Contribute More to Retirement Accounts in 2019

Retirement savers can stash an extra $500 in IRA and 401(k) plans, and the income limits for contributing to a Roth are higher.

Question: How much can I contribute to my IRA and 401(k) in 2019? What are the income limits to qualify for a Roth?

Answer: You’ll be able to contribute slightly more to your retirement savings in 2019. The contribution limit for a 401(k), 403(b), 457 plan or the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan rises from $18,500 to $19,000 in 2019. You can continue to contribute an extra $6,000 if you’re 50 or older.

IRA contribution limits (whether for traditional or Roth IRAs) are increasing for the first time since 2013, from $5,500 to $6,000 for 2019. You can continue to add an extra $1,000 catch-up contribution if you’re 50 or older.

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The income limit to contribute to a Roth IRA increases slightly in 2019. Single filers and those filing as head of household can contribute the full amount to a Roth IRA if their modified adjusted gross income is less than $122,000, with the contribution amount gradually phasing out until their income reaches $137,000 (up $2,000 from 2018). Joint filers can contribute the full amount to a Roth if their modified adjusted gross income is less than $193,000, with the amount gradually phasing out until their income reaches $203,000 (up $4,000 from 2018).

Single taxpayers and head of household filers who are covered by a workplace retirement plan can deduct their traditional IRA contributions if their income is less than $64,000, with the amount gradually phasing out until their income reaches $74,000 (up $1,000 from 2018). For married couples filing jointly, if the spouse making the IRA contribution is covered by a workplace retirement plan, the income phase-out is $103,000 to $123,000 (up $2,000 from 2018).

If you are not covered by a retirement plan at work but your spouse is, you can deduct your full contribution if your joint income is less than $193,000, with the deduction gradually phasing out until your income reaches $203,000. You can deduct your full traditional IRA contribution if you are single or file as head of household and you are not covered by a retirement plan at work (or if you file jointly and neither you nor your spouse is covered by a retirement plan at work).

For more information about the income limits for deducting traditional IRA contributions in 2018 and 2019, see the IRS’s IRA Deduction Limits page (opens in new tab).

Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.