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What is a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA)?
What is a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA)?

If you're auto-enrolled in your 401(k), your contributions will be directed to a default portfolio based on specific factors.

Updated over a week ago

If you are enrolled in a 401(k) plan, but do not make your own portfolio selections, your contributions will be invested into what’s known as a Qualified Default Investment Alternative (QDIA). As the name implies, a QDIA is the default investment portfolio selected for your 401(k) assets based on specific factors.

As the designated investment manager and plan fiduciary (for 401(k) plans), Guideline follows Department of Labor (DOL) guidance and has created QDIAs that consist of a mix of investments that take into account your age and an assumed retirement date.*

How Guideline selects QDIAs

At Guideline, the QDIA you are enrolled in is based on one of our 6 managed portfolios that is aligned with your age and estimated time to retirement. If you have not provided us with your estimated age of retirement, our system will default to age 63.

As you get closer to retirement – if you still have not made your own investment selection – the QDIA will move from a more aggressive mix of investments to a more conservative mix. As such, our QDIAs will automatically reinvest your assets based on a built-in glide path, illustrated below. A glide path refers to a formula that defines the asset allocation mix in a QDIA, based on the estimated time to retirement.

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QDIA glide path

Underlying assumptions:

  • Default retirement age of 63

  • Years until retirement = Default retirement age minus your current age

As you age, and move into the next bracket, your assets will automatically be reinvested into the next model portfolio as illustrated above.

How to change your investments from the default

You can change your investment portfolio at any time through the Portfolio page of your Guideline dashboard.

Once you have made an investment selection, your investments will no longer default or automatically reinvest based on the glide path above, even if you choose to stay in the same model portfolio you were invested in under the QDIA.

*This information is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for specific tax, legal and/or financial advice that considers all relevant facts and circumstances. You are advised to consult a qualified financial adviser or tax professional before relying on the information provided herein.
Investing involves risk and investments may lose value.

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