What Are the Maximum 401(k) Contribution Limits?

What Are the Maximum 401(k) Contribution Limits?

The 401(k) plan is the most popular type of employer-sponsored defined-contribution retirement plan. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), 60 million individuals or 33.0% of the U.S workforce participated in 401(k) plans in 2008.

By saving in the 401(k) plan, you get an immediate tax break, because contributions come out of your paycheck before taxes are withheld. You also get tax-deferred growth – meaning you don’t pay taxes each year on capital gains, dividends, and other distributions.

Each year the IRS can annually adjust contribution limits. For 2018, the pre-tax contribution limit to the 401(k) plan is increasing to $18,500 while the overall 401(k) contribution limit increases slightly. Here are the details of 401(k) contribution limits.

401(k) Contribution Limits

Tax Year 2018Tax Year 2017
Elective Deferral Limit$18,500$18,000
Overall Contribution Limit$55,000$54,000
Catch-Up Contribution$6,000$6,000

Roth and Traditional IRA contribution limits

Tax Year 2018Tax Year 2017
Age 49 and underUp to $5,500 (must have employment compensation)Up to $5,500 (must have employment compensation)
Age 50 and olderAdditional $1,000Additional $1,000


For the 2018 tax year, you can choose to contribute up to $18,500 into the pre-tax 401(k) account, with an additional $6,000 catch-up contribution allowed if you are 50 and older.

The overall 401(k) contribution limit is $55,000. This overall limit includes employees’ pre-tax, after-tax or Roth contributions to the 401(k) Plan. For participants 50 or older with an additional $6,000 catch-up allowance, the overall limit is $61,000.

For Roth IRA and Traditional IRA, the contribution limit is $5,500 with an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution allowed if you are 50 and older.

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