Human Interest keeps costs down for employers and employees, offering low-cost plans with a lot of features and functionality. When you work with Human Interest, you get affordable full-service retirement plans, earning it our best pick for affordability.
Human Interest is an online employee retirement benefits provider that specializes in providing cost-effective, easy-to-use 401(k) plans to small businesses. Using Human Interest, business owners can get benefits plans that start at just $120 per month, plus $4 per employee per month, including full recordkeeping, administration tools and seamless payroll integration. For this reason, Human Interest is our best pick for affordable employee retirement provider.
9.6 / 10
Human Interest is the best employee retirement provider for affordability because it’s both cost-effective and more transparent about pricing than many other providers in the space. The $4-per-employee charge is relatively low, especially for plans that offer easy payroll integration as well as full plan administration and recordkeeping.
Additionally, Human Interest entirely covers certain required fees that all other vendors charge. For example, in late 2020, Human Interest began covering the fee for employees taking distributions early. With Human Interest, even compared to other low-cost vendors such as ShareBuilder 401k, you get more value per dollar spent.
|Automated administration and recordkeeping||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Human Interest acts as 3(16) fiduciary||No||Yes||Yes|
|Dedicated account management||No||No||Yes|
Essentials is Human Interest’s basic plan. It includes automated administration and recordkeeping, as well as integration with more than 300 payroll providers. Employers can customize plans to include safe harbor plans and Roth and traditional 401(k) plans and 403(b) plans. The Essentials plan also enables employers to design vesting schedules and includes automatic enrollment, employer matching contributions and more.
In addition to the integrations and automations available through the Essentials plan, Complete plan customers get more advanced services from Human Interest’s team. With this option, Human Interest acts as plan administrator and 3(16) fiduciary. The Complete plan also includes tax support, in that Human Interest signs and files IRS documents. Human Interest will also procure your ERISA bond at this tier.
Concierge is Human Interest’s most comprehensive employee retirement plan. Employers get access to all of the features included in the Complete plan, plus dedicated account management, which further streamlines administration and makes it easier to provide employee retirement benefits. However, other brands such as ShareBuilder 401k offer dedicated account management at all pricing tiers.
Concierge customers also get a single point of contact for plan administration and compliance. These customers also don’t have meeting caps, additional fees or minimum requirements. Plan design consultation and document review will occur on an ongoing basis as well.
Human Interest offers several types of retirement plans. Each plan has its own rules and regulations, as determined by the IRS.
Human Interest keeps investment options simple for employees, focusing on a short lineup of mostly stock and bond mutual funds. Through Human Interest, employees also get access to some funds with international exposure and a couple of funds focused on real estate. However, Human Interest’s primary goal is to offer a selection of cost-effective funds that are diversified and easy to choose from. The company offers the following types of investments:
While Human Interest doesn’t offer a ton of investment options, it focuses on minimizing employee expenses and risk and limiting them to choices that offer diversification. This makes it easy for employees to choose investment options that don’t involve too much risk to their nest egg. This balance of relatively few investment options and a focus on low costs is also true of ShareBuilder 401k, our top pick for low fees.
With all of Human Interest’s retirement plans, a one-time $499 setup fee may apply. In addition to the plan costs incurred by employers, enrolled employees pay 0.5% per year on their plan assets, plus 0.07% average fund fees.
Signing up for Human Interest is pretty simple. Start by navigating to the Get Started button on the homepage and identifying the number of employees your business has. Then, select which payroll provider you use and indicate whether your business has an existing retirement plan and, if so, what kind.
Finally, provide contact information so a Human Interest representative can contact you. A Human Interest representative told us that, according to company data, the average time it takes to navigate this online setup process is three minutes. You can also call the company directly or submit your contact information online to schedule a call with a Human Interest representative.
Once you set up a retirement plan with Human Interest, administration and payroll are largely integrated. Although there are a number of helpful resources in the online support center, Concierge users can also direct questions to their dedicated account manager.
Plan participation is also easy for employees, as Human Interest emails instructions for creating an account, setting a contribution rate, choosing investments and opting out. The employee account user interface is clear, clean and crisp as well – significantly more so, in fact, than we found in our review of Paychex. (We do nevertheless highly recommend Paychex for all-in-one service.)
An employee dashboard makes managing retirement investments easy Source: Human Interest
If you’re considering Human Interest for your business’s employee retirement needs, it’s easy to contact the sales team by phone or online form. Human Interest employers and employees can contact support via telephone Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. A Human Interest representative told us that 97% of incoming support calls reach an actual person within 30 seconds.
If you prefer another customer service method, you can fill out a contact form through the Human Interest Support Center. Plan administrators can contact customer support directly through their account representatives.
Additionally, during setup, Human Interest connects all customers, regardless of pricing tier, with an onboarding specialist. After setup, Concierge-tier customers can easily reach their dedicated account manager.
One of the biggest drawbacks we identified when reviewing Human Interest is its one-time installation fee of $499. Although setup fees are common throughout the employee retirement benefits industry, Human Interest charges an especially high fee. The company sometimes waives this fee when running promotions, however, and may be open to negotiation.
Additionally, Human Interest provides dedicated account management only for customers on its highest pricing tier. Other brands such as USA 401k offer this service for all paying customers. That said, all Human Interest customers receive extensive automated administration and recordkeeping. As such, dedicated account management may be more of a nice to have than a need for Human Interest customers.
Human Interest also lacks solo 401(k) options, as the brand is clearly geared toward employers looking to near-fully automate plan administration. Other brands that do offer this plan include ShareBuilder 401k, which may be a better fit for sole proprietors.
To choose our best pick for affordability, we examined employee retirement benefits providers that keep costs low and don’t charge excessive fees. When reviewing companies, we considered the overall costs of setup and maintenance fees and the plan price per employee per month.
Next, we considered the breadth of features and services these affordable plan providers offer. We chose Human Interest as our top pick for affordability because it offers a wide array of investment options and automated administration and recordkeeping. It does so while covering certain mandatory costs that other vendors always charge. This means you get more value for every dollar you spend with Human Interest.
Human Interest is a very sound company specializing in streamlined online offerings. The company, which was valued at $1 billion in its August 2021 round of fundraising, offers a core lineup of employer-sponsored retirement plans that are easy to set up and administer.
Human Interest is an excellent 401(k) provider. While the company isn’t the absolute cheapest option available, it’s extremely transparent and very reasonably priced. What’s more, the company handles all plan administration and recordkeeping, integrates easily with company payroll, and can even act as a plan fiduciary – all for a small, transparent fee. Plus, it pays for certain mandatory fees that your employees might incur rather than passing them along, increasing the brand’s affordability.
Human Interest is a startup that was founded by Paul Sawaya and Roger Lee. It also has outside investors, including SoftBank, NewView Capital, Glynn Capital, U.S. Venture Partners, Wing Venture Capital, Uncork Capital, Slow Capital and Susa Ventures.
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Dock Treece also contributed to this article.