Guidant Financial 401(k) business financing review
Fund your startup without going into debt — just keep in mind your retirement savings are on the line.
- Best for borrowers with a well-funded, qualifying retirement plan who are confident their business will succeed.
- Pick something else if you need funds quickly or don't want to restructure into a C corporation.
How much will this 401(k) business financing cost me?
Guidant charges a one-time flat fee of $4,995 if you decide to move forward with a ROBS plan using its services. It also charges a monthly 401(k) plan administration fee of $139. The two fees cover:
- Access to a dedicated account manager
- IRS audit protection
- Independent counsel to review the rollover
- In-house 401(k) plan management
- Business services, including bookkeeping software discounts
Both fees are on the high side compared to Guidant Financial's competitors. However, it claims to be the only service to offer independent counsel. And it offers referral and other credit programs to discount the ongoing plan administration fee.
How does it work?
If you can’t qualify for a standard bank loan and don’t want to go into debt, then 401(k) financing — with no interest, no collateral and no minimum credit score — may be a good fit. But, you must have at least $50,000 in rollable retirement assets to qualify.
A ROBS plan allows you to access your existing retirement account without taking penalties through a process of rolling those retirement funds into a new plan that belongs to a C corporation you own. Guidant Financial helps you through the process and protects you in the event of an IRS audit. It also can act as the plan administrator for your new C corporation 401(k) retirement plan after the ROBS plan is complete.
What do I need to qualify?
You don't need a minimum credit score or collateral to prequalify for a ROBS with Guidant. However, you will need to meet a few other requirements:
- Business structure. Your business must be registered as a C corporation, or you must be willing to restructure it into one.
- Eligible retirement plan. You must have at least $50,000 in rollable retirement assets. Eligible accounts include 401(k), 403(b), Keogh, SEP, SIMPLE and more.
- Employee of your business. You have to be a registered employee of your business to qualify.
What information do I need to apply?
You will need the following information to prequalify for a ROBS with Guidant Financial:
- Name and contact information
- Credit score
- Cash and savings balances
- Nonretirement investment balances
- Non-Roth retirement balances
- What you'll be using the financing for
- How much financing you need
What makes Guidant Financial unique?
With Guidant, if you don’t have enough funds in your retirement plan to cover the costs of your business financing, you can combine plans by using your ROBS as a down payment on an SBA loan.
And in the case of a ROBS audit, Guidant will provide outside legal support, audit protection and cover all legal fees — unlike many competitors out there.
What industries does Guidant Financial work with?
Guidant Financial doesn't provide a list of industries it serves. In general, a ROBS plan can be used to finance any kind of business as long as it's a C corporation, including buying a franchise.
What other types of financing does Guidant Financial offer?
Besides ROBS, Guidant also offers the following types of financing.
Get an SBA 7(a) business loan or working capital loan through Guidant Financial. The normal $2,500 setup fee for either type of SBA loan is waived when you also use Guidant to set up your ROBS plan.
If you have a credit score of 690 or higher, you could qualify for an unsecured loan with a revolving term. A setup fee of 9% of the loan amount is required. But you may be able to qualify for a 0% introductory interest rate for the first year.
Secure a business loan with your portfolio. Amounts start at $85,000 and go up to 80% of your portfolio balance. Terms are revolving, so you can borrow from the loan again as you repay it.
Get access to equipment you need in as little as two business days when you meet the minimum eligibility requirements. Funding starts at $10,000, and repayment terms go up to five years.
- Financing isn't reliant on your credit score
- Accepts all ROBS-eligible retirement plans
- Provides outside legal support and audit protection
- Credits available for referrals, connecting payroll and returning documents early
- Higher setup and plan maintenance costs compared to other ROBS
- Funding can take three or more weeks
See other top business loan options
Is Guidant Financial legit?
Yes, Guidant Financial is a legit company that offers more than just 401(k) business financing. It works with well-known franchises like UPS, FedEx and Menchie's, and was named a top franchise supplier in 2019 by Entrepreneur.
Guidant Financial reviews and complaints
|BBB customer reviews||1 out of 5 stars, based on 2 customer reviews|
|BBB customer complaints||8 customer complaints|
|Customer reviews verified as of||12 October 2020|
There aren’t many reviews from customers of Guidant Financial available online — but what’s there isn’t great. The only two customers who left reviews on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) reported the same thing: Once they chose to work with Guidant, getting answers was difficult and representatives didn’t return phone calls.
There's no listing for Guidant Financial on Trustpilot. However, there are a few disgruntled customers on Yelp. To Guidant’s credit, all complaints on both Yelp and the BBB have been addressed.
How do I apply?
You can start your application online, but you'll need to talk with a member of the Guidant Financial team over the phone before you get funded.
- Go to the Guidant Financial website.
- Under Fund your business, select 401(k) business financing.
- Fill in your first and last name, email address and phone number, and select Get started.
- Select what the financing will be used for.
- Enter how much you have in your retirement account.
- Select your credit score.
- Enter the value of your nonretirement investments.
- Select how soon you need funding.
- Enter how much funding you need.
- Enter the balances held in your checking and savings accounts.
- Select Contact us to request follow up by phone or email.
What happens after I apply?
You'll be contacted by a member of Guidant’s financial consultant team who will guide you through the process and be available when you have questions. When you’re confident with your decision to use a ROBS plan, you'll be asked for additional information on your business.
Still not sure a ROBS from Guidant Financial is for you? Take a look at all your financing options with our guide to business loans.
Frequently asked questions
Kathryn Pomroy was a writer for Finder, specializing in loans. She has written for dozens of major publications, small businesses and many well-known personal finance companies, including LendingTree, Money Crashers, Quickbooks/Intuit, BankRate, LendEDU and more. Kathryn holds a BA in Journalism and drinks super bold coffee while eating peanut butter and honey toast.
If you have at least $50,000 in an eligible retirement account and the $4,995 startup fee on hand, Guidant Financial is a great option for using a Rollover for Business Startups (ROBS) plan to start a business. It also offers 401(k) plan administration for $139 a month, including audit protection and required reporting and testing.
Because Guidant Financial offers funding solutions beyond ROBS plans, it can also help with financing beyond what your retirement plan can offer — like an SBA loan. However, the plan administration fee runs higher than similar lenders.
Want to find more traditional loan options? Compare business loan providers below.