Contribution Limits For 2022? [WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW]

Shawn Manaher
Shawn Manaher
Updated on December 13, 2022
contribution limits

If you have a 401k, you might be wondering what the contribution limits are for 2022. This guide has all the information you need.

Many workplaces offer 401k plans as a way for people to save money for retirement. There are annual limits on these plans, though, for both you and your employer. It’s important to know what the limits are so you can plan accordingly.

For 2022, the 401k contribution limit is $20,500 for individuals or $27,000 if you’re 50 and older. This was raised by $1,000 from the 2021 limit.

You might be wondering what these limits mean and how they affect you. This guide will give you all the information you need. It will also discuss how matching works for your 401k and how you can make the most of it to maximize your retirement savings.

Maximum 401k Contribution Limits

When you start to work for a company, they should go over their 401k benefits and the matching process they do. Most companies will add a portion of your salary to your 401k when you also pay the same amount.

Some companies will also give their employees a share of the profits made by the company as part of their 401k. These are non-matching contributions since you don’t need to contribute anything to receive them.

Keep in mind that both the matching and the non-matching contributions count towards the deductible contribution. The total 401k contributions for the year 2022 cannot exceed $61,000. For those 50 and older, they cannot exceed more than $67,500. This is up by $3,000 compared to the year 2021.

Keep in mind that for individuals, these numbers are cumulative. Even if you quit your job and start another one, you do not get the maximum limit per job. Employers, however, can max out the limit per employee. So, if you switch jobs, both the employers could max out the contribution to you.

It’s always important to make sure you know how much you are giving to the 401k so that you know how much you can deduct from taxes every year.

Traditional vs. Roth 401k Limits

Similar to individual retirement accounts, you can have a 401k as a traditional or a Roth account. No matter which accounts you choose, there will be the same limits for the employee and employer contribution limits.

There are some differences, though, to keep in mind, especially if you have both and need to know how they work.

Traditional 401ks

If you have a traditional 401k, you can deduct the number of your employee contributions from your taxable income every year during tax season. So, if you made $60,000 and contributed $5,000, you would be taxed like you made $55,000.

Once you are in retirement or you are past the age of 59 and a half, you will have to pay income taxes on withdrawals that are based on your marginal tax rate. If you decide to withdraw your 401k anytime early, you will also be taxed for the amount that you withdrew.

Roth 401k

The Roth 401k is different. You will contribute money to money that you already paid the taxes on. If it has been five years since your last withdrawal, you can make tax-free withdrawals if you are 59 and a half or older.

Not all employers offer Roth 401k, though, so it might not be an option for you, depending on where and who you work for. Their prevalence is increasing, though, making it easier to find an employer who has them. 

If your employer offers a 401k match though, you cannot save in a Roth account. All employer matching contributions have to be in a traditional 401k account. Roth 401ks do not have income restrictions which are different from Roth IRAs.

401k Contribution Limits If You’re A Highly Compensated Employee

401k works a little differently for those that are highly compensated because employers will often set up extra contribution limits on their employees that are highly compensated. If this applies to you, there are still some restrictions, though.

You cannot contribute more than 2% of your salary to the average person in the company that is not a non-highly compensated employee. So, if the non-highly compensated employee can contribute 4% of their salary, then the highly compensated employee can contribute 6%.

This is just the federal limit, though. Keep in mind that your company might have extra limits in place for those that are highly compensated. You will need to ask about this, as it’s always a good idea to know exactly how much you can put into your 401k and how much of it you can deduct from taxes.

A highly compensated employee is defined as one of the following:

  • You owned 5% or more of a company 
  • You earned $130,000 or more from a company that has a 401k

You can be one or the other of the above statements. You do not need to be both. These statuses are based on the year before. So you will use the year 2021 to determine if you are a highly compensated employee or not.

Some highly compensated employees find that the cap is too limiting, and they want to be able to contribute more. In this case, you can fund a retirement account outside of your employer to make sure you are saving enough for retirement.

What If I Contributed Too Much To My 401k?

You need to make sure you don’t contribute too much to the 401k, as doing so can have some consequences. For example, you will be taxed twice on the excess contributions. Once for the part of your taxable income for the year you’re contributing, and a second time when you withdraw from the plan.

If you think you contributed too much to your 401k plan, you can ask the HR department or payroll department at your company. They can usually fix the problem before the tax filing deadline. Make sure to notify them as soon as possible to give them time to fix it, so you don’t end up being double taxed.

The HR department will also have to adjust your W-2 to reflect the changes.

How Can I Maximize My 401K Retirement Savings?

A 401k is one of the most important things when it comes to your job because it allows you to save for retirement and make sure you can live comfortably once you stop working. Here are some ways you can make sure you are setting yourself up for success.

Roll Over Your 401K

If you switch to a new job, you need to make sure you roll over your 401k. This will ensure you do not lose out on the money you already contributed. Make sure you keep your log-in information in a safe place so you can always check in on all your different 401k plans.

Don’t Forget About The Vesting Period

Some companies have a vesting period. This is when you need to stay with a company for a certain amount of years before your 401k, and the funds actually belong to you. If you decide to leave the company before the vesting period is over, you might lose out on all the funds that were matched to you.

Keep In Mind Target Date Funds

The best way to choose a target date fund is by picking the year that most likely aligns with your retirement. This works best for beginners who might not understand the investment options offered to them by the company.

Take Advantage Of Match Contributions

You should always take advantage of the maximum contribution level from your employer to make sure you are getting as much money for retirement as possible. You’re basically losing out on money when you choose not to take advantage of the matching policy.

Always Increase Your Contribution Percentage

Each year, you should consider increasing your 401k contribution rate by at least one percentage point. These gradual increases might not seem like a lot, but they can make a large difference in the long run. You can also dedicate a portion of your raises and bonuses to your savings and 401k to make your retirement fund grow even more.

In Closing

As you can see, knowing how much you can contribute to your 401k and knowing how much you can deduct from taxes is very important. You don’t want to over-deduct as it can make you pay taxes twice and also gives your HR department more work.

The maximum contribution limits change every year. For 2022, they are $20,500 for individuals and $27,000 if you’re 50 or older. This is more than the 2021 limit. If you are a highly compensated employee, you will be able to contribute 2% more than what the average employee contributes. Your company might have additional rules for contributing, so always make sure you know the rules for your own company.

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is a former financial advisor, has founded 5 online businesses, and is a coach, speaker, podcast host, and author.

He's been featured on Forbes, The Consults Corner on TAE Radio, The Writing Biz, What's Your Story, and more.

He loves to share his personal finance tips and money management wisdom with others to help them find financial freedom.
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