What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (2024)

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (1)

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What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (2)

There are many benefits to contributing to a 401k plan: you can catch a break on your taxes, diversify your financial profile, and most importantly, a 401k can help you save up for your sunset years. But before you start contributing to your plan, you should take note of the 401k contribution limits in 2022 so that you’re in line with best practices and abiding by IRS 401k standards.

In this post, we’re talking about the 401k contribution limits for 2022, special circ*mstances that may impact your retirement plan, as well as diving into some other options you have to help you save up for retirement.

Use the links below to skip right to the 401k contribution limits, or read the whole post for a comprehensive overview.

  • 401k 2022 Limits
    • Special considerations for 401k limits
  • Breaking Down 401k Plans and Contribution Limits
    • Why are there limits on 401k contributions?
    • Can I contribute 100% of my salary to my 401k?
    • How much should I be saving in my 401k in 2022?
    • When do I get to use the money I’ve contributed to my 401k?
  • Key Takeaways: 401k Plans in 2022

401k 2022 Limits

The standard max 401k 2022 limit is $20,500. This contribution limit applies to: 401k plans, 403b plans, the federal Thrift Savings Plan, and most 457 pension plans. This is an increase from the limit of $19,500 that was set for 2020 and 2021.

Below is a chart that further breaks down the 401k contribution limits for 2022 according to IRS.gov Notice 2021:61:

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (3)

As for the $20,500 limit, this number includes any money you’ve had withheld from your paychecks (elective employee salary deferrals) as well as any contributions you’ve made to your 401k after taxes. Now let’s say you have multiple retirement plan accounts—like a traditional 401k and a Roth 401k—in this case, the $20,500 limit still stands. So, your total contributions to both accounts for the year should not exceed the 2022 contribution limit. However, your contributions to an IRA account are not included in the $20,500 limit.

Special considerations for 401k 2022 limits

Catch-up contributions

While $20,500 is the standard contribution limit for 2022, of course, there are some exceptions to the rule. For example, the IRS allows individuals that are 50 years or older to make contributions in excess of the $20,500 limit so that they’re able to speed up their savings as they near retirement. This is called a “catch-up contribution.” For 2022, the catch-up contribution limit for those 50 years old and over is $6,500.

Highly compensated employees (HCE)

Contrary to catch-up contributions, there are also some circ*mstances that might limit your retirement contributions even further than the standard rule. According to the IRS, highly compensated employees are those that earn more than $135,000 per year. If you fall into this category, your 401k contribution limits may depend on how much other employees within your company are contributing to their retirement plans. The IRS imposes these additional restrictions (known as nondiscrimination testing) to ensure that a company is not favoring their highly paid employees in regards to pension plans. We’ll discuss the purpose of contribution limits in a more general sense a little later on in this post.

401k contribution limits for employers

Some employers offer 401k plans where they match employee contributions to help them grow their retirement savings, these are generally referred to as 401k matching programs. For many employees, this opportunity is a huge perk, and many employers are jumping on the opportunity to help out their staff. In fact, in Q1 of 2019, Fidelity reported that the average 401k employer match contribution reached an all-time high at $1,780.

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (4)

Employers don’t have a specific 401k contribution limit placed on them, but the IRS limits 401k contributions from all sources (including employer match) to $56,000. Let’s say you made your max 401k contribution at $19,000, and your employer matches you dollar for dollar.

$19,000 x 2 = $38,000

Since you’re still within the $56,000 threshold, your total contributions would be permitted according to IRS standards.

Breaking Down 401k Plans and Contribution Limits

Now that we’ve defined the 401k contribution limits for 2022, we can dig a little bit deeper and discuss some more specific questions you might have when building your retirement savings.

Why are there limits on 401k contributions?

You might be wondering why there are 401k limits in the first place, and you’re not wrong to question this stipulation. You’re contributing your own money after all, right?

Since 401k contributions have certain tax advantages, the IRS places a limit on how much you can put in your account to limit taxpayer payout and prevent wealthier employees from benefitting more than the average worker.

As we discussed before, the contribution limits can vary depending on the kind of retirement plan, age, and whether an individual is considered a highly compensated employee.

Can I contribute 100% of my salary to my 401k?

The 2022 contribution limit for 401k plans is $20,500, which means that you can technically defer all of your salary if it means that your contributions will still remain less than the $20,500 limit. However, keep in mind that certain employers may place their own limit on how much staff can invest in an employer-run 401k account.

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (5)

How much should I be saving in my 401k in 2022?

