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403(b) Match - I need to spread out my contributions, right?

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  • 403(b) Match - I need to spread out my contributions, right?

    Employer 403(b) is through Fidelity.  I've read every plan document I can get my hands on and can't find the answer.  Calling Fidelity is a dead-end.  Zero help or guidance.


    The employer match is described as 50% for contributions up to 4% of pay (i.e., a 2% match).  This year was a partial year so we have been contributing a lot so that we will fill the $18k limit over a 3 month period.  


    Reading various articles, I get the impression that the match could be paid on a per-paycheck basis, and not as a percentage of your annual contributions.  Supposedly some plans will calculate annually or calculate any additional match owed at year-end, but again I have read every plan document and found nothing on this subject.


    I'd prefer to leave it set as-is and just front-load contributions, and have bigger take home checks later in the year, but I don't want to miss out on the full match by not playing the game right.


    Thanks!!!    


  • #2

    I would ask someone with your employer (HR?) and get it in writing (always get things from admin in writing). Fidelity may not know how they do the match because the money comes from your employer. I would be surprised if it was based on per paycheck (I would think it would be based on your annual contribution) but I don't think any of us can tell you that with certainty. 

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    • #3

      Mine is per paycheck so if I front-load I miss out on some matching. My employer also uses Fidelity, but I found out that information from a benefits person at my employer. At least I get a paycheck bump when I hit the social security cap

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      • #4

        this is employer/plan specific so Fido won’t know. We use Fido but get the match regardless of when we contribute - so I frontload.

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        • #5
          Matches are usually paid on a percentage basis paycheck by paycheck. Only some plans "true up" your match based on your total contribution for the year. It is an extra cost to have the Administrator do so.

          Just be happy you don't have one of the few plans that only pay the match at the end of the year. The good news is you will get your match if you front load. The bad news is you lose out on the earnings if the match had been paid each paycheck. The really bad news is that if you are not employed on the last day of the year, you get nada.

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          • #6


            this is employer/plan specific so Fido won’t know
            Click to expand...



            True. You need to speak to HR. Better yet if you can find someone in payroll processing at your employer that would be ideal. Perhaps in the Treasury team. It shouldn't be this hard, but it usually is...

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            • #7

              I am an employed doc with the same issue.  My HR department was very clear with me.  If I frontload the 403b, I will lose some of the employer match.  It is per paycheck.  To get the whole match I have to divide it up over the course of the year.  I do frontload the 457 though.

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              • #8

                I had the same issue - I am on maternity leave and currently on short term disability pay/salary continuation. No one from HR could tell me if employer contributions would continue - I had set up my 403b and 457b to max out my 18K contributions each by end of Sept before I was out on leave.


                But, alas, I am still getting employer contributions + match :-).


                Annoying I had to wait and see if they had to continue.

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                • #9
                  .
                  Erstwhile Dance Theatre of Dayton performer cum bellhop. Carried (many) bags for a lovely and gracious 59 yo Cyd Charisse. (RIP) Hosted epic company parties after Friday night rehearsals.

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                  • #10

                    I think I'm just going to spread it $712 x 26 paychecks for 2018.    


                    Easy thing would be to ask HR, but it's my wife's employer so that's basically a dead end.


                    Articles I've read, and a few of y'alls posts confirm my suspicion that the safe bet is to just spread the contributions.  


                    At my firm we have no match, so that makes things a little easier.   :cry: 

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                    • #11



                      I had the same issue – I am on maternity leave and currently on short term disability pay/salary continuation. No one from HR could tell me if employer contributions would continue – I had set up my 403b and 457b to max out my 18K contributions each by end of Sept before I was out on leave.


                      But, alas, I am still getting employer contributions + match :-).


                      Annoying I had to wait and see if they had to continue.


                      Click to expand...



                      Lucky! My match did not continue during maternity leave (nor regular contributions because my paychecks were for zero dollars). I had to do some math when I returned to make sure I hit 18k by the end of the year, but I was out June-July that year so I had time to figure it out. But I am not surprised that your HR was confused about something related to maternity leave- seems to be a really common occurrence. 

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                      • #12




                        I asked HR at my current hospital employer if I can front-load here without penalty, and they told me that I can, but they’ve made a number of mistakes in other areas when I’ve called with questions–so I don’t front-load the 401K, just the 457b.
                        Click to expand...


                        It's kind of amazing how incompetent HR is at many employers.  If the doctors made as many errors, you'd have dead bodies piling up at work.

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                        • #13







                          I had the same issue – I am on maternity leave and currently on short term disability pay/salary continuation. No one from HR could tell me if employer contributions would continue – I had set up my 403b and 457b to max out my 18K contributions each by end of Sept before I was out on leave.

                          But, alas, I am still getting employer contributions + match :-).

                          Annoying I had to wait and see if they had to continue.
                          Click to expand…


                          Lucky! My match did not continue during maternity leave (nor regular contributions because my paychecks were for zero dollars). I had to do some math when I returned to make sure I hit 18k by the end of the year, but I was out June-July that year so I had time to figure it out. But I am not surprised that your HR was confused about something related to maternity leave- seems to be a really common occurrence.
                          Click to expand...


                          I'm still getting a "regular paycheck" during most of my leave including 403(b) after tax deductions now (doing Mega BackDoor Roth IRA).

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