The Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company is a group of financial services and insurance companies based in the US. The Nationwide 401k plan is one of the several retirement, insurance, and banking services it provides. The company also functions as an investment and brokerage firm – a company that acts as the middleman between buyers and sellers of financial securities.
Nationwide was founded in 1926 as the Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, and is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. The company has over 30,000 employees, generates an annual revenue of $43.27 billion, and sits at number 66 on the Fortune 500.
Nationwide Leadership Team
Kirt Walker – Chief Executive Officer
John Carter – President & Chief Operating Officer
Mark Thresher – Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
Michael Mahaffey – Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer
Terrance Williams – Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Nationwide 401k Plan Overview
Here are the highlights of Nationwide’s 401k Plan.
Nationwide has two main retirement programs: the Nationwide Retirement Flexible Advantage and Nationwide Retirement Flexible Advantage Foundations.
The former is for plans with more than $1 million in assets. You can build a custom portfolio from over 1,500 funds, and receive optional third-party fiduciary services from IRON Financial, as well as, on-site or virtual participant support.
The Foundations plan is for companies with less than $1 million in assets. This plan provides you with streamlined services, a built-in 3(38) investment fiduciary service from IRON Financial, and virtual participant support.
Nationwide has an app on both Google Play and the App Store. You can use it to view your account balance, manage your investments, check your plan status, and more. The app is optimized for most devices and is easy to use.
The company also has a ‘My Interactive Retirement Planner’ program that helps participants plan their 401k and retirement savings effectively. The easy-to-navigate online tool lets you roll outside assets into your plan, engage, and increase contributions. It also helps increase your retirement readiness and lets you focus on more important aspects of your business, such as employee benefits.
Range of Features
Nationwide’s Health Savings Account, administered by HealthEquity, is part of their retirement plan offering. It helps reduce health benefit costs and makes it easier for you to receive healthcare after retirement. The program also helps educate participants on the benefits of an HSA, and the steps they have to take to adopt it.
The company’s retirement readiness experience helps participants understand their financial needs during and after retirement. This lets them reduce the gap between anticipated retirement needs and projected retirement income.
To better inform and educate participants, Nationwide provides educational lessons and resources, through which dedicated field service representatives provide on-site support and guidance. Auto-enrollment ensures high deferral rates and participation.
You can invest in a range of annuities, mutual funds, and ETFs. The investment options come from several known brands in various industries, along with a select set of Nationwide-branded mutual funds. These are managed by third-party money managers.
If you want to become an advanced investor, the Nationwide ProAccount (a managed account service) will help you invest better. You get professional investment management, frequent communications, and continuous oversight by Nationwide investment experts. The ProAccount ensures that your investment account gives you maximum returns (depending on how much risk you’re willing to take).
Nationwide has several customer support and service lines. To find out more about the Nationwide 401k plan, you can contact their sales department at 1-888-262-4015. For customer service, call 1-888-867-5175.
You also have access to a network of approved financial advisors who help you optimize your plan, as well as, advise you before and during investment. To contact a financial advisor, call 1-877-245-0761.
Fees, Costs & Expenses
Nationwide charges a 1% annual fee for all plans. This covers the program fee, financial advisor fee, as well as, the administration & recordkeeping expenses.
The Foundations plan doesn’t have a minimum, but the Advantage plan does (a minimum of $50,000 first-year plan assets).
For more information on the fees and costs, contact Nationwide a get a quote.
Nationwide 401k Review
Nationwide has a strong 401k plan, but there are positives and negatives to every financial offering. Here are the most noteworthy pros and cons of Nationwide’s 401k plan.
Nationwide 401k Pros
The following are some points that set Nationwide apart as a brokerage company:
- Nationwide has a BrightScope Rating of 77, which is the average among similar companies.
- The company comes in the top 15% of companies for 401k participation rate, salary deferral, account balances, and total plan cost.
- The company has a wide variety of investment options and portfolios.
- Nationwide’s mobile app and online platform are extremely easy to navigate. They’re designed to be user-friendly and provide all plan-related information.
- Most of its clients appreciate Nationwide’s customer service. Access to financial advisors, sales agents, and service centers ensures that you’re always taken care of.
- The company allows for plan customizability so you can develop the 401k plan as part of your flexible benefits plan.
The integration of an HSA into the retirement plan gives the company an edge over others. It provides a solution to one of the most essential problems faced by retirees – healthcare after retirement.
What is Nationwide Best Known for?
With over 55,000 active participants across the US and more than $6.0 billion in plan assets, Nationwide is best known for providing a wide array of investment options (over 1,500 different funds).
Nationwide is best for:
- Beginner Investors
- High-Balance Customers
- Seasoned Investors
- Platform-Conscious Traders
Nationwide’s ProAccount provides competitive investment management services that adjust your investment strategy according to the level of risk you’re comfortable with.
Other Brokerage Firm Alternatives
You can compare Nationwide with the following competitor companies to get a better idea of the quality of their service.
- State Farm – Founded in 1922 by George J. Mecherle, the company specializes in insurance, investing, and banking services. State Farm has over 18,000 agents, 343 claim officers, and 30 operation centers in the US. Headquartered in Bloomington, Illinois, the company is ranked at number 36 on the Fortune 500 and made $81.73 billion in revenue in 2018.
- Berkshire Hathaway – Originally a textile company founded in 1839, BH was bought by Warren Buffet in 1962. Today, the company specializes in diversified investments, insurance, real estate, brokerage services, utilities, and more. It is the third-largest public company in the world, according to Forbes Global 2000, and has the most expensive class-A shares traded on the New York Stock Exchange ($313,350). Currently headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, the company generates an annual revenue of $247.5 billion.
- Allstate – The American insurance giant was founded in 1931 and is currently headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois. It currently sits at number 79 on the Fortune 500, with generated $39.81 billion in revenue in 2018. The company specializes in auto products, insurance, investment, banking, and retirement services. Allstate has a BrightScope Rating of 74 and has over $5.5 billion in plan assets.
Compared to its competitors, Nationwide has better retirement services with better ratings and overall employee experience.
Nationwide 401k vs Student Loan Benefits
As per a survey that involved around 1,000 millennial workers with student loan debt, about 49% people said that they’d rather receive assistance with paying off their debt, than 401k plans.
Considering that, many companies, including Nationwide, have student loan assistance (or tuition reimbursement) programs in place for their employees.
In order to ease things for the employers, the following acts were proposed:
Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act
The “Retirement Parity for Student Loans Act” was proposed in the year 2018 to help employers pay off the student loan debt of their employees by leveraging their retirement plans. Under this act, the “educational” contributions made are to be considered the same as standard salary-deductible contributions made towards retirement plans.
Employer Participation in Repayment Act
The “Employer Participation in Repayment Act” was proposed in early 2019 by US Senator John Thune, with the goal of providing tax-relief to employers offering to help pay off the student loans of their employees. Under this act, employers can make up to $5,250, tax-free contributions.
To pair with this new tax-free contribution are companies like FutureFuel.io which offer student loan assistance as a benefit to the likes of Salesforce and Transamerica. FutureFuel provides a dashboard for employees to manage their student debt and understand how close they are to paying it off with employer contributions. Moreover, it syncs seamlessly with the employer contributions to help put employee retention on autopilot.
Is the Nationwide 401k Plan Right for You?
Nationwide provides a good retirement plan option for both small and large companies. With effective plan features, HAS administered by HealthEquity, a well-planned retirement readiness experience, and constant plan support & education, Nationwide’s 401k plan is one of the better options.
It’s best to compare Nationwide’s 401k plan with other company plans before making a decision.