By: David I Gensler, MSPA, MAAA, EA
The catch-up contribution got its name because it was designed to help older workers “catch up” on contributions they may not have made when they were younger. Simply stated, it is an opportunity to make up for lost time.
Anyone who turns age 50 at any point during a calendar year can make an annual catch-up contribution. In 2017, the catch-up can be as much as an additional $6,000. That is above and beyond the $18,000 401(k) dollar maximum. So an individual turning age 50 during 2017 could defer as much as $24,000 [$18,000 + $6,000].
However, according to research done by Vanguard, only about 16% of plan participants took advantage of the catch-up contribution.
The following are six things that you may not know about catch-up contributions.