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By Sarah Ruef-Lindquist, JD, CTFA

Sarah Ruef-Lindquist, JD, CTFA

Sarah Ruef-Lindquist, JD, CTFA

The elimination of most pension plans, also known as “defined benefit” plans over the past 40 years has meant most working people must exercise some discipline to save for their own retirement and/or participate in plans like the 401(k), often an employer-sponsored plan, also known as defined contribution plans.
According to the US Department of Labor, between 1975 and 2014, the number of defined benefit (more commonly called pension ) plans in the private sector fell by 57% while the number of defined contribution plans increased by 208%. Limitations on what people can contribute annually to those plans has been static for five years. The amount of money people could contribute to their retirement plans with pre-tax dollars as of 2018 has not increased since 2013. However, the IRS has recently announced new limits on retirement plan contributions beginning in 2019.
If you haven’t in past years, make 2019 the year you max out your contributions limits, saving more than before, and plan for your retirement future.
We will review the changes by types of plans:

  • IRAs: For those under age 50, $6,000 may be contributed to an IRA, and for those 50 and older a $1,000 catch-up amount is also allowed for a total of $7,000.
  • ROTH IRA contributions are phased out at higher levels, too. For single and head of household taxpayers, the amount is phased out between $122,000 – $137,000 of Adjusted Gross Income
  • (AGI). For married filing jointly the phase-out range is $193,000 to $203,000.
  • SIMPLE Plan contribution limits will be $13,000 with an additional $3,000 catch-up for those 50 and older.
  • 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 Plans will have contribution limits of $19,000, with an additional $6,000 catch-up for those 50 and older.


2019 Retirement Plan Types Amount of 2019 Limit Age 50+ catch-up
IRA $  6,000 $1,000
SIMPLE IRA $ 13,000 $3,000
401(k), 403(b) and 457 Plans $ 19,000 $6,000
Defined Benefit Plan 415(b)(1)(A) $225,000
Defined Contrib. 415(c)(1)(A) $ 56,000
ROTH PHASE-OUT Married Filing Jointly
$120,000 – $137,000
$193,000 – $203,000


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