Author Topic: Post-tax contributions to 403b??  (Read 4843 times)

Memphis Mustache

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Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« on: June 19, 2017, 03:22:21 PM »
So, I consider myself to be very much a novice when it comes to investing. I currently have two retirement accounts that I can invest in: my 403b from TIAA-CREF, which is a benefit at work and my Roth IRA which I have with Vanguard.

My intention is to begin maxing out my pre-tax contributions to my 403b beginning on January 1st (we are only allowed to make changes to our contribution rates once a year at my employer). Obviously, the current pre-tax contribution max for a 403b is $18,000 for calendar year 2017 (and I assume it will be the same for 2018). I am under 50, so I don't qualify for the catch-up rules for the 403b.

I will also be maxing out my Roth IRA with Vanguard and I assume that the contribution limits will probably still be $5,500.


I have a pretty decent job and a low cost of living (by normal American standards, not by Mustachian standards) and, as a result, I estimate that I will have another $1,200 to $1,400 left over each month that I can invest. Knowing this, I have tried to do some research to find the best, most tax-advantageous way to invest this money. So, I did some research online and it appears to be legal to make post-tax contributions to 403b accounts, as long as the total amount contributed (between your pre-tax & post-tax contribution and employer contributions) doesn't exceed $54,000 or your compensation for the most recent calendar year.

I have contacted TIAA-CREF to try to verify that what I am reading online is correct and have even supplied them with the IRS' link to the below verbage and document and the TIAA-CREF representative told me that post-tax contributions are allowed but he couldn't confirm what I was stating. It was pretty frustrating not to be able to get a good answer on a pretty important topic. So, I thought I would come here.

So, am I correct in believing that post-tax contributions to a 403b are allowed and that it could allow me to thus contribute more than the original $18,000 pre-tax that I already intend to put into my 403b?


Here is the verbage from the IRS site on contributions (pre-tax\salary contributions, as well as post-tax contributions) that seems to indicate post-tax contributions in excess of the original $18,000 pre-tax contribution is legal and allowed:

Limit on employee elective salary deferrals

The limit on elective deferrals - the most an employee can contribute to a 403(b) account out of salary - is $18,000 in 2015 - 2017. Employees who are age 50 or over at the end of the calendar year can also make catch-up contributions of $6,000 in 2015 - 2017 beyond the basic limit on elective deferrals.

Limit on annual additions

The limit on annual additions (the combination of all employer contributions and employee elective deferrals to all 403(b) accounts) generally is the lesser of:
◦$54,000 for 2017 ($53,000 for 2015 and 2016), or


◦100% of includible compensation for the employee's most recent year of service.


Generally, includible compensation is the amount of taxable wages and benefits the employee received in the employee's most recent full year of service. If your 403(b) plan doesn’t limit the total employer and employee contributions to the annual limits, find out how to correct this mistake.



Here is the link to the IRS page itself which explains 403b contribution limits:

https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/plan-participant-employee/retirement-topics-403b-contribution-limits




dandarc

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2017, 03:32:37 PM »
So, #1 - understand post-tax contributions.  These are not the same as Roth contributions.  You put money in after tax, and you pay ordinary income tax rates on the earnings portion when you withdraw.

Because of that - ordinary income rates at withdrawal vs. the usually more favorable capital-gains rates, most people don't make post-tax contributions except as part of the MegaBackdoor Roth strategy.  http://www.madfientist.com/after-tax-contributions/

So your best Mega-backdoor Roth experience will happen if the following 2 things are true of your plan (while the IRS allows it, your 401K or 403B may not).

1.  Allows post-tax contributions.

2.  Allows in-service rollovers.

Without the in-service rollovers, you can still do a Mega-backdoor Roth, but it isn't quite as good a deal - you won't have as much growth in the Roth account.  So you're doing the right thing to ask your plan administrators about it.  You should have access to a copy of the plan description which will layout all of the features of the 403B.

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2017, 03:43:10 PM »
I have been sending messages back and forth with a TIAA representative and he stated that my 403b plan does allow for after-tax contributions. The part that I was struggling with him about was trying to confirm whether or not I can do both my $18,000 per year in pre-tax contributions as well as doing some post-tax contributions (my $1,200 to $1,400 that I have left over each month to invest). It was quite frustrating.

Yes, I read the Mega Backdoor Roth strategy and that is what I am ultimately shooting for: to contribute $18,000 per year pre-tax to my 403b, an extra $1,200 to $1,400 per month post-tax to the same 403b and to transfer (or rollover, whatever the proper terminology) the $1,200 to $1,400 post-tax dollars each month to my Vanguard Roth IRA without a tax penalty. Having that money in my Roth each month would ultimately be the best place for it.

