Can you have both a 401(k) and an IRA?

401(k), IRAs
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August 2017
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I am an Elite IRA Advisor with Ed Slott & Co (Ed is a CPA and is known nationally as an IRA expert).  Here is one of the pieces I found on Ed’s website (that I have updated for 2017) on this topic.


There’s a common belief that if you have a 401(k) plan where you work and you contribute to it, you’re not allowed to also contribute to your IRA for the same year. But that’s not true; you’re allowed to contribute to both.


As far as IRA or Roth IRA contributions go, for 2017, the maximum that you can contribute is $5,500 if you’re under age 50 or $6,500 if you’re age 50 or older this year. In fact, you can contribute to both an IRA and a Roth IRA for the year, but the total limit is $5,550 (or $6,500). For example, let’s assume you’re age 60, working this year, and eligible to contribute the full $6,500 to a Roth IRA. If you decide to only contribute $4,000 to your Roth IRA, you could choose to contribute the remaining $2,500 to your IRA, bringing the total to $6,500.


Let’s also assume you have a 401(k) plan where you work. The maximum 401(k) contributions (also known as salary deferrals) you can make for 2017 are $18,000. If you are age 50 or older and your plan allows, you can also make catch-up contributions of an additional $6,000, making your total 401(k) contributions $24,000. Oftentimes, 401(k) plans have some plan-based restrictions on salary deferrals that might reduce the maximum dollar amount you can actually save. For example, your plan might need to limit your salary deferrals to pass certain IRS nondiscrimination tests.


Contributing to a 401(k) in no way limits your ability to make contributions to an IRA or Roth IRA. Roth IRA eligibility is only limited by your modified adjusted gross income and there are no income limits for contributing to a traditional IRA. The biggest limit really is how much money you can afford to contribute. If you can afford to contribute the maximum to both your 401(k) and IRA for 2017, then you can contribute a total of $23,500 ($5,500 + 18,000) if you’re under age 50 or $30,500 ($6,500 + $24,000) if your age 50 or older.

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