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Illinois Secure Choice

Illinois Secure Choice is a retirement savings program sponsored by the state of Illinois, facilitated by employers, and funded by employee investments via payroll deductions. Illinois Secure Choice is a Roth IRA with automated enrollment; however, employee participation is completely voluntary. Money in employees’ accounts is 100% vested immediately and portable if they change jobs.

Program highlights:

  • 5% of employees’ gross pay is withheld and contributed to a Roth IRA
  • Roth IRA contributions are made with after-tax dollars (pre-tax contributions are not available)
  • The default investment is the Illinois Secure Choice Target Date Retirement Fund
Employees may opt out of these investment options and choose other funds offered through the Illinois Secure Choice website. In addition, employees may change their automatic contribution rate or opt out of the program at any time. IRA contributions limits will apply.

How do businesses register for Illinois Secure Choice?

The employer is responsible for registering the business, as well as submitting employee contributions. Employees can create an account linked to their employer to manage their investments. Employers and employees can register by going to The program was rolled out in phases, and all employers with five or more employees should currently be registered.

For new businesses

Businesses are required to automatically enroll their employees in the savings program if they have 16-24 employees, have been in business for at least two years, and do not provide a qualified savings plan of their own.

Is there a penalty for businesses that fail to comply with the mandate?

Employers who do not comply with the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act may be subject to fines and penalties as described in 820 ILCS 80/85.

Do businesses have to use the state-sponsored program?

No. Registering for the Illinois Secure Choice program is just one way to fulfill the requirement. Businesses can also establish their own employee retirement plan, such as a 401(k), SEP IRA, or SIMPLE IRA, to satisfy this requirement. You should consider all available options before making a decision.

Benefits of starting your own retirement plan (outside of Illinois Secure Choice):

  • Larger variety of investment options
  • Higher contribution limits with a potential tax deduction for company contributions
  • A way to attract and retain quality employees

Considerations for starting your own retirement plan (outside of Illinois Secure Choice):

  • Potentially higher fees and expenses
  • May be required to make a company contribution each year

Contact a Stifel Financial Advisor to discuss the Illinois Secure Choice requirements or to establish a retirement plan for your company.

Stifel does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult with your legal and tax advisors regarding your particular situation.