Retirement planning requires constant vigilance, as every year, what you can do to prepare for your retirement changes. In particular, many of the guidelines that set contribution limits, retirement account eligibility, and tax breaks are indexed for inflation. Now that the final figures that go into establishing federal cost-of-living adjustments are available, the IRS has released the numbers that will guide your retirement planning in 2015. Let's take a look at the numbers you need to know in order to plan better for your retirement.
1. 401(k) contributions are on the rise
Savers will be able to set aside more money in their 401(k)s in 2015, with limits on both standard contributions and catch-up contributions climbing from this year's levels. In 2015, those under age 50 can contribute $18,000 to a 401(k) or similar plan, up from $17,500 in 2014. If you're 50 or older, you can make an additional contribution of $6,000 in 2015, as opposed to $5,500 this year.
2. IRA contribution limits will stay the same
Unlike 401(k) contributions, IRA limits won't change in 2015, remaining at their current level of $5,500 for at least one more year. In addition, the catch-up IRA contributions that those 50 or older can make will remain at $1,000, as that figure actually isn't indexed for inflation at all.
3. Income limits for IRA deductions will climb slightly
If you (and your spouse if you're married) don't have a 401(k) or other retirement plan at work, then you can always deduct your IRA contributions. But if you do have a retirement plan, then those above certain income limits can't deduct what they put in their IRAs.
In 2015, IRA deductions are phased out for single filers making between $61,000 and $71,000, up $1,000 from 2014 levels. For joint filers, the similar phase-out range is $98,000 to $118,000, up $2,000 from this year. And for those who aren't covered but whose spouses are, the phase-out range will climb next year by $2,000 to a range of $183,000 to $193,000.
4. Income limits for Roth IRA contributions will also go up
If you make too much money, then you aren't allowed to contribute to a Roth IRA at all. The phase-out range on Roth contributions for singles will go up $2,000 to between $116,000 and $131,000. For joint filers, an income range of $183,000 to $193,000 is where contributions are phased out, which is also $2,000 higher than it was last year.
5. Various self-employed retirement plans will allow larger contributions
Self-employed individuals have a number of choices to help them plan for retirement, and inflation also adjusts the amount that they're allowed to contribute on their own behalf. If you have a solo 401(k) plan, the total limit on all contributions -- both employer and employee -- will rise from $52,000 to $53,000 next year.
Other types of accounts will also see increases. SEP IRA limits will also go up by $1,000 to $53,000, subject to the usual 20% limit based on your adjusted income. The limit on SIMPLE IRA contributions will jump by $500 to $12,500 in 2015. For those who are 50 or older, the catch-up contribution on SIMPLE IRAs will rise by $500 to $3,000.
6. Taxpayers will have slightly greater access to the saver's credit
Low-income taxpayers are allowed to take a tax credit if they make contributions to an IRA, 401(k), or similar retirement account. The income limit to take that tax credit will go up slightly in 2015, with joint filers allowed to make up to $61,000, heads of household having a limit of $45,750, and single filers having a $30,500 limit. Those figures are $1,000, $750, and $500 higher than they were in 2014, respectively.
In order to plan effectively for your retirement, it's important to keep up to date with the changes in these and other important numbers from year to year. By doing so, you'll ensure that your retirement planning for 2015 and beyond will be the best it can possibly be and put you in the best position to have the retirement you've always dreamed of.