Can You Contribute to a 401k After Age 72

After age 72, you may still be able to contribute to a 401(k) plan if you meet certain criteria. If you are an employee who owns more than 5% of the company, you may be able to make after-tax contributions to your 401(k). These contributions are not tax-deductible, but they will grow tax-deferred until you withdraw them. You must also be a participant in the company’s 401(k) plan in order to make after-tax contributions. Additionally, your employer must allow after-tax contributions to the plan.

Distributions from 401(k) Accounts After Age 72

Once you reach age 72, you are required to take minimum distributions from your 401(k) account. These distributions are known as required minimum distributions (RMDs). The amount of your RMD is based on your account balance and your life expectancy. You can take your RMDs in a variety of ways, including:

  • Monthly
  • Quarterly
  • Annually

You must take your first RMD by April 1 of the year after you reach age 72. If you fail to take your RMD, you will be subject to a 50% penalty on the amount that you should have withdrawn.

Here is a table that shows the RMD percentages for different ages:

AgeRMD Percentage









The RMD percentages increase each year as you get older. This is because your life expectancy decreases as you get older, so you need to withdraw a larger percentage of your account balance each year.

If you have multiple 401(k) accounts, you must calculate your RMD for each account separately. You can then take your RMDs from any of your 401(k) accounts. However, you cannot combine your RMDs from different accounts.

IRA Contribution Limits After Age 72

After reaching age 72, individuals have different contribution limits for 401(k)s and IRAs. Here’s a summary of the rules:

  • 401(k) Contributions: No contributions are allowed after age 72, even if still working.
  • Traditional IRA Contributions: Individuals can continue making regular contributions to traditional IRAs regardless of age, as long as they have earned income.
  • Roth IRA Contributions: Individuals can contribute to Roth IRAs up to age 72 if they meet income limits. However, after turning 72, they are no longer eligible to make contributions.

It’s important to note that the income limits for Roth IRA contributions gradually phase out starting at certain income levels. For 2023, the income limits are as follows:

Filing StatusPhase-Out Range
Head of Household$153,000-$204,000
Married Filing Jointly$218,000-$228,000
Married Filing Separately (if lived apart for entire year)$0-$10,000

Individuals who exceed the phase-out ranges are not eligible to contribute to a Roth IRA. However, they can still contribute to a traditional IRA and may be able to deduct their contributions, depending on their income and filing status.

Required Minimum Distributions vs. 401(k) Contributions

Individuals aged 72 or older are generally required to take Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) from their retirement accounts, including 401(k)s. These distributions are intended to ensure that retirement savings are used during the account holder’s lifetime.

However, there are different rules regarding 401(k) contributions for individuals who are still working and aged 72 or older:

  • Traditional 401(k)s: Contributions are not permitted after age 72, even if you are still working.
  • Roth 401(k)s: Contributions are allowed regardless of age, but individuals must meet income limits.
Traditional 401(k)Roth 401(k)
Age Limit for ContributionsAge 72None (if income limits are met)
Tax TreatmentPre-taxPost-tax
RMDs RequiredYesNo

It’s important to note that RMDs are based on life expectancy and must be taken annually from all traditional retirement accounts, including traditional 401(k)s. Failure to take the RMD can result in a penalty of 50% of the amount that should have been distributed.

401(k) Contributions Beyond Age 72: An Explanation

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) sets certain age-based limits on contributions to retirement accounts like 401(k) plans. Generally, you can contribute to a 401(k) until you reach age 72, after which contributions are no longer allowed. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Exceptions to the Age 72 Contribution Limit

  • Catch-up contributions: Individuals who are age 50 or older can make additional catch-up contributions to their 401(k) accounts. The catch-up contribution limit for 2023 is $7,500.
  • Employer contributions: Employers can still make contributions to an employee’s 401(k) account even after the employee reaches age 72. However, these contributions are subject to the overall plan limits.
  • Roth 401(k) conversions: Individuals can convert their traditional 401(k) account to a Roth 401(k) account at any age. Roth 401(k) contributions are not subject to the age 72 contribution limit.

Tax Implications of 401(k) Contributions Beyond Age 72

If you make contributions to a 401(k) account after reaching age 72, the following tax implications may apply:

401(k) Contributions Beyond Age 72 – Tax Implications
Contribution TypeTax Treatment
Traditional 401(k) contributionsDeductible from your income, but taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn
Catch-up contributionsDeductible from your income, but taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn
Employer contributionsNot taxed when contributed, but taxed as ordinary income when withdrawn
Roth 401(k) contributionsNot deductible from your income, but qualified withdrawals are tax-free

It’s important to consider the tax implications of making 401(k) contributions beyond age 72 before doing so. If you have any questions or need additional guidance, it’s recommended to consult with a financial advisor.

Well, there you have it, folks! I hope this article has shed some light on the complexities of contributing to a 401(k) after age 72. Whether you’re planning for retirement or simply trying to make the most of your savings, it’s essential to understand the rules and regulations surrounding tax-advantaged accounts. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to seek professional financial advice. And as always, thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by again soon for more informative articles on personal finance and financial planning.