401(k) Contribution Limits 2017

401(k), Investing, Retirement Planning
401(k) Contribution Limits for 2016

Your grandparents had pension plans, you have a 401(k).

It’s a downgrade in some ways — 401(k)s force employees to shoulder most of the responsibility of saving for retirement and choosing appropriate investments. They also limit your contributions: Because 401(k)s are tax-advantaged, they have a maximum annual contribution set by the IRS each year.

401(k) contribution limits for 2017

AgeElective deferral limitTotal contribution limit
Under 50 $18,000$54,000
50 or older$24,000$60,000

The elective deferral limit is the amount you, as an employee, are allowed to contribute out of your salary each year. Employer matching dollars do not count toward that limit.

The total contribution limit includes both money you contribute and employer matching dollars — it is the maximum total annual contribution that can be made to your 401(k).

In 2017, your total 401(k) contributions — from yourself and your employer — cannot exceed $54,000 or 100% of your compensation, whichever is less. That limit rises to $60,000 for those 50 or older.

» MORE: Use our 401(k) calculator to help plan for retirement.

» MORE: How much should you contribute to your 401(k)?

» MORE: Should you contribute to a 401(k) or an IRA?

Arielle O’Shea is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aoshea@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @arioshea.

Updated March 14, 2017.