It seems the TIAA rep and I were probably each limited by our own knowledge of contribution limits and the IRS' rules regarding them.

MidWestLove

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2017, 07:18:41 PM »
"
it appears to be legal to make post-tax contributions to 403b accounts, as long as the total amount contributed (between your pre-tax & post-tax contribution and employer contributions) doesn't exceed $54,000 or your compensation for the most recent calendar year.
"

this only applies to employer and employee portion and there are specific rules depending on legal entity types on how the total amount is calculated up to allowed limits.  are you an employer (running your own small business)?   If not, please  don't confuse yourself and understand what as employee and are subject to employee contributed limit, that is it. Nothing in what you have posted in any form allows you to mix up employer and employee portions so your TIAA rep is right and your understanding of it is wrong.

Now on the limits in general
(1) there is an IRS set limits per type of the plan
(2) there is what your plan allows.

Item (2) can not be bigger than (1), but can be smaller if plan sponsor (plan owner, usually the employing corporation or organization) wants it that way. plan sponsor also can limit things like loans or remove that ability altogether, allow or not allow in service withdrawal, have or have no Roth options ,etc.  Each plan is a well defined legal constructed that ERISA specifies and you can get all of these details under Summary Plan Description (or SPD).

So in short
1) get SPD from your employer's HR. It is standard document which they must give to every employee upon request.
2) read it
3) unless you are a business owner, don't worry about employer portion of the contributions (pre-tax, post-tax, whatever, it simply does not apply to employee situation).
4) start a small business :) if you want more retirement contributions.









Dee18

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2017, 07:50:28 PM »
Where I work the limit on employee contributions to the 403b is $18000, whether pretax, posttax or a combination.  The $54000 limit means that the employer could also contribute $36000.  I am pretty sure this is the law.

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2017, 08:46:41 PM »
"
it appears to be legal to make post-tax contributions to 403b accounts, as long as the total amount contributed (between your pre-tax & post-tax contribution and employer contributions) doesn't exceed $54,000 or your compensation for the most recent calendar year.
"

this only applies to employer and employee portion and there are specific rules depending on legal entity types on how the total amount is calculated up to allowed limits.  are you an employer (running your own small business)?   If not, please  don't confuse yourself and understand what as employee and are subject to employee contributed limit, that is it. Nothing in what you have posted in any form allows you to mix up employer and employee portions so your TIAA rep is right and your understanding of it is wrong.

Now on the limits in general
(1) there is an IRS set limits per type of the plan
(2) there is what your plan allows.

Item (2) can not be bigger than (1), but can be smaller if plan sponsor (plan owner, usually the employing corporation or organization) wants it that way. plan sponsor also can limit things like loans or remove that ability altogether, allow or not allow in service withdrawal, have or have no Roth options ,etc.  Each plan is a well defined legal constructed that ERISA specifies and you can get all of these details under Summary Plan Description (or SPD).

So in short
1) get SPD from your employer's HR. It is standard document which they must give to every employee upon request.
2) read it
3) unless you are a business owner, don't worry about employer portion of the contributions (pre-tax, post-tax, whatever, it simply does not apply to employee situation).
4) start a small business :) if you want more retirement contributions.


I must say that my ability to accurately interpret some of the legal aspects of financial documents isn't great but I found a little bit of information on rollovers in my plan, with direct rollovers mentioned here:


How will my money be distributed to me if I request a payout from the Plan? If you obtain the proper consents, you may choose from the following options for your payout.
• Lump sum
• Partial payments
• Installment payments
• Annuity contract (if assets are held in a custodial account) or converted to an income option (if your assets are invested in an annuity contract)

The Individual Agreements governing the investment options that you selected for your contributions may further restrict your payout options. Please review the annuity contracts or custodial agreements before requesting a distribution and contact your Employer or the investment vendor if you have questions regarding your distribution options. If your distribution is eligible to be rolled over, you may choose to have your distribution paid to another eligible retirement arrangement. Contact TIAA-CREF for information regarding rollover procedures.

Do any penalties or restrictions apply to my payouts? Generally, if you take a payout from the Plan before you are age 59˝, a 10 percent early distribution penalty will apply to the taxable portion of your payout. There are some exceptions to the 10 percent penalty. Your tax adviser can assist you in determining whether you qualify for a penalty exception. If your payout is eligible to be rolled over, 20 percent of the taxable portion of your payout will be withheld and remitted to the IRS as a credit toward the taxes you will owe on the payout amount unless you do a direct rollover. EXAMPLE: You request a $10,000 payout from the pre-tax portion of your Plan balance. If the amount is eligible to be rolled over to another plan, but you choose not to roll it over directly, you will receive $8,000 and $2,000 will be remitted to the IRS.



