The Illinois 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

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

    Simplify your day-to-day

    At Guideline, we’ve teamed up with top providers—like Gusto, QuickBooks and Square—to automate plan administration and employee onboarding. We also take care of investments, government filings, and 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 pay no transaction fees.

  • 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.

Illinois retirement mandate, explained

The Illinois Secure Choice program was created to encourage more people to save for retirement. It requires employers to provide access to a retirement plan if they have 5-15 Illinois-based employees and have been in operation for at least two years.

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

  • Businesses impacted

    5-15 employees

  • Deadline

    Nov 1, 2023

Compare a Guideline 401(k) with Illinois Secure Choice

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Illinois Secure Choice
  • Retirement plan type


    Roth IRA

  • Maximum employee contributions for 2023



  • Annual employee account fee


    ($8 for every $10,000)

    0.60 - 0.73%

    ($60-$73 for every $10,000)

  • Monthly employer fee

    Starting at $49/month + $8 per active participant


  • Investment options



  • Employer match



  • Professionally managed portfolios



  • Profit sharing




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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Illinois retirement mandate FAQs

What is the mandate?

Employers who have been in operation for at least 2 years and have 16 or more employees are required to provide access to a retirement plan. The plan can either be a private plan like a 401(k) or the state-sponsored plan.

When does the mandate take effect?

For companies with 16-24 employees, the registration deadline is November 1, 2022.
For companies with 5-15 employees, the registration deadline is November 1, 2023.
For companies with 25+ employees, the deadline has already passed. Enforcement for non-compliant employers with 25 or more employees will begin in early 2023.

Which employers are impacted by the retirement mandate?

For the November 1, 2022 deadline, Employers with 16 or more employees whose business has been in operation for at least 2 years.

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 Illinois retirement mandate.