There’s not a universal standard for how much you should invest in your 401k each year, or even how much you should have saved by the time you retire. The answer for you, ultimately depends on your cost of living, career, and what age you want to retire.

Use our retirement savings calculator to check your progress.

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (6)

However, there are some guidelines for how much you should have in your 401k that can help you figure out if you’re on the right track toward enjoying your golden years.

  • By age 30, you’ve had a little time to figure out your career path and hopefully you’ve been able to save up some money in your 401k, too. At this stage, you should aim to have about a year’s salary saved in your plan—so if you make $50,000 per year, you’d ideally want to have about $50,000 saved up for retirement.
  • By age 40, you’ve likely seen some advancement in your career, and your annual income may have seen a boost as well. By age 40 you might strive for about three years worth of salary saved in your 401k.
  • By age 50, you’re inching closer and closer toward enjoying your retirement. At this stage, you should consider having about five years worth of salary saved.

Use these stages as a guideline, but keep in mind there are multiple avenues to make retirement work for you. You might choose to contribute to a different type of retirement plan such as a 401k for millennials, IRA, Roth IRA, SIMPLE IRA, or a SEP IRA. Or, you might consider supplementing your retirement income by getting a part-time job or trying your hand at investing.

What we’re saying is: don’t panic if you haven’t saved as much as you planned on—or if you haven’t saved anything at all. It’s never too late to change your habits and improve your financial health.

When do I get to use the money I’ve contributed to my 401k?

One of the most common questions surrounding 401ks (other than their limits), is whether or not you can withdraw money from your account before you actually retire. The simple answer: yes. The money you’ve saved up in your retirement fund is all yours and you’re entitled to withdraw it whenever you please, but you might have to face some penalties if you do.

If you withdraw from your 401k account before you’re 59 ½, you may be hit with two different kinds of early 401k withdrawal penalties. For one, the money you take out will likely be subject to early withdrawal 401k fees imposed by your plan administrator. And secondly, the IRS considers all 401k withdrawals to be taxable income, but an early withdrawal could incur a 10% early distribution tax on top of the standard income tax rate.

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? (7)

Key Takeaways: 401k Plans in 2022

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve already saved some money in your 401k, you should take note of the 401k contribution limits that apply to taxpayers in 2022. Use these tips to guide your savings strategy and help you reach your retirement savings goals.

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FAQs

What’s the Maximum 401k Contribution Limit in 2022? ›

For 2021, your individual 401(k) contribution limit is $19,500, or $26,000 if you're age 50 or older. In 2022, 401(k) contribution limits for individuals are $20,500, or $27,000 if you're 50 or older. These individual limits are cumulative across 401(k) plans.

What is the max 401k contribution for 2022 over 50? ›

2022 401(k) Contribution Limits

If you're age 50 and older, you can add an extra $6,500 per year in "catch-up" contributions, bringing your total 401(k) contributions for 2022 to $27,000.

What is the 2022 Max 401k contribution? ›

401(k) Contribution Limits

For 2022, these elective contributions are limited to $20,500. Workers who are 50 and older can make an additional $6,500 in catch-up contributions. Many employers also match employee retirement contributions, either dollar for dollar or partially.

What is the catch-up contribution for 2022? ›

The 401(k) contribution limit for 2022 is $20,500, and the catch-up contribution allows workers to add an additional $6,500 – for a grand total of $27,000 each year.

Why is there a cap on 401k contributions? ›

Both traditional and Roth contributions are capped so that higher-paid workers who can afford to defer large amounts of their compensation can't take undue advantage of these tax benefits—at the expense of the U.S. Treasury.

Can I contribute 100% of my salary to my 401k? ›

The maximum salary deferral amount that you can contribute in 2019 to a 401(k) is the lesser of 100% of pay or $19,000. However, some 401(k) plans may limit your contributions to a lesser amount, and in such cases, IRS rules may limit the contribution for highly compensated employees.

How much can I contribute to my 401k and Roth 401k in 2022? ›

$20,500

Does Max 401k Contribution 2022 include employer matching? ›

In 2022, your limit for annual 401(k) contributions is $20,500 – an increase of $1,000 from the 2021 level. However, any employer matching does not count toward that limit.

Can I max out my 401k and contribute to an IRA? ›

401(k): You can contribute up to $20,500 in 2022 ($27,000 for those age 50 or older). IRA: You can contribute up to $6,000 in 2022 ($7,000 if age 50 or older). You can contribute that amount to a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA, or you can divvy up your money into each type of plan.