Rollover of Distribution.

If you are entitled to receive a distribution from the Plan which is an eligible “rollover distribution,” you may rollover all or a portion of it either directly or within 60 days after receipt into another Section 403(b) retirement plan, a Section 457(b) plan, another qualified plan or an IRA. An eligible rollover distribution, in general, is any cash distribution other than a hardship distribution, a minimum distribution payment or a payment which is part of a fixed period payment over ten or more years or over the life expectancy of the Participant or the Participant and his designated beneficiary.
The distribution will be subject to a 20 percent Federal withholding tax unless it is rolled over directly into another qualified retirement plan, including a Section 403(b) retirement plan or a Section 457(b) plan, or into an IRA; this process is called a “direct” rollover.

If you have the distribution paid to you, then 20 percent of the distribution must be withheld even if you intend to rollover the money into another qualified retirement plan, including a Section 403(b) retirement plan or a Section 457(b) plan, or into an IRA within sixty (60) days. To avoid withholding, instruct the Fund Sponsor to directly rollover the money for you.



That is what I see in my TIAA-CREF Summary Plan Description. Based on the items in bold, I am assuming that a direct rollover to a Roth IRA of after-tax contributions is allowed.



Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 08:50:47 PM »
Where I work the limit on employee contributions to the 403b is $18000, whether pretax, posttax or a combination.  The $54000 limit means that the employer could also contribute $36000.  I am pretty sure this is the law.

Not really. The law limits employee pre-tax contributions to $18,000. The total contributions (pre-tax employee, employer contribution, post-tax employee) combined are limited to $54,000. I can't imagine why any employer with a 401k or 403b plan would try to limit their employees to contribution $18,000 total (pre-tax + post-tax), as that would be a disservice to their employees.

MidWestLove

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2017, 06:04:26 AM »
Does your SPD specifically says about type of contributions it accepts? Remember SPD is the governing document that describes everything to the letter (as it must by law).
What you posted has nothing to do with types of contributions plan accepts, you are wasting your time looking at distributions and using "it would be nice" logic - just look at SPD in how it defines eligible employee contribution types.

I think you already know the answer that it is not allowed under your (and vast majority of other 403b plans). Now, you can lead a campaign internally within your organization to amend/change plan (organize groups, provide feedback, etc). Whether it would be successful, who knows?  but TIAA has no power whatsoever to do anything your plan does not define as allowed, they are simply managers who execute plan instructions, they can not ever change them.

" I can't imagine why any employer with a 401k or 403b plan would try to limit their employees to contribution $18,000 total (pre-tax + post-tax), as that would be a disservice to their employees. "

not true.  and that logic does not work in the world of legal liability of well regulated retirement financial services industry. you plan allows you to do what its sponsoring organization allowed it to by defining the plan documents. 99% of the plan intent is to provide people with ability to save for retirement. uncle Sam (actually US Congress)  provides certain tax incentives if plan is defined properly (aka "qualified"). Now, you want to hack the system by exceeding the limits of employee contribution of qualified plan - good, me too! however, wanting something does not make it so if your SPD does not allow it. if you want to change SPD , the only way is from within by organizing employee groups and providing management feedback.








johnny847

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2017, 07:17:36 AM »
Where I work the limit on employee contributions to the 403b is $18000, whether pretax, posttax or a combination.  The $54000 limit means that the employer could also contribute $36000.  I am pretty sure this is the law.

I can't imagine why any employer with a 401k or 403b plan would try to limit their employees to contribution $18,000 total (pre-tax + post-tax), as that would be a disservice to their employees.

On the contrary, by law, if the contribution percentage of highly compensated employees (including their post-tax contributions) exceeds that of non highly compensated employees, then the 401k does not pass non discrimination testing and will be closed for all employees unless they fix it. Now AFAIK, you can't tell just HCEs you can only contribute X but not put the same restrictions on non HCEs, as that would be discriminatory. However, by telling all employees that none of them can most post-tax contributions, you would almost certainly only affect the HCEs, as post-tax contributions would generally speaking not be made by non HCEs (unless they're Mustachian, and obvoiusly there aren't that many of us).

http://www.plansponsor.com/401k-Nondiscrimination-Tests-Explained/

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 07:45:15 AM »
Does your SPD specifically says about type of contributions it accepts? Remember SPD is the governing document that describes everything to the letter (as it must by law).
What you posted has nothing to do with types of contributions plan accepts, you are wasting your time looking at distributions and using "it would be nice" logic - just look at SPD in how it defines eligible employee contribution types.

