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401(k), 403(b), gov 457(b) all options - how much protected space total is available?

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  • 401(k), 403(b), gov 457(b) all options - how much protected space total is available?

    A new colleague just joined my practice a few months ago and I was trying to help him sort out how much money he could put in retirement accounts for this year. I've never had access to a 457b or a 403b, so don't know the ins and outs - anybody able to help? The question is how much can he put in his/our current employer's 401(k) this year.

    His old employer offered and he contributed in 2021:

    403b - which he contributed some into a "mandatory" ORP (optional retirement plan) and had some employer match totaling: $18,947.60. Then he put in another $13k into the 403b.
    Gov 457b: he contributed $13k.

    Total under old employer plans: $18947.6 + $13k + $13k = $44,947.60


    His current employer (my employer) offers a 401(k) with pre-tax, Roth and after-tax options with in-plan conversions available to do mega-back door Roth conversions.

    Am I understanding this right? I think that he can contribute:
    -- Money into Roth 401(k) or traditional 401(k) in the amount of: $19.5k (401k + 403b limit) - $18,947.6 (amount he contributed into 403b) = $552.40
    AND
    -- Money into after-tax 401(k) bucket in the amount of: $58k (total 401k & 403b limit) - $19.5k (pretax / Roth employee contribution limit) - $13k (extra 403b contributions he made) = $25.5k


    And the 457b has nothing to do with any of this, and doesn't affect how much he can put into his 401k / 403b.

    Does that sound right?

    Thanks all



  • #2
    Mandatory contributions are not consider elective deferrals and are not included in the employee deferral limit (2021 = $19.5. Employer contributions are not included in the employee deferral limit. There is a separate annual addition limit (2021 = $58K) for each unaffiliated employer. A 457b contributions are not included in either the employer deferral limit or the annual addition limit.

    You need to clarify; "Then he put in another $13k into the 403b." If they were employee deferrals, then his additional 401k employee deferrals would be limited to $19.5K - $13K = $6.5K. His remaining annual addition limit in the new employer's 401k is $58K - $6.5K = $51.5K. If not, he would have the full employee deferral limit and annual addition limits available in the 401k. As long as they are not affiliated companies.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by spiritrider View Post
      Mandatory contributions are not consider elective deferrals and are not included in the employee deferral limit (2021 = $19.5. Employer contributions are not included in the employee deferral limit. There is a separate annual addition limit (2021 = $58K) for each unaffiliated employer. A 457b contributions are not included in either the employer deferral limit or the annual addition limit.

      You need to clarify; "Then he put in another $13k into the 403b." If they were employee deferrals, then his additional 401k employee deferrals would be limited to $19.5K - $13K = $6.5K. His remaining annual addition limit in the new employer's 401k is $58K - $6.5K = $51.5K. If not, he would have the full employee deferral limit and annual addition limits available in the 401k. As long as they are not affiliated companies.
      Thank you, spiritrider, for this thoughtful response. Greatly appreciate you sharing your wealth of knowledge. I've passed along to my colleague.

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