How do I set up my Guideline 401(k) account?

Once you're eligible, you'll receive an email with a unique link where you can enroll in your 401(k) plan.

Updated over a week ago

If your employer recently set up a Guideline 401(k) for your company or you’ve recently become eligible to participate in the plan, then you should have received an emailed notification with the subject line [Your Company's Name] 401(k) Plan Automatic Enrollment Notice.

To set up your new 401(k) account, you must click on your unique enrollment link provided in that email to get started.

If you can’t find your unique enrollment link, your internal 401(k) administrator can send you a new invitation. Feel free to share this article with your employer, if they're not sure how to resend the invite.

If you didn’t receive an enrollment invite, you may not yet be eligible to participate in your employer's plan. This is likely because you either do not meet the age requirement or have not been with the company long enough. Please note these eligibility requirements vary from company to company, and we’ll notify you by email when your eligibility date comes close. If you have specific questions about eligibility in your company’s plan, we recommend speaking with your employer.

The account setup process

Once you click on your enrollment link, you’ll be directed to an onboarding flow where you can set up your 401(k) account information and preferences. You can complete this process on a desktop or using our mobile app. To set up your account using the mobile app, you’ll want to download it in your app store before getting started. Note that steps and visuals may vary slightly within the mobile app.

Step 1: Account Setup

In this step, you’ll enter your personal information, such as your date of birth, phone number, and address. We will use the contact details you provide to send you important information regarding your account.

Step 2: Terms + Agreements

401(k) plan highlights

Here, you’ll see an overview of your employer’s 401(k) plan, including when your first contributions will begin, the default contribution rate if you don’t manually select an alternative, and your employer matching or non-elective amounts (if applicable).

Terms & disclosures

Next, you’ll be able to review and acknowledge important plan documents and disclosures, including your Summary Plan Description, Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, Form ADV 2A Brochure, and Annual Disclosure.

You should read through these documents by clicking the “View” link next to each to understand important details about your plan. Then, select the “I accept” button to agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy and move forward.

Step 3: Set Contribution

Outside employee contributions

Before you set up your Guideline 401(k) contributions, we’ll ask you to report any contributions you’ve made to other qualified retirement plans this year. This is important because the IRS sets annual contribution limits that apply across all your qualified retirement accounts. By providing us this information, we’ll be able to better keep track of your contributions to help you avoid over-contributing.

If you have made outside contributions, you’ll be able to enter the amounts and details and see how much you can still contribute for the year. Note that you only need to report your own employee contributions from other 401(k) or 403(b) plans that do not use Guideline as a service provider. Do not report matching, non-elective, or other employer contributions.

Your contribution

You’ll then be able to set up how much you’d like to contribute to your Guideline plan from each payroll. Simply, add the rate or amount to be applied to pre-tax (traditional), Roth, or both. You can learn about the differences between pre-tax and Roth contributions here.

As you enter your desired contribution amounts, we’ll calculate your projected contributions for the year and let you know if you’re meeting the threshold to take advantage of any applicable employer match if that meets your individual investment objective. You can change your contribution in your dashboard at any time after you enroll.

Step 4: Portfolio Recommendation

This step will guide you through a series of questions that will allow us to understand your investment risk tolerance and preferences. Based on the information you provide, we’ll recommend one of Guideline’s six managed portfolios

The questions used to analyze your recommended portfolio include your intended retirement age, investment knowledge, historical risk tolerance, volatility tolerance, investment expectations, and current risk tolerance.

Once you complete the questionnaire, you’ll be able to view your portfolio recommendation and the reasons why it was chosen for you. If you’d like to see alternative portfolio breakdowns, you can use the sliding scale by moving it toward “Less Risk” or “More Risk.”

Guideline portfolio recommendation visual

This image is for illustrative purposes only.

Once you’re satisfied with your selection, click the “Select portfolio” button. If you’d prefer to create an entirely custom portfolio or opt out of investing, click “Other options.”

After enrollment, you can change your portfolio at any time.

Step 5: Protect your account

Finally, because your 401(k) plan houses financials and other important personal information, you’ll need to set up two-factor authentication (2FA) as an additional layer of security for your account. When 2FA is activated, you’ll access a unique code through either text message or an authenticator app. The code will be required any time you access your account from a new device and periodically from trusted devices.

You can learn more about setting up 2FA or check out our troubleshooting tips if needed.

Congrats! Your Guideline 401(k) plan is now set up and your retirement savings will soon be underway. You can access your account at any time to make changes to your information and preferences by logging into the dashboard.

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.

¹ As a robo-advisor, once an individual completes the suitability assessment, which is a simple questionnaire, Guideline recommends one of our six professionally managed portfolios composed of mutual funds via our proprietary software. Guideline does not provide individual investment advice.

Did this answer your question?