Guidant Financial Review: Use Retirement Funds to Start a Business

Guidant Financial is a great choice for SBA loans, especially if you want to comparison shop. The lender also offers 401k financing to help you start or buy a business.

Editor's Rating

4.5

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Large loan amounts
  • Longer repayment terms

Bad for

  • Borrowers with poor to fair credit
  • Businesses that need funds quickly
  • Borrowers who have declared bankruptcy

Guidant Financial Review: Use Retirement Funds to Start a Business

Guidant Financial is a great choice for SBA loans, especially if you want to comparison shop. The lender also offers 401k financing to help you start or buy a business.

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Large loan amounts
  • Longer repayment terms

Bad for

  • Borrowers with poor to fair credit
  • Businesses that need funds quickly
  • Borrowers who have declared bankruptcy

Editor's Rating

4.5

Guidant Financial Review: Use Retirement Funds to Start a Business

Editor's Rating

4.5

Good for

  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Large loan amounts
  • Longer repayment terms

Bad for

  • Borrowers with poor to fair credit
  • Businesses that need funds quickly
  • Borrowers who have declared bankruptcy
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Advertiser Disclosure

Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers that appear on this website are from companies which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). The site does not review or include all companies or all available products.

Disclaimer: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the issuer. We may be compensated through the issuer’s Affiliate Program. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

Guidant Financial is a small business financing firm that focuses on providing capital to borrowers start or buy a business. Since 2003, Guidant has helped over 14,000 business owners secure more than $3 billion in financing. If you have at least $50,000 in an eligible retirement account, Guidant Financial is a great option for using a ROBS plan to start a business. Guidant also offers SBA loans up to $5 million, making them an attractive option for borrowers with strong credit scores.

Guidant Financial Review: Who Should Apply?

Guidant Financial is good for business owners who are looking to start or buy a business using 401(k) funding or are looking for an SBA loan. Guidant offers 401(k) funding through Rollovers as Business Startups (ROBS) for entrepreneurs who have at least $50,000 in eligible retirement funds. If you’d rather get a loan, Guidant offers competitive SBA loans for qualified borrowers.

Good For...Bad For...
  • Borrowers with good to excellent credit
  • Large loan amounts
  • Longer repayment terms
  • Borrowers with poor to fair credit
  • Businesses that need funds quickly
  • Borrowers who have declared bankruptcy

Most ROBS transactions through Guidant are completed within three weeks, making it a good option for entrepreneurs to start a business quickly and debt-free. There are also no credit requirements to qualify for a ROBS plan through Guidant. In addition, most types of retirement plans are eligible, including 401(k)s, traditional IRAs, 403(b)s, Keogh plans, SEP IRAs, and Thrift Savings Plans (Roth IRAs are not eligible). You also don’t have to worry too much about any legal or tax ramifications of your ROBS plan as Guidant offers legal support and audit protection through its maintenance services. Guidant also pays for its clients to consult with outside legal counsel who don’t work for Guidant. In the case of a ROBS plan audit, Guidant will pay for all legal fees.

Guidant is also a good choice for SBA loans, especially if you are looking to comparison shop. When apply through Guidant, your loan application will be packaged and sent to multiple lenders, meaning you may get multiple loan offers. There is a packaging fee of $2,500 for this service, but Guidant offers a money-back guarantee if you are pre-approved for an SBA loan but aren’t able to get funding for some reason.

Guidant Financial ROBS and SBA Loan Features

Guidant offers two main financing products: a 401(k) business financing plan (or ROBS) and SBA loans.

Rollover as Business Startup Features

While a ROBS may not be ideal for every entrepreneur—you are, after all, risking your retirement funds—they can be a good option to start a business debt-free. Guidant only requires that you have $50,000 in an eligible account to qualify.

How Do I Qualify for a Guidant Financial ROBS?

At least $50,000 in rollable retirement assets

Funding Amount RangeUp to 100% of eligible retirement funds
APR RangeN/A
Fees
  • One-time setup fee: $4,995
  • Monthly 401(k) plan maintenance fee (optional): $119

Loan TermsN/A
Repayment OptionsN/A

SBA Loan Features

Guidant offers 7(a) loans and allows you to see loan offers from multiple lenders. SBA loans offer some of the most competitive rates and terms of any loans and are a good choice for borrowers with strong credit scores.

How Do I Qualify for a Guidant Financial SBA Loan?
  • Minimum personal credit score: 640
  • Minimum FICO SBSS LiquidCredit Score: 160
  • Minimum cash down payment: 20% for existing business or 30% for startup
  • Industry experience preferred
  • Secondary income preferred

Loan Amount RangeUp to $5 million
APR Range0.065
Fees
  • Packaging fee: $2,500
  • SBA loan fees: Varies
Loan Terms10 years
Repayment Options10 years

Guidant Financial Application Process

To apply, you’ll need to complete a pre-qualification application, which only takes a few minutes. The application will ask about your available retirement funds, credit score and whether you’re looking to start a new business or purchase an existing one. After completing the application, you’ll be able to see different funding options and the maximum amount you may qualify for. Once you prequalify, a financing expert from Guidant will contact you to complete the rest of the application process. On average, ROBS transactions take three weeks to complete, and SBA loans take several weeks to months to fund.

Guidant Financial Application Process
Guidant Financial Application Process

How Does Guidant Financial Compare to Other Financing Firms?

Guidant offers competitive rates for both 401(k) business financing and SBA loans, but you may be interested in what other financing firms can provide (also make sure to take a look at our top picks for small business loans).

Guidant Financial vs. Benetrends

Benetrends is one of the oldest ROBS plan providers, having been started in 1983 (Guidant was founded in 2003). Since its founding, Benetrends has closed over 12,000 ROBS plans, amounting to over $4 billion in funding. The company does not disclose its fees unless you sign up for their ROBS plan, but they are able to fund plans in as fast as 10 days. Like Guidant, they also offer audit protection services in the event that your plan gets audited by the IRS. However, unlike Guidant, Benetrends does not offer access to outside legal counsel.

Guidant Financial vs. SmartBiz

If you can’t qualify for an SBA loan through Guidant Financial, SmartBiz is another good option for an SBA loan. While both SmartBiz and Guidant offer SBA loans up to $5 million, SmartBiz has less stringent credit requirements. SmartBiz requires a minimum personal credit score of 600 to qualify for any loan up to $150,000, and a minimum of 675 to qualify for any loan over $150,000. Additionally, the minimum FICO SBSS LiquidCredit Score to qualify is 150, which is 10 points lower than the minimum at Guidant Financial.

Guidant Financial vs. FranFund

Using a ROBs plan from FranFund is a little less expensive to set up than one from Guidant Financial, with an initial setup fee of $4,795 and a monthly fee of $120. Like Guidant Financial, FranFund can fund ROBS plans within three weeks and they offer support in case of audit, though they close less plans annually than Guidant does. Both providers work with franchises (which are one of the most common uses of ROBS funds), but up to 95% of FranFund ROBS clients are franchisees.

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