How Retirement Account Contribution Limits Have Changed in 2019

If you haven’t started already, it is time to plan for 2019 and for most people, you can’t just copy what you did in 2018.  With the start of a new year come new contribution limits for retirement accounts. These changes are summarized in the table below, of course with a few caveats that are further explained.






Maximum employee contribution to retirement accounts (401k plans, 403b plans, most 457 plans, TSPs)



Maximum catch-up contribution in retirement accounts for those 50 and older

Additional $6,000 ($24,500 total)

Additional $6,000 ($25,000 total)

Maximum contribution to defined-contribution plans (such as 401ks), including employer contributions



Maximum contribution to individual retirement accounts (IRAs and Roth IRAs)



Maximum catch-up contribution to individual retirement accounts for those 50 and older

Additional $1,000 ($6,500 total)

Additional $1,000 ($7,000 total)



Deductions on IRA contributions are subject to income phaseout stages and whether you also have access to a workplace retirement program, no matter your age. These phaseout limits also increased in 2019. You can make your fully deductible traditional IRA contribution, assuming you are below age 70 ½, if your modified adjusted gross income is below $64,000 (single filer) or $103,000 (joint), with phaseouts thereafter that limit and finally eliminate your ability to deduct the contribution. Single filers earning less than $122,000 or joint filers below $193,000 can make the full Roth contribution, and their ability to contribute phases out after that. As mentioned previously, these limits can also be affected by whether you’re participating in a workplace retirement plan or married to someone who is.


Specifically for those who are 65 or older, a common question is, “Can I still contribute to an IRA or a Roth IRA?”


The answer, for the most part, is yes. You can continue to make annual IRA or Roth IRA contributions, up to a total of $7,000 in 2019, only if you have earned income sufficient to cover the contribution. In other words, if you live totally on Social Security, annuity payments, portfolio income, RMDs and/or a pension plan, then you cannot contribute. Income from rental properties is also considered passive income.


If you earn $5,000 in a year through self-employment or from an employer, then you can make a $5,000 contribution, and no more.  If you earn more than $7,000, you can make the full contribution.  The caveat is that once you pass the age 70 ½ you can no longer make contributions to a traditional IRA, only to a Roth.


All this talk of different retirement accounts, contribution limits and phase out stages can be somewhat confusing, but it’s important to understand so you can make the most of your available retirement vehicles to set yourself up for success in the future.


-Leighton Lindstrom




Some of the material above was prepared by Bob Veres Inside Information.

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