Last year we maxed out contributions to my 401(k).
We’ve been able to max out the 401(k) in the past, and when we do it always seems like a pretty good barometer of how good our year is going.
If we are able to max it out, it means we didn’t have a ton of other expenses to worry about (like hospital bills).
In 2021 we plan on once again investing as much as we can in the company-sponsored 401(k), before investing in taxable investments.
So what do the contribution limits for retirement accounts look like in 2021?
The Roth IRA has remained mostly unchanged for 2021, with the IRA contribution limit staying at $6,000, and catch-up contributions at $1,000.
The 401(k) is a similar story. It hasn’t changed either.
Today I thought I would take an in-depth look at what the 401k contribution limits, rules, and regulations will be for 2021 since we plan on maxing it out again this year.
The IRS released their 401k contribution guidelines this past week, and the max contribution has remained the same for 2021. That means you’ll be able to contribute $19,500, the same as you did for 2020.
The limit on contributions by employees who participate in 401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans, and the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan remains unchanged at $19,500.
401(k) – Origins Of The Tax Deferred Savings Plan
So where did the 401(k) originate, and where does it get it’s name?
The 401(k) gets it’s name from the subsection of the IRS code where the rules and regulations for the retirement account are laid out and provisioned. Exciting, right?
The 401(k) first became law in 1978, and was widely adopted in the 1980s as a cheaper alternative to traditional pension plans, which were usually paid for by employers. It began a shift away from the responsibility of saving for retirement from the employer, to the employee.
When you are saving in a 401(k) there are a bunch of rules and regulations you’ll need to know about, including rules about how much you (and your employer) can contribute, when you can withdraw the money and under what circumstances. So let’s jump in and take a look.
Contribution Limits For The 401(k) In 2021
The 401(k) contribution limits are a set limit beyond which you can’t contribute to your account. It’s the maximum you can contribute under this tax-deferred plan, although you can also contribute to a Roth IRA, or to a taxable investment.
The contribution limit remains the same at $19,500 this year. The following table will show the maximum yearly contribution to the 401k account type every year since 2007.
|Year||401k Contribution Limit|
Since 2007 we have seen an increase of $4,000 in the 401(k) contribution limits.
Employer Contribution Limits For 401(k) For 2021
Employers are able to contribute to an employee’s 401(k) plan as well. If your employer offers to contribute, take them up on that offer. It’s free money!
Employers often will contribute a percentage match, of your contribution up until a certain percentage of your income. For example, they may match 50% of your contributions, up to 6% of your salary.
Certain employers will also cap how much you can contribute to the company’s 401k plan. If you are a highly compensated employee (HCE), making above $130,000 in 2021, you might be subject to additional limits in your company’s 401(k). The rules get a bit complicated, and the rules are essentially there in order to encourage more 401(k) plan participation by less highly paid employees, but because of them often a company will not allow HCE to contribute more than a certain percentage of their income.
Just make sure to check with your 401(k) plan administrator to find out what your plan’s limitations are. They may be different from the government limits.
401(k) Catch-Up Contribution Limits For 2021
If you are at or over the age of 50 by the end of the 2021 tax year, and your plan allows it, you can make a catch-up contribution to your 401(k) plan.
|Year||401k Catch-Up Contribution Limit|
The catch up contribution limits have remained the same this year at $6500.
Do Employer Contributions Affect Your Limit?
One source of some confusion for people is whether their employer’s contributions to their 401(k) will affect their own contribution limits. In other words, will their limit of $19,500 be affected by their employer’s contribution to their account.
In short, it won’t affect the employee’s limit.
The limits for employer and employee contributions are separate, and don’t affect each other. That’s good news because it means you can contribute more if your employer is making contributions for you!
Example: If someone makes $100,000 in pre-tax compensation, and their employer will contribute 50% of the first 6% , they could have $19,500 contributed by the employee, and $3,000 by the employer for a total of $22,500. If they’re over 50 they could also make catch up contributions for a total of $29,000.
Maximum Contribution For 2021
One more thing to consider when looking at 401(k) plans for 2021.
The maximum contribution to a 401(k) plan when taking into account employee contributions, employer matching, and other contributions is $58,000 or 100% of their compensation, whichever is less. That is a $1,000 increase from 2020.
Hopefully I’ll be in a position some day to be putting in and receiving that kind of a contribution!
Do you contribute to a 401(k)? Do you expect to reach the max contribution next year?