Catch-up contribution limits for 2018

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You had every intention of saving 15 percent of your salary each year for retirement. But somewhere between braces and college tuition for the kids, your savings fell short.

With less in the bank than you hoped for, you now face an unpleasant choice between living with less during retirement and remaining employed for a few extra years.

Luckily for you, there is another way.

Those who are or will turn 50 during the calendar year can often make additional catch-up contributions to their workplace savings plan or IRAs using pretax or after-tax dollars.

They must first, however, meet the annual maximum allowable contribution limit for their retirement account.

Using catch-up contributions, retirement savers get all the advantages of the 401(k), including tax deferment and the employer match. Plus, they are able to make up for lost time.

Here are the maximum contributions you can make

IRAs (traditional and Roth) $5,500 — all workers

$6,500 — workers age 50 or older

401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457s, SAR-SEPs $18,500 — all workers

$24,500 — workers age 50 or older

SIMPLE plans $12,500 — all workers

$15,500 — workers age 50 or older

How much can you save?

While most employees are eligible to defer up to $18,500 to a 401(k) plan in 2018, those eligible for catch-up contributions can save an additional $6,000. Employers are not required to provide for catch-up contributions, but the vast majority do.

The same catch-up limits apply to 403(b) plans, 457 plans and SAR-SEP retirement accounts.

You can also contribute during the same year an extra $1,000 to a traditional or Roth IRA. So, while younger savers can put $5,500 a year into an IRA, people 50 and older can save $6,500.

Written by
Lance Davis
Senior editorial director
Lance Davis is the senior editorial director for Bankrate. Lance leads a team responsible for creating educational content that guides people through the pivotal steps in their financial journey.