Do 401k contributions automatically stop at limit? ›

Created with sketchtool. If your employer is making matching contributions, their payments will automatically stop when yours do. So, if you reach your $18,500 before the last paycheck of the year, your employer matching payments will stop before the end of the year and you may not receive your full match.

What happens if you go over 19500 to 401k? ›

What Happens If You Go Over the 401k Contribution Limit? If you go over your 401k contribution limit, you will have to pay a 10% penalty for early withdrawal, as you must remove the funds. The funds will be counted as income, and those extra contributions will cost you at tax time.

How much can a 50 year old contribute to 401k? ›

For 2021, your individual 401(k) contribution limit is $19,500, or $26,000 if you're age 50 or older. In 2022, 401(k) contribution limits for individuals are $20,500, or $27,000 if you're 50 or older. These individual limits are cumulative across 401(k) plans.

What is the over 50 catch up for 401k? ›

More In Retirement Plans

Individuals who are age 50 or over at the end of the calendar year can make annual catch-up contributions. Annual catch-up contributions up to $6,500 in 2022 ($6,500 in 2021; $6,500 in 2020; $6,000 in 2015 - 2019) may be permitted by these plans: 401(k) (other than a SIMPLE 401(k)) 403(b)

Should you max out 401k? ›

Which should I max out first, my 401(k) or IRA? You should prioritize maxing out your 401(k), at least until you've maximized any matching contributions your employer offers. You can turn your attention more aggressively toward IRA contributions after you've done that.

How do you max out your 401k? ›

  1. Fully fund your account. ...
  2. Qualify for tax breaks. ...
  3. Make catch-up contributions. ...
  4. Reset your automatic contributions. ...
  5. Get a 401(k) match. ...
  6. Consider a Roth 401(k). ...
  7. Select low-cost funds. ...
  8. Avoid penalties.

How much should you have in your 401k by age? ›

By age 40, you should have three times your annual salary. By age 50, six times your salary; by age 60, eight times; and by age 67, 10 times. 8 If you reach 67 years old and are earning $75,000 per year, you should have $750,000 saved.

Can I put a lump sum into my 401k? ›

Key Takeaways. You can make a 401(k) withdrawal in a lump sum, but in most cases, if you do and are younger than 59½, you'll pay a 10% early withdrawal penalty in addition to taxes. There were special allowances for withdrawals in 2020 for those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is a good percentage to contribute to 401k? ›

Most financial planning studies suggest that the ideal contribution percentage to save for retirement is between 15% and 20% of gross income. These contributions could be made into a 401(k) plan, 401(k) match received from an employer, IRA, Roth IRA, and/or taxable accounts.

Can I max out both 401k and Roth 401 K? ›

That means that if you choose to make both traditional 401(k) account and Roth 401(k) contributions, the total amount you are allowed to contribute to both cannot exceed $15,500.

Can you max out a 401k and a Roth IRA? ›

Contribution Limits

The contributions for Roth IRAs and 401(k) plans are not cumulative, which means that you can max out both plans as long as you qualify to contribute to each.

Can you contribute to both a 401k and a Roth 401k? ›

If your employer offers both, you can contribute to a Roth 401(k) as well as a traditional 401(k). Your employer can also match both, but funds to your traditional 401(k) go directly into your account whereas with a Roth 401(k), they're deposited into a separate tax-deferred account.

What is a highly compensated employee? ›

A highly compensated employee is defined as an employee that owns more than 5% of the interest in a business at any time during the year or the preceding year.

How much can a married couple contribute to a 401k in 2022? ›

Next year taxpayers can put an extra $1,000 into their 401(k) plans. The IRS recently announced that the 2022 contribution limit for 401(k) plans will increase to $20,500.

Do employee contributions count towards 401k limit? ›

Individuals can contribute up to $19,500 to a 401(k) in 2021 and $20,500 in 2022, or $26,000 if they are age 50 or over in 2021 and $27,000 in 2022. An employer match to an employee's 401(k) does not count toward the employee's annual contribution limit.

What happens if you max out 401k every year? ›

What happens when I max out my 401(k) for the year? If you max out your 401(k) every year, then your savings could grow significantly over time due to compound interest. Check the contribution limits each year to see if they have increased so that you can continue to max out your 401(k).

How much money will I have if I max out my 401k for 30 years? ›

The result is remarkable: Starting out at age 35 with an initial investment of $7,313 in 1988, the maximum allowed for a 401(k) that year, a maxed-out 401(k) would be worth $1.4 million 30 years later in 2018. This doesn't even include any employer matches.