I think you already know the answer that it is not allowed under your (and vast majority of other 403b plans). Now, you can lead a campaign internally within your organization to amend/change plan (organize groups, provide feedback, etc). Whether it would be successful, who knows?  but TIAA has no power whatsoever to do anything your plan does not define as allowed, they are simply managers who execute plan instructions, they can not ever change them.

" I can't imagine why any employer with a 401k or 403b plan would try to limit their employees to contribution $18,000 total (pre-tax + post-tax), as that would be a disservice to their employees. "

not true.  and that logic does not work in the world of legal liability of well regulated retirement financial services industry. you plan allows you to do what its sponsoring organization allowed it to by defining the plan documents. 99% of the plan intent is to provide people with ability to save for retirement. uncle Sam (actually US Congress)  provides certain tax incentives if plan is defined properly (aka "qualified"). Now, you want to hack the system by exceeding the limits of employee contribution of qualified plan - good, me too! however, wanting something does not make it so if your SPD does not allow it. if you want to change SPD , the only way is from within by organizing employee groups and providing management feedback.


No, I do NOT know that it not allowed under my 403b plan or else I wouldn't be combing through the SPD, talking to a TIAA rep and posting here. If I knew it for a fact, then my research would be pointless. This is a question that I am working to get clarification on from my employer. A TIAA rep confirmed that post-tax contributions are allowed under my employer's plan but, as you stated, I need to focus on ensuring that it is allowed by my employer's plan and I intend to do that with my employer.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 07:52:33 AM by Memphis Mustache »

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 08:10:17 AM »
Where I work the limit on employee contributions to the 403b is $18000, whether pretax, posttax or a combination.  The $54000 limit means that the employer could also contribute $36000.  I am pretty sure this is the law.

I can't imagine why any employer with a 401k or 403b plan would try to limit their employees to contribution $18,000 total (pre-tax + post-tax), as that would be a disservice to their employees.

On the contrary, by law, if the contribution percentage of highly compensated employees (including their post-tax contributions) exceeds that of non highly compensated employees, then the 401k does not pass non discrimination testing and will be closed for all employees unless they fix it. Now AFAIK, you can't tell just HCEs you can only contribute X but not put the same restrictions on non HCEs, as that would be discriminatory. However, by telling all employees that none of them can most post-tax contributions, you would almost certainly only affect the HCEs, as post-tax contributions would generally speaking not be made by non HCEs (unless they're Mustachian, and obvoiusly there aren't that many of us).

http://www.plansponsor.com/401k-Nondiscrimination-Tests-Explained/


That is unfortunate, though I guess I shouldn't be surprised that our federal government would look at it that way. It is really unfortunate that they would consider it discriminatory to allow/encourage employees to save more money based on an employer's ration of HCEs to non-HCEs. Thanks for the information. I am definitely a novice but am learning things all the time from researching online.

dandarc

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2017, 08:26:17 AM »
On the contrary, by law, if the contribution percentage of highly compensated employees (including their post-tax contributions) exceeds that of non highly compensated employees, then the 401k does not pass non discrimination testing and will be closed for all employees unless they fix it. Now AFAIK, you can't tell just HCEs you can only contribute X but not put the same restrictions on non HCEs, as that would be discriminatory. However, by telling all employees that none of them can most post-tax contributions, you would almost certainly only affect the HCEs, as post-tax contributions would generally speaking not be made by non HCEs (unless they're Mustachian, and obvoiusly there aren't that many of us).

http://www.plansponsor.com/401k-Nondiscrimination-Tests-Explained/
That's exactly how it was done the last time I was a regular employee (as opposed to a contractor as I've been recently).  "If you make $109K or higher, you can only contribute up to 9% . . . "

MidWestLove

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2017, 09:05:43 AM »
" but, as you stated, I need to focus on ensuring that it is allowed by my employer's plan and I intend to do that with my employer."

you are on the right path, however the item below

"No, I do NOT know that it not allowed under my 403b plan "

the way you think about it is 100% wrong.

Stop looking for language of what is NOT allowed , it is silly and simply would not be there.

Instead, open the SPD on what IS allowed, it would describe it very plainly - these are the contribution types allowed under the plan.
Anything and everything not specifically described in that section is NOT allowed, end of sentence and end of search.

