By Dr. James M. Dahle, WCI Founder
Contribution limits for 401(k)s, 403(b)s, 457(b)s, IRAs, Roth IRAs, HSAs, FSAs, SIMPLE IRAs, and SEP IRAs are all indexed to inflation. While the contribution limits do not go up every year and while every account does not use the same formula for when there will be an increase, you will generally see an increased contribution every year or two.
Inflation was relatively high in the first half of 2021, so the 2022 contribution limits for many of these accounts will be increased. In fact, if you know the latest inflation numbers, it is possible to calculate the increase even before the IRS announces it in October or November. The closer you get to October, the more accurate your projection can be.
2022 401(k) and 403(b) Employee Contribution Limit
For 2022, the total employee contribution limit to all plans for those under 50 will be going up from $19,500 for 2021 to $20,500 for 2022. The catch-up contribution limit should stay the same at $6,500, so if you're 50+, your 401(k) employee contribution limit should be $27,000 in 2022.
2022 401(k)/403(b)/401(a) Total Contribution Limit
For 2022, the total of all employee and employer contributions per employer should increase from $58,000 for 2021 to $61,000 for 2022 for those under 50. Since the catch-up contribution of $6,500 should remain the same, the total contribution for those 50+ should be $67,500.
Note that the 401(a) limit is separate from the 403(b) limit. So you could theoretically get $61K into each of them.
2022 457(b) Contribution Limit
457(b) contribution limits will increase from $19,500 to $20,500. 457(b)s have unique catch-up contribution rules, so consult with your plan administrator if you are interested in putting more in your 457(b).
2022 Traditional and Roth IRA Contribution Limits
Unfortunately, due to the way the formula works and how the IRS rounds, IRA contribution limits and catch-up contributions will not increase for 2022. They will remain at $6,000 ($7,000 if 50+).
2022 SEP-IRA Contribution Limits
SEP-IRA contribution limits will increase to $61,000 per year for 2022, up from $58,000 per year in 2021.
2022 SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401(k) Contribution Limits
The SIMPLE IRA and SIMPLE 401(k) contribution limits will increase from $13,500 in 2021 to $14,000 in 2022.
2022 Health Savings Account (HSA) Contribution Limits
For single people, the HSA contribution limit will increase from $3,600 in 2021 to $3,650 in 2022. Family coverage is always double the single coverage, so it will increase from $7,200 to $7,300.
2022 Flexible Savings Account (FSA) Contribution Limits
Healthcare FSA contribution limits will increase from $2,750 in 2021 to $2,850 in 2022. Note that there are other types of FSAs (such as dependent care FSAs) with different limits.
Other Interesting Increases
The Defined Benefit Plan 415(b) limit for maximum annuity limit will increase from $230,000 in 2021 to $245,000 in 2022.
The 401(a) compensation limit (amount of earned income that can be used to calculate retirement account contributions) will increase from $290,000 in 2021 to $305,000 in 2022. This is always 5X the maximum 401(k) plan total contribution limit.
Highly-compensated employee definition should increase from $130,000 in 2021 to $135,000 in 2022.
The deductibility phaseout for IRA contributions for those with a retirement plan at work should increase from $66,000-$76,000 in 2021 to $68,000-$78,000 in 2022 for singles, and it'll move from $105,000-$125,000 in 2021 to $109,000-$129,00 in 2022 for those filing married filing jointly.
The Roth IRA Direct Contribution Limit phaseout will increase from $125,000-$140,000 for 2021 to $129,000-$144,000 for 2022 for singles and from $198,000-$208,000 for 2021 to $204,000-$214,000 for 2022 for those filing married filing jointly. If your MAGI is above that, you'll need to contribute indirectly via the Backdoor Roth IRA process.
Social Security benefits are also projected to increase by 6.2% for 2022.
While it feels like all of these are increases, they are really just keeping up with inflation. They're just cost of living increases. On a real (after-inflation) basis, they're the same as this year.
What do you think? Are you surprised by any of these? Are you glad they're indexed to inflation? Comment below!