The IRS recently announced the inflation-adjusted retirement savings numbers for 2019, and the IRA contribution limit is rising for the first time since 2013.
In this Industry Focus: Financials clip, host Jason Moser and Fool.com contributor Matt Frankel, CFP, discuss the change, why it took so long for the limit to rise, and what it means for Americans who contribute to IRAs.
A full transcript follows the video.
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This video was recorded on Nov. 5, 2018.
Jason Moser: Let's talk about these IRA changes. I thought this was pretty neat. I was also a little bit taken back by the fact that this is the first increase to the annual contribution limit since 2013. You published a nice article here, we'll get that out to our listeners. Talk to us a little bit about the IRA increasing the limit on contributions for 2019.
Matt Frankel: The IRS looks at contributions every year for things like IRAs, 401(k)s, and other types of retirement vehicles. For IRAs, it's a pretty big jump. This is almost a 10% jump, from $5,500 a year as the standard maximum contribution to $6,000. The reason being, they adjust this upward with inflation over time, but can only do it in $500 increments. So, for a 401(k), where the maximum was $18,500, a $500 jump isn't that hard to come by when you're talking about inflation. But with an IRA, that's almost a 10% jump, and it takes a little bit of time before we get 10% inflation. Hopefully. If we're getting 10% inflation a year, we have other problems besides the IRA limit.
This is a big deal for retirement savers. It means that anyone who uses an IRA as their primary retirement savings vehicle has the potential to set aside an additional almost 10% a year for their retirement. Most people with IRAs, unlike 401(k)s, max out their contributions every year. I think the average is right around $5,000 as an annual contribution, and the maximum was $5,500. So, it's fair to say that the majority of people with IRAs come close to at least maxing out their contribution. This is good news in the pending retirement crisis that you keep hearing about. The average American will be able to set aside a little more for their retirement if they choose to do so.
Moser: That's always good news. Of course, we encourage anyone and everyone out there to start saving for retirement. No matter your age. You can't start soon enough. We'll make sure to get that article tweeted out there on the Industry Focus Twitter feed