What is the Difference Between 401k and 403b

401(k) and 403(b) are both retirement savings plans offered by employers in the United States. Both plans allow employees to contribute pre-tax dollars to an investment account, which grows tax-deferred until withdrawn in retirement. However, there are some key differences between the two plans. 401(k) plans are available to employees of for-profit companies, while 403(b) plans are available to employees of public schools and certain other tax-exempt organizations. Additionally, 403(b) plans have lower contribution limits than 401(k) plans. However, 403(b) plans offer a wider range of investment options, including annuities, which can provide a guaranteed stream of income in retirement.

401(k) vs. 403(b): Understanding the Differences

401(k) and 403(b) are retirement savings plans that offer tax advantages to participants. Both plans allow contributions to be made on a pre-tax basis, meaning that the money grows tax-free until it is withdrawn in retirement. However, there are some key differences between the two plans, including contribution limits and catch-up contributions.

Contribution Limits

The contribution limits for 401(k) and 403(b) plans are different. For 2023, the contribution limit for 401(k) plans is $22,500 ($30,000 for those age 50 or older). The contribution limit for 403(b) plans is $22,500 ($30,000 for those age 50 or older), plus an additional catch-up contribution of up to $3,500.

Catch-Up Contributions

Catch-up contributions are additional contributions that are allowed to be made to retirement plans by individuals who are age 50 or older. These contributions are designed to help individuals who have fallen behind on their retirement savings to catch up. The catch-up contribution limit for 401(k) plans is $6,500 for 2023. The catch-up contribution limit for 403(b) plans is $3,500 for 2023.

PlanContribution LimitCatch-Up Contribution Limit
401(k)$22,500$6,500
403(b)$22,500$3,500

Types of Retirement Accounts

401(k) and 403(b) plans are retirement savings accounts offered by employers. Both plans allow you to save money for retirement on a tax-advantaged basis. However, there are some key differences between the two plans.

Employer Matching

  • 401(k) plans: Employers may contribute matching funds to employee accounts.
  • 403(b) plans: Employers are not required to contribute matching funds.

Vesting

Vesting refers to the extent to which you own the money in your retirement account.

  • 401(k) plans: Vesting schedules vary depending on the plan, but employee contributions are always 100% vested.
  • 403(b) plans: Employer contributions may be subject to a vesting schedule.

Table Summary

Feature401(k)403(b)
Employer MatchingMay be offeredNot required
VestingVaries; employee contributions always fully vestedEmployer contributions may be subject to vesting schedule

401k vs. 403b: Understanding the Key Differences

401k and 403b are retirement savings plans offered by employers in the United States. While they share similarities, there are some key differences between the two plans that potential participants should be aware of.

Investment Options

Both 401k and 403b plans offer a variety of investment options, including:

  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Mutual funds
  • Exchange-traded funds (ETFs)
  • Target-date funds

However, 403b plans may have a more limited range of investment options than 401k plans. This is because 403b plans are typically offered by public schools and other non-profit organizations, which may have different investment restrictions than for-profit companies.

Fees

Both 401k and 403b plans may charge administrative fees and investment management fees. These fees can vary depending on the plan provider and the investment options selected. It’s important to compare the fees associated with different plans before making a decision.

Fee Comparison
Fee401k403b
Administrative fee$25-$75 per year$20-$60 per year
Investment management fee0.5%-1.5% of assets0.5%-1.25% of assets

In general, 401k and 403b plans offer a range of investment options and fees. It’s important to carefully consider the investment options and fees associated with each plan before making a decision.

401k vs. 403b: Understanding the Similarities and Differences

401k and 403b plans are both tax-advantaged retirement savings plans offered by employers. While they share some similarities, there are also key differences between the two.

Similarities

  • Tax-deferred contributions: Contributions to both plans are made on a pre-tax basis, reducing your current taxable income.
  • Employer matching: Many employers offer matching contributions to employee accounts, which can significantly boost retirement savings.
  • Investment options: Both plans offer a variety of investment options, allowing you to customize your portfolio to meet your risk tolerance and investment goals.

Differences

Feature401k403b
Employer TypeFor-profit organizationsNon-profit organizations, public schools, and certain other tax-exempt entities
Contribution LimitsEmployee: $22,500 (2023); $30,000 (age 50+ catch-up)
Employer: No statutory limit
Employee: $22,500 (2023); $30,000 (age 50+ catch-up)
Employer: Up to 100% of employee salary, subject to the overall contribution limit
Withdrawal RulesGenerally, early withdrawals (before age 59½) incur a 10% penalty tax, but there are some exceptions.Early withdrawals generally incur a 10% penalty tax, but some exceptions may apply for hardship withdrawals.
Tax ImplicationsContributions are made on a pre-tax basis, reducing current taxable income. Distributions are taxed as ordinary income at retirement.Contributions are made on a pre-tax basis, reducing current taxable income. Distributions are taxed as ordinary income at retirement.

Withdrawal Rules

Both 401k and 403b plans allow you to withdraw funds after reaching retirement age without penalty. However, early withdrawals (before age 59½) generally incur a 10% penalty tax. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as withdrawals for medical expenses, higher education costs, or a first-time home purchase.

Tax Implications

Contributions to both plans are made on a pre-tax basis, which means they reduce your current taxable income. This can result in significant tax savings, especially if you are in a high tax bracket. Distributions from both plans are taxed as ordinary income at retirement. However, Roth 401k and Roth 403b plans offer tax-free withdrawals of contributions and earnings, provided certain conditions are met.

Thanks for sticking with me until the end. I know this can be kinda dry stuff, but I hope it’s been helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line. In the meantime, keep saving for your future and I’ll see you again soon with more financial wisdom. Cheers!