The California way to 401(k)

Meet the state retirement mandate with an affordable, powerful retirement plan.

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Guideline 401k
Guideline 401k

Get a small business 401(k) that gives you more

  • An image of a puzzle representing the flexibility and customization options available with Guideline 401(k) plans.

    Customize your plan

    With a Guideline 401(k), you have more options. Employer matching, profit sharing, vesting schedules, eligibility requirements—you can add these features to fit your business and create a stronger retirement benefit.

  • An image showing the low-cost investment options and zero transaction fees available with Guideline 401(k) plans.

    Help employees save 3x more

    With a 401(k), your employees can contribute more than they could with an IRA. With a Guideline account, they’ll get access to low-cost investments and zero transaction fees.

  • A visual representation of Guideline 401(k) dashboard for employee onboarding and payroll management.

    Simplify your day-to-day

    We can connect with top payroll providers to automate plan administration and employee onboarding—so you can add a popular work benefit without all the added paperwork. We also take care of investments, government filings, and more.

  • An infographic showing the different investment options available through Guideline 401(k) plans.

    Give your employees confidence

    We provide 40+ investment options and professionally managed portfolios. We also provide educational webinars, portfolio recommendations, and live support—so your employees can start saving with confidence.

CalSavers, explained

The CalSavers Retirement Savings Program was created to encourage more people to save for retirement. It requires employers with 5 or more California-based employees to provide access to a retirement plan.

As an employer, you can choose the type of plan you’d like to offer: the state-sponsored plan or a qualified CalSavers alternative, like a Guideline 401(k).

Now is the time to start a retirement plan, meet the mandate and avoid potential penalties.

  • Deadline

    June 30, 2022

    Enforcement actions are pending
  • Businesses impacted

    5+ employees

    The deadline for newly eligible businesses is Dec. 31, 2023.

Compare a Guideline 401(k) Core or Enterprise plan with CalSavers

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  • Retirement plan type

    Roth & Pre-tax 401(k)

    Roth IRA

  • Maximum employee contributions for 2024



  • Employee asset-based fee dependent of plan tier


    ($15 to $35 for every $10,000)


    ($30 for every $10,000)

  • Additional active employee fees


    $18/year account fee

    (charged quarterly at $4.50 each quarter)

  • Monthly employer fee

    $89 - $149 + Up to $8 per participant


  • Investment options



  • Professionally managed portfolios



  • Employer match



  • Profit sharing




See how much your employees can save


Estimate your plan costs

If you’re starting a new 401(k), your small business may be eligible to receive up to $16,500 in tax credits over the plan’s first three years to help offset initial plan costs.

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California retirement mandate FAQs

What is the mandate?

Employers are required to offer a retirement savings plan if they have 5 or more California-based employees, and if at least one of those employees is 18 or older. The plan can either be a private plan like a 401(k) or the state administered plan, CalSavers.

When does the mandate take effect?

The final deadline for most businesses was June 30, 2022. (Businesses that become newly eligible for CalSavers in 2022 have a Dec. 31, 2022 deadline.) Employers with 5 or more California-based employees are required to provide access to a retirement plan. If you missed the deadline, go to the CalSavers site for more information.

Which employers are impacted by the retirement mandate?

Employers with 5 or more California-based employees, with at least one of whom is age 18.

Does Guideline satisfy the retirement mandate?

Yes. Guideline's 401(k) plans are designed and priced with small businesses in mind. Starting a Guideline 401(k) satisfies the California retirement mandate.

I just started my business in 2022. Do I need to comply?

Yes you do. But as a newly eligible business, you have until December 31, 2023, to sign up for CalSavers or offer a qualified retirement plan.