MarylandSaves vs. a Guideline 401(k)

Meet Maryland’s retirement mandate with a simple, powerful Guideline 401(k).

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The mandate in a nutshell

MarylandSaves was established in 2016. It requires Maryland employers with 1+ employees that have been in business for 2+ years to offer the state-sponsored plan or a qualified alternative like a Guideline 401(k) by December 31st of the year in which you become eligible. Compare your options

  • 1+ employees

    December 31st

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

    Integrations with payroll providers 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 MarylandSaves with Guideline Starter

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  • Retirement plan type

    Starter 401(k)

    Roth IRA

  • Maximum employee contributions for 2024



  • Employee asset-based fee


    ($15 for every $10,000)


    ($18 for every $10,000)

  • Additional active employee fees


    $22.50 account fee in the first year, $30/year after.

  • Monthly employer fee

    $39 / month + $4 per participant


  • Investment options



    (Including Target Date Funds)

  • Professionally managed portfolios



  • Employer match



  • Profit Sharing



Keep your business in compliance. Set up a Guideline 401(k) in just 20 minutes.

Looking for a more robust plan? Look no further.

Starter 401(k) plans do have limitations like lower contribution limits and no employer contributions. If you’d like to set up a plan with more options and flexibility, you may want to consider Core or Enterprise.

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Carol P.RedKnot Resource Group
With Guideline, it feels like we've put 401(k) administration on auto-pilot. Guideline 401(k) enables us to give our employees a big benefit without our small business hiring in-house expertise.Client of Guideline. Views may not be representative of other clients.

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Maryland retirement mandate FAQs

What is the mandate?

The MarylandSaves Program was created to encourage more people to save for retirement. It requires Maryland employers with 1 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 that have been in business for at least 2 years and have at least 1 employee, the deadline to register for MarylandSaves or certify exemption with a 401(k) plan is December 31st of the year in which you become eligible.

Which employers are impacted by the retirement mandate?

You are eligible to participate in the MarylandSaves Program if:

  • Businesses that have been in operation at least 2 calendar years
  • Have at least one W-2 employee
  • Use an automated payroll system
  • Do not have an employer-sponsored retirement plan
  • Your business is registered to conduct business in the state of Maryland
  • You have at least one W-2 employees who have worked for you for at least 180 days
  • You have been in business for two or more years; and
  • You don’t currently offer a qualified retirement savings program to your employees

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.