Historically, creating a 401k plan was a huge headache for small business owners. The hassles and costs often made the plan prohibitively expensive.
However, companies like Human Interest are looking to change that. Human Interest provides low-cost 401k plans to small businesses. It takes care of the paperwork and hassle so that employers can focus on growing their business.
Here’s what employers need to know about Human Interest 401k plans.
- Low-cost 401k plans for small businesses
- Prices are based on a flat monthly fee plus cost per employee
- Employees can choose managed portfolios or create their own
Human Interest Details
401(k), 403(b), Safe Harbor, Profit-Sharing
Starting at $120/mo + $4 per employee
0.50% AUM + 0.07% average fund fees
What Is Human Interest?
Human Interest is a low-cost 401k provider that caters to small and medium-sized businesses. Founded in 2015, this San Francisco-based company is trying to disrupt a financial services model that favors big businesses and leaves small businesses to fend for themselves.
By focusing on robust technology and human-centered design practices, Human Interest is lowering the cost for employers who want to offer Traditional or Roth 401k plans (or other retirement plans) to their employees.
What Does It Offer?
Human Interest is an all-in-one 401k provider. It provides plan setup, employee onboarding, payroll integration, maintenance, record-keeping, fiduciary services, and more. Employers can pay Human Interest to solve the 401k “problem” on their behalf. These are a few of the notable features.
Once an employer sets up a plan, Human Interest takes over. It provides a website, onboarding help, and customer service to help employees. Human Interest prides itself on a “people first” design that makes it easy for employees to start and keep saving.
Option For An Employer Match
Human Interest integrates with more than 100 payroll providers. Once integrated, employees can automatically deduct contributions from their paychecks.
Employers don’t have to manually update contribution rules all the time. Instead, Human Interest ensures that employee contributions match requirements
Employers who have 401k plans have to deal with IRS and Department of Labor compliance. Human Interest creates automatic records for all companies who use the platform.
Plan Fiduciary Option
Employers can opt to have Human Interest serve as a 3(16) Fiduciary Provider. As a fiduciary, Human Interest sets up and manages the 401k according to ERISA compliance rules. This service can take a huge load off of busy employers who don’t want to deal with compliance and other legal issues.
Employees Invest In Broad-Based, Low-Cost Funds
The Human Interest approach uses broad-based, low-cost mutual funds. The company provides adequate options to keep employees invested in a broadly diversified portfolio.
Human Interest investment options include options from Vanguard, Dimensional Fund Advisors, BlackRock, TIAA, Charles Schwab, and others. Its general investment approach follows the approach outlined by Burton Malkiel in A Random Walk Down Wall Street.
Managed Portfolio Options
Employees can opt to use Human Interest’s managed portfolio service. This service automatically allocates investments based on an employee’s age and risk tolerance. It also rebalances each person’s portfolio quarterly. The managed portfolios are likely to keep employees from chasing performance and trading away their gains.
Are There Any Fees?
With Human Interest, both employees and employers pay different fees. Employees pay a 0.5% annual fee based on their assets under management. They will also pay fund fees (which average 0.07% annually).
Below are the fees for employers and the services provided.
$120 per month + $4 per month per eligible employee
$150 per month + $6 per month per eligible employee
$150 per month + $8 per month per eligible employee
How Does Human Interest Compare?
Human Interest isn't the lowest-cost 401k provider for small business owners; but it's a high-value provider. The company automates reporting, provides onboarding, options for an employer match, customer support, and can serve as a plan fiduciary.
Historically, few companies offered these features to small business owners. Today, however, a few other companies like Employee Fiduciary and Guideline provide similar services. And depending on the number of active participants in the plan, their pricing may be lower than Human Interest’s.
At the end of the day, Human Interest may provide all the features an employer wants. But employers have options, including lower-cost options in many cases. Employers may want to consider each of the Best 401k providers for small businesses before committing to Human Interest.
$500 to $1,500
$500 for new plans
$1,000 for conversions
Starting at $120/mo + $4 per employee
Starting at 1,500/yr + 0.08% AUM
Base Fee covers up to 30 employees
Starting at $49/mo + $8 per employee
0.50% (plus fund fees)
0.08% (plus fund fees)
How Do I Open A Plan?
While Human Interest has an automated platform, employers have to work with the Human Interest sales team to be sure the company qualifies to set up a plan. To start a consultation, employers can fill out an online form and request a consultation.
Human Interest employees can guide employers through the setup process (and rollover process if they already have an existing 401k plan).
Is It Safe And Secure?
Human Interest has several measures in place to keep assets and information safe. First, it protects employee assets by holding them in a trust account at Matrix Financial Services. Matrix Financial Services is a third-party custodian dedicated to providing back office and settlement services. Employee money is not at risk if Matrix or Human Interest suffers a breach.
Second, it uses bank-level encryption and password encryption to keep user information safe. The company adheres to banking level standards of security. Of course, a hacker still may be able to breach Human Interest’s systems. But the robust security diminishes the chance that large amounts of personal data will be leaked.
How Do I Contact Human Interest?
Human Interest is headquartered in San Francisco. The address of its headquarters is 655 Montgomery St Suite 1800, San Francisco, CA 94111.
Employers considering a 401k plan can speak with a sales representative by calling 877-475-0179. Those who prefer electronic communication can request a consultation using this signup form.
People who need customer support can call 855-622-7824. They can also request support using the online support forms or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Is It Worth It?
Human Interest is a leading low-cost 401k provider for small businesses. Employers who see 401k plans as a huge headache may be happy to pay a company like Human Interest to provide that service for them. Other providers may provide more features at a lower price, but prices tend to vary based on the number of employees and other factors.
Especially cost-conscious employers should price compare between Ubiquity, Guideline and Human Interest. Those focused more on functionality may want to compare between Guideline, Betterment, and Employee Fiduciary.
Human Interest Features
0.50% AUM + 0.07% average fund fees
Mutual funds only
100+ supported payroll providers
None (online-only provider)
Customer Service Number
Customer Service Hours
Monday - Friday, 9 AM to 8 PM (ET)
Mobile App Availability
Web/Desktop Account Access
Human Interest 401k Review
Pricing and Fees
Human Interest is a low-cost 401k provider that caters to small and medium-sized businesses.
- Employee payroll integration
- Human Interest can act as a fiduciary
- Transparent pricing
- Employees can have managed portfolios
- More expensive than other low-cost 401k plan providers
- Only supports mutual fund investing
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him on the About Page, or on his personal site RobertFarrington.com.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.