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Maximum Retirement Account Contribution Limits 2022


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Congress raised contribution limits for some retirement accounts but not others from 2021 to 2022. 

Despite rampant pandemic inflation, Congress didn’t raise contributions for the easiest retirement account, the IRA. 

Still, taxpayers scored a few modest wins for other account types. As you plan your 2022 retirement savings, keep the following limits in mind. 

Maximum Retirement Account Contributions 2022

Most Americans only use one or two retirement account types. Make sure you understand the limits on whichever accounts you personally use.


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Traditional 401(k)

  • Contribution Limit: $20,500
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $6,500 ($27,000 total)

Employees with access to a workplace 401(k) can contribute up to $20,500 in 2022, up $1,000 from $19,500 in 2021. Workers 50 and over can contribute up to $27,000 — the extra $6,500 catch-up contribution remains unchanged from 2021.

Employers can also contribute to workers’ 401(k) accounts, for a combined total of $61,000 ($67,500 for workers 50 and over). However you cannot contribute more than your salary if you earn less than the limit.

Note that income limits sometimes apply, although not in the same way as with IRAs. Instead, these limits depend on how your compensation compares to other employees at your company. The IRS classifies employees into two camps: highly-compensated employees (HCEs) and non-HCEs. If you qualify as an HCE, your 401(k) contribution limit gets complicated.

Read up on HCE and income limit rules on 401(k) accounts before setting your contribution.


Roth 401(k)

  • Contribution Limit: $20,500
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $6,500 ($27,000 total)

As with IRAs, you can maintain both a traditional and a Roth 401(k). The total contributions to both account types can’t exceed the $20,500 (or $27,000) limit. 

When in doubt about which type of 401(k) to contribute to, contribute to both.


Traditional IRA

  • ​​Contribution Limit: $6,000
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $1,000 ($7,000 total)

The contribution limit for IRAs held steady from 2021 to 2022 at $6,000 ($7,000 for those age 50 and over) — or your total income, if less than those limits.

That said, nonworking spouses can still contribute to “spousal IRAs” as long as their spouse worked.

Individual retirement accounts come with income limits however. Single Americans can deduct their full pretax contribution if their modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) is under $68,000, and the deduction phases out between $68,000 and $78,000. With a MAGI over $78,000, you can contribute to a traditional IRA, but not deduct the contribution. 

Married couples filing jointly can deduct their full contribution with a MAGI up to $109,000. The deduction then phases out between $109,000 and $129,000, above which it disappears entirely.

Due to the SECURE Act, Congress no longer places age limits on contributions.


Roth IRA

  • ​​Contribution Limit: $6,000
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $1,000 ($7,000 total)

You can contribute money to both a traditional and Roth IRA, and the combined total can’t exceed the same limit. 

However the income limits vary for Roth IRAs. Single people can contribute the full amount up to a MAGI of $129,000, then the allowed contribution starts shrinking until an income of $144,000. Over that income, you can’t contribute to a Roth IRA

For married couples filing jointly, the income phase-out range starts at $204,000, ending at an income of $214,000. 

You can contribute to a Roth IRA at any age, and aren’t required to take required minimum distributions.


SEP IRA

  • Contribution Limit: $61,000 or 25% of taxable income

As an ideal retirement account for self-employed people with no employees, simplified employee pension IRAs or SEP IRAs let you contribute up to $61,000, like the combined employee and employer contribution for a 401(k). That’s up from $58,000 in 2021.

Unfortunately for workers over 50, SEP IRAs don’t offer a higher catch-up contribution.

Despite the high dollar limit, you can only contribute up to 25% of your self-employed earnings. So if you keep a high savings rate aiming to retire young, you can’t pump 60% of your income into your SEP IRA to avoid income taxes and invest tax-free.

Although SEP IRAs don’t offer a Roth option, you can theoretically contribute to both a SEP IRA and a Roth IRA if you meet the eligibility criteria for each. 


SIMPLE IRA

  • Contribution Limit: $14,000
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $3,000 ($17,000 total)

In tax year 2022, small-business owners and their employees can contribute up to $14,000, up from $13,500 in 2021. Workers over age 50 can contribute up to $17,000.

