Start saving right away — enjoy $0 base fee for 12 months

Help meet your state retirement mandate with a simple, powerful Guideline 401(k), and get 12 months with a $0 base fee.

Gusto is not a client of Guideline. Guideline pays a fee for each 401(k) and SEP IRA client referred by Gusto as outlined in our written arrangement with Gusto. We'll provide additional disclosures prior to opening an account with Guideline. See our Privacy Policy to learn how we use and protect your information.


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The mandate in a nutshell

The Illinois Secure Choice program was established in 2018. It requires Illinois employers with 5+ employees that have been in business for 2+ years to offer the state-sponsored plan or a qualified alternative like a Guideline 401(k). Compare your options

  • 5+ employees

    Initial deadlines have passed, sign up immediately to avoid penalties

Meet the mandate and more with a Guideline 401(k)

  • Simple setup

    Get started in 20 minutes. We’ll help you choose a plan that meets the mandate and your business’s goals.

  • Automated busywork

    Our custom built integration with Gusto means no need to maintain deductions or manually re-enter payroll data.

  • Live support

    You and your team get access to live support, guided employee onboarding, a mobile app, and more.

Compare Illinois Secure Choice with Guideline Starter

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Illinois Secure Choice
  • Retirement plan type

    Starter 401(k)

    Roth IRA

  • Maximum employee contributions for 2024



  • Employee asset-based fee


    ($15 for every $10,000)


    ($30 for every $10,000)

  • Additional active employee fees


    $16/year account fee

    (charged quarterly at $4 each quarter)

  • Monthly employer fee

    $39 / month + $4 per participant

    (get $0 base fees for 12 months)


  • Investment options



    (Including Indexed Funds)

  • Employer match



  • Professionally managed portfolios



  • Profit sharing



Stay compliant. Set up a Guideline 401(k) in just 20 minutes.

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Thomas P.WHIPSAW Media
Our experience with Guideline has been exceptional. Proactive communications, easy-to-use interface, and support that’s both fast and detailed.Client of Guideline. Views may not be representative of other clients.

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Illinois retirement mandate FAQs

What is the mandate?

The Illinois Secure Choice Program was created to encourage more people to save for retirement. It requires Illinois employers with 5 or more employees 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 5 or more employees, the program is fully active.

Which employers are impacted by the retirement mandate?

You are eligible to participate in the Illinois Secure Choice Program if:

  • Your business is registered to conduct business in the state of Illinois
  • You are required to facilitate Illinois Secure Choice if you reported W-2 wages for 5 or more employees during all four quarters of the previous calendar year to the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR).
  • You have been in business for two or more years; and
  • You don’t currently offer a qualified retirement savings program to your employees

Are there penalties for not offering a retirement benefit?

Yes. Employers will be subject to a penalty equal to:

  • $250 per employee for the first calendar year the employer is noncompliant
  • $500 per employee for each subsequent calendar year the employer is noncompliant.

Does Guideline satisfy the retirement mandate?

Yes. All of Guideline's 401(k) plans are designed to satisfy state program requirements and are priced to be affordable for businesses of all sizes.

Can I move from Guideline Starter to a standard 401(k)?

While it is possible for a plan to convert from a Starter 401(k) to a standard 401(k) plan at Guideline, the transition cannot take place until the beginning of the next calendar year. Learn more here.