401(k) Contribution Limits Increase for 2013; What You Must Know

If you’ve got a 401(k) or a similar retirement plan, you can start socking away more money for your Golden Years starting in 2013.

The IRS says it’s increasing the tax-free contribution limit for retirement plans to $17,500 for 2013; that’s up $500 from a limit of $17,000 in 2012.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that for those who are 50 and older, the IRS isn’t raising the so-called “catch up” contributions that older Americans can stash away into retirement plans.

Still, employees who are 50 and above can save another $5,500 in their 401(k) plans in 2013, which is the same “catch up” amount allowed in 2012.

So all told, people who are at least age 50 can set aside $23,000 worth of 401(k) contributions in 2013, while those under 50 can allocate $17,500 to their workplace retirement plans.

The increased contribution limits apply to 401(k) plans, as well as 403(b) plans, most 457 plans, and TSP, or Thrift Savings Plans from the federal government.

Since most Americans don’t save nearly enough for retirement, it’s great news that these limits are increasing. Perhaps it will encourage some people to at least strive to put away the maximum allowed.

Even if you don’t max out your 401(k), however, you can strategically bolster your retirement assets. Simply boost the percentage of money you’re putting into your retirement plan. For example, if you’re putting 5% of your salary into a 401(k) or 403(b) plan, make it 6% or 7% in 2013.

Chances are you won’t even miss the money out of your paycheck — especially since it’s deducted automatically each pay period.

But you do have to abide by other caps imposed by the feds. Specifically, the total amount of contributions that can be made to a defined contribution plan such as a 401(k) plan – including your contributions and matching funds your employer might offer – is being raised to $51,000 in 2013, up from $50,000 in 2012, according to the IRS.

Yet another option to increase your 401(k) funds is to use take any raise you receive in 2013 and put that extra money into your 401(k).

Whatever you do, make a commitment to saving more money for the future.

By the time your working days come to a closer, all the cash you’ve set aside will help your retirement years to be more comfortable, financially stable, and far less economically stressful.


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