See what the new 2019 IRS rules mean for your retirement savings


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Each fall, the IRS unveils any new cost-of-living adjustments to retirement plans for the following year. For 2019, the IRS increased the amount you can squirrel away in your 401(k), 403(b) and most government plans — from $18,500 in 2018 to $19,000.

IRA investors have been stuck with the same $5,500 limit since 2013— plus a $1,000 catch-up contribution for the 50 and older crowd. But for 2019, the IRA contribution limit increased to $6,000, plus a $1,000 catch-up contribution.

Other government caps that affect retirement savers also will go up in 2019, and these are worth paying attention to. For instance, if you’re lucky enough to be covered by a traditional pension plan at work, the maximum amount you can collect as an annual benefit has increased from $220,000 to $225,000.

And if you’re fortunate enough to have a generous employer padding your 401(k)-type plan, the maximum that can be contributed annually rose to $56,000 a year from $55,000. Self-employed entrepreneurs take heed: These limits apply to small-business retirement plans, too.

The chart below shows the IRS changes for 2019, including income limits for those who contribute to both a traditional IRA and a workplace retirement plan (or those whose spouses have access to a workplace plan), as well as the income limits for those who contribute to Roth IRAs.

Middle-and low-income savers may qualify for a saver’s credit, worth up to $2,000 ($4,000 for those married filing jointly).

2017 IRS limits for retirement plans
Maximum workplace retirement plan contribution amounts 2018 2019
401(k), 403(b), most 457 plans and federal Thrift Savings Plan $18,500 $19,000
Catch-up contributions in these plans for people 50 and older $6,000 $6,000
IRA contribution limits 2018 2019
Traditional and Roth IRAs for people younger than 50 $5,500 $6,000
Catch-up IRA contributions for people 50 and older $1,000 $1,000
Defined benefit pension plan annual benefit limits $220,000 $225,000
Annual employer limit for 401(k)-type plans, SEP IRAs and solo 401(k)s $55,000 $56,000
Annual contribution limit for SIMPLE plans $12,500 $13,000
Catch-up contribution limit for people age 50 and up $3,000 $3,000
Adjusted gross income phaseout range of IRA deductibility 2018 2019
Single and contributing to a workplace plan $63,000

to $73,000


to $74,000

Married filing jointly when the spouse making the contribution has a workplace plan $101,000

to $121,000


to $123,000

Married filing jointly when the contributor isn’t covered by a workplace plan but the spouse is covered $189,000

to $199,00


to $203,000

Married and covered by a workplace place plan but filing separately $0 to $10,000 $0 to $10,000
Roth IRA income eligibility phaseout 2018 2019
Single and head of household filers $120,000

to $135,000


to $137,000

Married filing jointly or qualified widow/widowers $189,000

to $199,000


to $203,000

Married filing separately $0

to $10,000


to $10,000

Retirement savings contribution credit, or saver’s credit, income limits 2018 2019
Married filing jointly couples $63,000 $64,000
Heads of household $47,250 $48,000
Single taxpayers $31,500 $32,000