You can contribute to both a SIMPLE IRA and a traditional or Roth IRA if you meet all requirements. There is no Roth option for SIMPLE IRAs.

Despite being a type of IRA, SIMPLE IRAs (short for Savings Incentive Match Plan for Employees) are employer-sponsored retirement plans designed as an alternative to 401(k) plans for small businesses. They offer fewer administrative headaches and costs to keep them practical for small-business owners.


457 Plan

  • Contribution Limit: $20,500
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $6,500 ($27,000 total)

Although public worker 457 plans work similarly to 401(k) plans and carry the same standard contribution limit, they do have one key difference.

Workers within three years of the plan’s “normal retirement age” can save double the annual limit for those last three years — but only if you haven’t maxed out your contributions in the past. That puts your maximum contribution at $41,000 for 2022, if you qualify. Qualifying older workers have to choose between either the 50+ catch-up contribution or the three-year option.


403(b)

  • Contribution Limit: $20,500
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $6,500 ($27,000 total)

Another variation on the 401(k), 403(b) accounts are workplace retirement plans designed for nonprofit organizations. They come with the same contribution limits as 401(k) accounts. 

Like 457 plans, they have a quirky additional rule. If you’ve worked at the organization for at least 15 years, some plans let you contribute an additional $3,000 per year, but only if you haven’t maxed out your contributions in the past. You can only contribute a lifetime limit of an extra $15,000 for this particular contribution. 


Thrift Savings Plan

  • Contribution Limit: $20,500
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 50+): $6,500 ($27,000 total)

As the military’s variation on the 401(k), the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) imposes the same contribution limits. Active duty servicemembers deployed to combat zones can make retirement contributions up to $61,000 per year. 

Like 401(k)s, the TSP offers a Roth option to let your investments compound tax-free.


Health Savings Account (HSA)

  • Contribution Limit: $3,650 individuals, $7,300 families
  • Catch-Up Contribution Limit (Age 55+): $1,000

Health savings account contribution limits ticked upward by just $50 for individual accounts and $100 for family accounts.

Although health savings accounts (HSAs) are not technically retirement accounts, many workers use them as such, given their incredible tax benefits and flexibility.

Health savings accounts function almost like health emergency funds for Americans with high-deductible health insurance. You need plenty of cash on hand for those high deductibles in the event of a medical emergency, so the government allows you to contribute money tax-free to an HSA each year.

Here’s the kicker: The money you contribute tax-free to an HSA also grows tax-free, and every dollar you withdraw for qualified medical expenses is tax-free, creating triple tax protection. You get to deduct contributions from your taxable income, then avoid paying taxes on all withdrawals too.

That makes HSAs the best tax-advantaged account in the U.S. After all, you know you’ll have plenty of health care expenses in retirement. 

Note that the catch-up age starts at 55, not 50. 


Flexible Savings Account (FSA)

  • Contribution Limit: $2,850

Unlike HSAs, flexible savings accounts are employer-sponsored benefit accounts, and they don’t necessarily roll over from one year to the next. Congress passed a law in late 2021 allowing workers to roll over their funds from 2021 to 2022, but employers must opt in.

Read up on the differences between HSAs and FSAs if you aren’t clear on them, and remember you can only use FSAs for qualified medical expenses.


Final Word

The less of your income that the IRS siphons off in taxes, the faster you can build wealth. And in an era of pension plans disappearing and Social Security benefits dwindling, you’re on your own to save for retirement.

Take advantage of tax-advantaged accounts to save and invest tax-free. If they’re offered, start with employer matching contributions, which are effectively free money. Then consider opening a Roth IRA if you don’t have one.

Even those planning to retire early can use tax-sheltered accounts to minimize their tax losses. Get strategic in maximizing your investments while minimizing your tax bill, and watch your net worth and passive income take on a life of their own.

G. Brian Davis is a real estate investor, personal finance writer, and travel addict mildly obsessed with FIRE. He spends nine months of the year in Abu Dhabi, and splits the rest of the year between his hometown of Baltimore and traveling the world.

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