Based on an interview with Jared Porter,
Co-founder and CEO of 401GO
|Value proposition:||401k, investments, employee benefits, fiduciary, technology, and innovation|
|The executive team:||Jared Porter, Co-founder, and CEO
Nate Beck, Co-founder, and CTO
Josh Malan, Co-founder, and CDO
Daniel Beck, Co-founder, and CMO
Aidan Yeaw, Advisor/Board Member
Through integration and automation, 401GO has created an entirely new way to save for retirement – that’s what the main 401GO website says and that’s true. People don’t want to go through durable and complex procedures when it comes to saving; they only create stress and confusion, especially today when the whole world shifts to digitalization and simplicity. Alongside making retirement planning easier, it provides affordable pricing and access to individualized guided portfolios to people from every social layer and age, including young people and millennials. The company was founded three years ago and has shown growth since that time, despite the market for retirement planning solutions is well-established. But let us go in stages and outline what product advantages and inner company workings we have discussed with Jared Porter, 401GO’s CEO and co-founder, during the interview.
Conquering big players
We started from the technology and people that stand behind the 401GO product. According to Jared, to conquer a retirement planning market a startup should be extra flexible and customizable.
There are 4 very large and very old record-keepers out there in the retirement savings world. They haven’t had a facelift or change (too much) to what they built many years ago. 401GO, however, is original and customized from the ground up! That means full-stack and that means flexibility for our own destiny.
To provide outstanding service and special offers to their clients, 401GO leverages technology to strengthen relationships and to improve in many other ways. Of course, none of the experiments with new technologies should compromise customer data security. That’s why 401Go has two-factor authentication and bank-level security. Jared highlights that it’s incredibly important to protect retirement savings from security breaches and other potential mishaps that can occur.
The big part of the company security and success is people. 401GO’s team consists of people from many different backgrounds and expertise. Jared believes having different viewpoints along with understanding the core requirements are what strengthen everything about their product.
Managing product and roadmaps
Product success is in its right positioning, integrations, and unique features. There is a huge need for small businesses to save for retirement, along with being able to have an easy-to-use benefit without taking away from what they’re trying to do in their business, Jared says.
Partnerships are important in order to connect with as many businesses as possible to promote and encourage saving for retirement. 401GO is integrated with many payroll providers, and work with financial advisors, CPAs, chambers of commerce, associations, and even PEOs. They also are one of the first to have a direct integration with Matrix Trust (a custodian company).
“We are better together! Our focus is on making the experience of our partners a powerful one so they can help spread the good word of automated retirement savings.”
New features are also important to ensure product success. For example, the 401GO is going to have an IRA solution later this year, and investment HSA in 2021, according to Jared. In building a roadmap, Jared sees flexibility and speed most important factors, along with customer feedback which is grabbed and used by the company to provide the best quality service.
Yes, we have an open-door policy for our clients on feedback. We love hearing what things can make us better. […] In-house development is what has been extremely important for us to quickly produce a quality product, but more importantly, continue to produce quality releases and updates.
Retirement planning through a lens of the pandemic
I couldn’t help but to ask Jared about millennials: how many of them use 401GO? Has this client segment changed their perception of retirement planning or not because of the coronavirus crisis?
We have many millennial customers. They have been great on feedback and vision. We think that there are important elements we should incorporate and use to excite and motivate a younger generation to start saving or at least think about retirement and what that will look like. Their input gives us a more well-rounded and objective view of what we can improve.
From the practical side, the pandemic made the company make some adjustments in pricing plans. For example, today they do not charge a setup or base fee. Jared thinks a retirement savings solution should have no strings attached to get started, be easy to use, and affordable for the business.
As for the inner company routines, Jared admits that they don’t know anything other than an environment with quarantine and social distancing.
It’s not a change in routine as we’ve already embraced the cyber world and virtual networking and meeting that has become more commonplace.
Wealth management shifts to saving and planning
What’s about the current trends in retirement planning, Jared notes it’s easy to overestimate things, but most are very careful about “prophecies” on what will happen to the market. He adds that the trend is going in the direction of more awareness and sensitivity for the future with a younger generation than there has been in the past.
Retirement planning and wealth management is part of that, but I think it takes a little bit of work to shift the focus to saving and planning instead of fear and angst, and perhaps the stagnation that occurs when there is no plan in place. […] I would say that I think that there will be a big shift toward a retirement saving benefit as these are more affordable and easy-to-use for businesses. Technology will keep this at the forefront and it’s trending that way with the many different FinTech solutions.
The success of any company is greatly affected by the current challenges and their ability to cope with such challenges. This makes companies that provide a brand-new look to how a service should be delivered stand out from a crowd and be resilient to changes in the business world. 401GO has everything to be that resilient – their mission is to add stability to our lives and put people at top of mind.
I would say the biggest thing is that there will always be something, and retirement planning is about time horizon and risk tolerance. You can borrow trouble all the time, but it’s not going to help you plan for the future if you’re stagnant in the present. We value people more than anything, and people’s future should include retirement planning and savings.