flexible option, a traditional 401(k) lets employers choose employer match amounts, vesting schedules and employee eligibility requirements. Profit sharing is optional, but unlike with a safe harbor 401(k), IRS testing is required.
  • Tiered profit-sharing 401(k): This type of 401(k) is aimed at incentivizing employees based on factors such as department and tenure. ShareBuilder’s tiered profit-sharing plan offers more advanced profit-sharing options than the platform’s other 401(k) plans.

Investment Options

ShareBuilder offers retirement plans that let employers and employees choose from 22 index funds, one money market and five model portfolios. Although the company’s list of available investment options is not incredibly long, it is a solid selection of diversified options that allow participants to invest at a low cost and without undue risk. Employees can choose investments from the following types of funds:

  • Equity funds
  • Bond funds
  • Specialty funds
  • Stable value funds

In addition, ShareBuilder offers model portfolios to help employees understand how to allocate their funds according to their preferred strategy.

Tip: If you’re looking for a retirement benefits provider with more extensive investment options, consider our review of ADP or our Paychex review.

Pricing

ShareBuilder 401k’s base pricing is stated clearly on the company’s website, and plans generally range from $25 to $190 per month for administration. Ultimately, though, pricing and savings are based on the total number of plan participants and plan assets.

  • Solo 401(k): Starts at $25 per month for administration
  • Safe harbor 401(k): Stars at $95 per month for administration
  • Traditional 401(k): Starts at $110 per month for administration
  • Tiered profit-sharing 401(k): Starts at $190 per month for administration

Automatic pricing discounts through ShareBuilder 401k are aimed at keeping management costs low as your business and plan assets grow. For example, under a safe harbor plan with between 11 and 25 participants, the investment management fee is 0.75% for plan assets up to $499,999, and the monthly administration fee is $145. As plan assets increase to between $500,000 and $1,999,999, the investment management and monthly administration fees decrease to 0.65% and $100, respectively. Overall, ShareBuilder 401k offered the lowest fees we encountered in our review.

Ease of Use

To get started with ShareBuilder 401(k), contact the sales team via telephone or click the Get Pricing button on the company’s homepage. Then, provide details about your business, including the company name, how many employees or owners you have and whether you have an existing 401(k) plan. ShareBuilder will recommend an appropriate plan for your needs and provide a contact form that you’ll fill out to get a quote.

ShareBuilder users can log in to the administrator dashboard through the platform’s website. Notably, however, the company does not have a mobile app.

Customer Service

ShareBuilder 401k offers all users toll-free access to 401(k) advisors and customer care Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. The online help center also provides employers and employees extensive tools and resources, including a 401(k) savings calculator, a cost comparison tool and a glossary of common 401(k)-related terms.

Drawbacks

ShareBuilder 401k doesn’t offer much information up front on its website like many of the other plan providers we reviewed. Our review of American 401k, for example, found the company to be extremely transparent in pricing and available plans. Unfortunately, ShareBuilder 401k only offers some general information on pricing and an overview of its offerings — small business owners may need to reach out directly to learn whether ShareBuilder 401k is a good fit for their needs or not.

Mobile apps make it easy for employees and managers alike to manage benefits administration and investment planning anytime, anywhere. Unfortunately, ShareBuilder 401k doesn’t have a mobile application. Other retirement service providers, like the one in our ADP review, do offer user-friendly apps.

What Is an Employee Retirement Benefits Provider?

An employee retirement benefits provider is a company that helps small business owners set up and administer retirement plans for themselves and their employees. Employee retirement benefits providers offer services such as plan design, administration and recordkeeping. Some also offer their own investment options, investment management or payroll integration.

FAQs

Who acquired ShareBuilder 401k?

ING Direct acquired ShareBuilder 401k in 2007, and then Capital One acquired ING in 2012. More recently, in 2019, ShareBuilder 401k was spun off of Capital One and became an independent company again.

Did ShareBuilder leave Capital One?

ShareBuilder left Capital One in 2019, when the company, which had been acquired as part of Capital One’s acquisition of ING Direct in 2012, was spun off to an independent group that included some of the firm’s original founders.

Is ShareBuilder going away?

ShareBuilder was spun off of Capital One in 2019, but it is not going away. While the company is no longer part of Capital One, it is still accessible to existing customers and also provides employer-sponsored retirement plans through its own independent offerings.

Bottom Line

We recommend ShareBuilder 401k for …

  • Self-employed individuals who want an easy-to-manage solo 401(k).
  • Businesses that want to offer a safe harbor 401(k) with low fees and no in-person application requirements.
  • Small business owners who want a hands-off way to offer an employee retirement plan.

We don’t recommend ShareBuilder 401k for …

  • Business owners who want access to a customer support team with strong financial expertise.
  • Businesses that want Roth accounts for 403(b) plans.