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  • Milad Taghehchian, CPA, CFP(R)

New 401(K) Catch-Up contribution rules for 2024 and beyond

If you're over the age of 50 and looking to boost your retirement savings, the new 401(k) catch-up contribution rules involving Roth accounts will be very important to consider starting in 2024.

What are Catch-Up Contributions?

Catch-up contributions are an additional way for individuals aged 50 or older to save more for retirement. These contributions are designed to help you make up for lost time if you haven't been able to save as much as you'd like in your 401(k) account. The IRS periodically adjusts the annual contribution limits for these catch-up contributions to account for inflation.

Advantages of Roth Accounts

Roth accounts, such as the Roth 401(k), offer some unique advantages for retirement savers. Unlike traditional 401(k) accounts, Roth contributions are made with after-tax dollars, meaning you won't get a tax deduction for the contributions when you make them. However, there are several key benefits to using a Roth account:

  1. Tax-Free Distributions: One of the most significant advantages of Roth accounts is that qualified distributions, including both contributions and earnings, are tax-free when you withdraw the money in retirement. This can provide a substantial tax advantage in the long run, especially if your investments grow significantly over the years.

  2. No Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs): Traditional 401(k) accounts require you to start taking Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) after reaching the age of 72. Roth accounts have no RMDs, allowing your money to continue growing tax-free for as long as you want.

  3. Diversification of Tax Liability: Having both traditional and Roth retirement accounts can provide diversification of your tax liability in retirement. You can choose to withdraw from both types of accounts strategically to manage your tax situation effectively.

Catch-Up Contribution Amounts For 2024, the IRS has increased the catch-up contribution limits for both traditional and Roth 401(k) accounts. Here are the details:

  1. Standard Contribution Limit: For individuals under 50, the standard 401(k) contribution limit in 2024 23,000

  2. Catch-Up Contribution Limit for Traditional 401(k): Individuals aged 50 and older can contribute an additional $7,500 to their traditional 401(k) accounts, bringing their total contribution limit to $30,500

New Rules for Catch-Up contributions

  • The Change

    • In previous years, your catch-up contributions could be made on a pre-tax basis helping with your current tax liability. Any future growth in the account would be taxable at some future date when you withdraw from the funds.

    • The new rules that go into effect in 2024 will force catch-up contributions to be made into a Roth account via the 401k. This means you will not get the tax benefit today from those contributions in the current year. Instead the benefit is now that all the future growth in that account will accumulate tax free.

What Should We Do?

Since this action is going to have a direct impact on your tax situation in each year beyond 2024, it is important to reconnect with your financial professionals to ensure you are set up to withhold enough to cover this cost. The impact of building a future Roth account should also be adjusted in your long term projections going forward. This will help a lot down the road with taxes, but hurt a little today.


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