2022: Current Retirement Savings Limits

In 2022, 401K plan employee contribution maximums have increased by $1K to $20,500 and the catch-up (at age 50) remains at $6,500 (or a maximum of $27K). Total employer and employee contributions for 401K plans has increased to $61K. On the other hand, pension plan contributions are limited to $260K but the amounts are determined early in 2022. IRA contributions remain at $6K and for those over age 50 at $7K but tax deductibility is dependent on earnings and whether you’ve contributed to a 401K/403b plan. A Roth IRA contribution can be made instead of the IRA contribution, and it also has earning limits. Long-Term Capital Gain federal tax rates this year are still at 0%, 15%, and 20% dependent on taxable income levels but these are expected to increase in the new tax plan. Gifts can be made tax free to the recipient up to $16K in 2022 and for non-US citizen spouses this tax-free gift rises to $164K without additional paperwork. Keep in mind that these annual gifting exclusion limits are in addition to the currently huge lifetime tax-free gifting limit of $12.06M per person. The child tax credit and after-tax Roth conversion are part of the new tax plan under consideration.

Edi Alvarez, CFP®


Self Employed Individual 401K Plan Loans

Who said you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

Self employed small business owners have an opportunity to not only save maximally through retirement plans but also build a safety-net through their ability to borrow from their individual 401K accounts.  Properly structured they can borrow from their retirement plan when the need arises without incurring the usual 10% penalty for early withdrawal.

In addition, 401k Loans for the Self employed business owners provides a loan, while allowing them to pay back interest to their own 401K rather than a financial institution.

An Individual 401k loan is permitted using the accumulated balance of the Individual 401k as collateral for the loan. Individual 401k loans are permitted up to 1/2 of the total balance of the 401k (but not exceed $50,000). A loan from an Individual 401k is received tax free and penalty free. There are no penalties or taxes if loan payments are paid on time.

Individual 401K Loans

  1. Can be used for any purpose.
  2. There are no income or credit qualifications to receive the loan.
  3. The monthly loan payments of principal and interest are repaid back into your own Individual 401k – you borrow and grow your retirement at the same time.

In addition, the assets can be from prior employer or IRA accounts that are rolled over to your individual 401K account.

Individual 401k are available to self employed individuals and small business owners with no full time employees other than a spouse. Your business can be a Sole proprietorships, LLC, S and C corporations,

The terms are set by the employer (yourself) but the 401k usually has a 5 year maximum repayment term for most loans, except it can be longer, for home purchase. There are no income or credit qualifications although you must charge yourself a competitive interest rate.

Although simple and fast to execute you  should remember that you are borrowing on your retirement nest egg.  It is only a valid action when you know you will have the ability to pay it back – default results in a withdrawal that can carry a 10% penalty.  The loan facilitates borrowing when it might be too difficult or too expensive to go through banks and lending institutions.

As good as it sounds consider that unlike a mortgage or a home-equity loan, if you use a 401(k) loan to buy or improve your home, you won’t get a tax deduction on the interest you pay. You may have to pay a one-time fee to the plan administrator for the cost of originating a loan; the fee is usually $50-100. Your retirement plan will also miss future targets if you don’t continue making annual contributions while you have this outstanding loan.  Though most self-employed who borrow from their 401K often pay their loans early it is important not to misuse your hard-earned retirement assets.

As can be seen the 401K Loan, like all tools, has advantages in disadvantages.  The advantages for the self employed should  encourage anyone who is or is planning to have their own business to begin saving in a tax deferred manner maximally.  By using an individual 401K account you can have your tax deferred savings and simultaneously build a safety net.

Edi Alvarez, CFP®