Should you max out 401k or Roth IRA first? ›

Key Takeaways. Contributing as much as you can—at least 15% of your pre-tax income—is recommended by financial planners. The rule of thumb for retirement savings says you should first meet your employer's match for your 401(k), then max out a Roth 401(k) or Roth IRA, then go back to your 401(k).

What happens if you max out 401k before end of year? ›

Maxing out your 401k early in the year can cost you a lot of money if you have an employer match. Without the match, front loading your 401k is worth considering. It's common financial advice to max out a 401k. Putting as much away in a tax advantaged account as possible is just smart financial planning.

Can I contribute to a 401k after age 70? ›

If you are still working, you can contribute the full amount of your salary deferral to a Roth 401(k), regardless of your age.

Do you have to report 401k on tax return? ›

In general, 401(k) contributions are not considered taxable income. This means you don't need to report 401(k) on your tax return.

Why is a Roth IRA better than a 401k? ›

Key Takeaways. A Roth 401(k) has higher contribution limits and allows employers to make matching contributions. A Roth IRA allows your investments to grow for a longer period, offers more investment options, and makes early withdrawals easier.

Is it better to increase withholding or increase 401k? ›

The basic rule of thumb is, if you want to enjoy a higher take-home pay, you should contribute towards 401(k) with pre-tax earnings or opt for the tax exemption status so the minimum amount of federal income is withheld.

How much should you put into retirement annually? ›

2022 retirement contribution limits at a glance
AccountContribution limitCatch-up limit (if you're 50+)
Employer-sponsored plans: 401(k), 403(b), 457 plans, thrift savings plan$20,500$6,500
Individual retirement account (IRA)$6,000$1,000
Roth IRA$6,000$1,000

Can a married couple both max out 401k? ›

The IRS requires that 401(k) accounts must remain in each person's name, and you cannot combine two 401(k)s belonging to two spouses. Each spouse can have a 401(k) of their own and in their name. If both spouses are working, they can participate and contribute to the employer's 401(k) plan.

What is the maximum I can contribute to all retirement accounts? ›

More In Retirement Plans

For 2022, 2021, 2020 and 2019, the total contributions you make each year to all of your traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs can't be more than: $6,000 ($7,000 if you're age 50 or older), or. If less, your taxable compensation for the year.

Do the rich have retirement accounts? ›

In 1989, the richest tenth of Americans held 6.5 times more in IRAs and other retirement accounts than savers in the 50th to 75th percentile by net worth. By 2019, according to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, the gap between the richest 10% and the middle had ballooned to 12 times.

Should I max out my 401k or pay off my house? ›

It's also better to start saving for retirement early, so you can reap the benefits of compound interest over a longer period of time. As a general rule, the younger you are, the more you should prioritize your retirement savings over your mortgage.

How much should I contribute to my 401k to lower my tax bracket? ›

But now you want to start contributing five percent of your pay into your employer-sponsored 401(k) plan. Five percent of a $40,000 annual salary results in $2,000 saved for retirement in a year. Since that $2,000 was deducted pre-tax, your total taxable income lowers to $38,000.

What is a good 401k balance at age 60? ›

How much should I have in my 401(k)? A general rule is to have six to eight times your salary saved by age 60, though more conservative estimates may skew higher. The truth is that your retirement savings plan hinges on your individual goals and financial situation.

What is the average 401k balance for a 65 year old? ›

An employer-sponsored 401(k) plan is your best tool for retirement investing.
...
Vanguard Average 401(k) Balances by Age.
AgeAverage 401(k) BalanceMedian 401(k) Balance
65+$279,997$87,725
5 more rows
Jul 1, 2022

What is a good monthly retirement income? ›

But if you can supplement your retirement income with other savings or sources of income, then $6,000 a month could be a good starting point for a comfortable retirement.

How much can a highly compensated employee contribute to 401k 2021? ›

401(k) Contribution Limits for Highly Compensated Employees

For 2021, a 401(k) participant filing single can contribute up to $19,500. For 2022, a 401(k) participant filing single can make up to $20,500 in contributions.

What happens if you max out 401k before end of year? ›

Maxing out your 401k early in the year can cost you a lot of money if you have an employer match. Without the match, front loading your 401k is worth considering. It's common financial advice to max out a 401k. Putting as much away in a tax advantaged account as possible is just smart financial planning.

How much can a highly compensated employee contribute to 401k 2020? ›

Key Takeaways. Employees can contribute up to $19,500 to their 401(k) plan for 2021 and $20,500 for 2022. Anyone age 50 or over is eligible for an additional catch-up contribution of $6,500 in 2021 and 2022.

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