Retirement Plan Eligibility and Contribution Limits

As an educator, you may have access to several different types of retirement plans to supplement your pension.

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by NEA Member Benefits

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Key takeaways

  • 403(b) plans are the most common plans available to educators through the workplace.
  • If you are age 50 or older, you can make catch-up contributions above the regular IRS limits.
  • Anyone who earns income can save in a traditional or Roth IRA.

If you’re having a hard time sorting out the “alphabet soup” of retirement plans, you’re not alone. While most people have heard of the different kinds of retirement plans, few can tell you all the differences between them. You don’t have to become an expert on the nuances, but a working knowledge of the retirement plan options that may be available to you is helpful when deciding where to invest for your future.

The table below lists the most common retirement plans, who they are aimed at and how much a participant can contribute to the plan each year. The plans all provide some form of tax benefit and require participants to be responsible for investing their contributions.

 

Plan Name Who is Eligible

Annual Contribution Limits for 2018

403(b) or Tax-Sheltered Annuity (TSA)

Employees in public education and certain non-profit organizations

$18,500

plus

$6,000 catch-up for those age 50 and older

457(b)

Employees of state and local government agencies and certain non-profit organizations

$18,500

plus

$6,000 catch-up for those age 50 and older

401(k)

Employees of for-profit businesses that sponsor a plan

$18,500

plus

$6,000 catch-up for those age 50 and older

401(a)

Employees of governmental agencies, educations institutions and non-profit organizations

$55,000 (combined employee and employer contributions)

Individual Retirement Account (IRA)

Traditional and Roth

Anyone with earned income up to certain maximum limits

$5,500

plus

$1,000 catch-up for those age 50 and older

 

Get the details

The IRS has more information on these and other retirement plans. Or you can consult with your local NEA Retirement Specialist.


* The IRS may make cost of living adjustments to retirement plan contribution limits each year.

For informational purposes only. Not intended as legal or tax advice.

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