I mean it is your time and all, however your best bet is still read the contributions section of SPD and ignore everything else. What is says goes. What is does not list , does not go. you will not get around it.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2017, 09:14:50 AM by MidWestLove »

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2017, 10:33:31 AM »
" but, as you stated, I need to focus on ensuring that it is allowed by my employer's plan and I intend to do that with my employer."

you are on the right path, however the item below

"No, I do NOT know that it not allowed under my 403b plan "

the way you think about it is 100% wrong.

Stop looking for language of what is NOT allowed , it is silly and simply would not be there.

Instead, open the SPD on what IS allowed, it would describe it very plainly - these are the contribution types allowed under the plan.
Anything and everything not specifically described in that section is NOT allowed, end of sentence and end of search.

I mean it is your time and all, however your best bet is still read the contributions section of SPD and ignore everything else. What is says goes. What is does not list , does not go. you will not get around it.

Thanks for the response. You are probably right in how I have been reviewing the document - trying to read between the lines and interpret things that aren't necessarily there. I have reached out to my benefits department to clarify for sure what the rules are. I expect the news will not be positive but I will respond when I know for sure.

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 02:39:09 PM »
Well, I reached out to the Director of Benefits at my employer and we exchanged some emails where I explained what I wanted to do (ie the mega backdoor Roth) and, rather than answering whether or not our employer plan allows for it, she suggested that I make an appointment to talk to our TIAA Financial Counselor to see "what options are available to you". He apparently visits about once a month.

I thought that was interesting. I mean, if the Director of Benefits can't explain whether or not our own 403b plan allows for a mega backdoor Roth, then how does she expect a TIAA rep to do so? I guess he would at least be familiar enough with our plan to know the rules but I would have expected the Director of Benefits to know the rules of our 403b plan inside and out. I guess I expected too much. The only thing I can think of as to why she punted is that maybe my employer allowed TIAA to really lay the groundwork for our 403b plan's rules and that my employer took a hand's off approach to it?

dandarc

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #15 on: June 20, 2017, 02:56:10 PM »
Not very many people will even do the 18K max at most places.  Even fewer would be inclined to do more than that.  That is why people, even the people who deal with the 401K on a day to day basis, don't know about this part of the plan off the top of their heads.

But luckily, you can find this out yourself simply by reading the summary plan description.  So get a copy of that from somebody to answer your original question.

You asked a very specific question, and this is unrelated, but - given that you're working with TIAA-CREF and have a 403B, do you work for a public school or university?  If so, you might also have access to a governmental 457.  These are sometimes called deferred compensation plans.  A 457 is probably even better for you than a mega-backdoor Roth would be, given that you're on an early retirement forum.  Tax deferred today, and penalty free withdrawals at any age so long as you separate from the employer.  Oh, and this is in addition to the 403B - another $18K of tax-deferred space.

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #16 on: June 20, 2017, 03:07:46 PM »
Not very many people will even do the 18K max at most places.  Even fewer would be inclined to do more than that.  That is why people, even the people who deal with the 401K on a day to day basis, don't know about this part of the plan off the top of their heads.

But luckily, you can find this out yourself simply by reading the summary plan description.  So get a copy of that from somebody to answer your original question.

You asked a very specific question, and this is unrelated, but - given that you're working with TIAA-CREF and have a 403B, do you work for a public school or university?  If so, you might also have access to a governmental 457.  These are sometimes called deferred compensation plans.  A 457 is probably even better for you than a mega-backdoor Roth would be, given that you're on an early retirement forum.  Tax deferred today, and penalty free withdrawals at any age so long as you separate from the employer.  Oh, and this is in addition to the 403B - another $18K of tax-deferred space.

I work for a non-profit hospital. My employer offers 457f and 457b plans but only to certain job classifications and I am not in the job classifications that have access to those plans.

MidWestLove

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #17 on: June 20, 2017, 04:03:29 PM »
Cudos for following up!

Also remember, anything employer adopt , employer can amend (especially if their workforce asks for it) - fund section, the administrator (vanguard, fidelity ,etc.).

"My employer offers 457f and 457b "

Are these hot hat plans? Requiring income of 220k or more? My wife is in the same position - there is 457 which is only available to people with more than 200k in comp..

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #18 on: June 20, 2017, 05:45:30 PM »
Cudos for following up!

Also remember, anything employer adopt , employer can amend (especially if their workforce asks for it) - fund section, the administrator (vanguard, fidelity ,etc.).

"My employer offers 457f and 457b "

Are these hot hat plans? Requiring income of 220k or more? My wife is in the same position - there is 457 which is only available to people with more than 200k in comp..

At my employer the 457 plans are exclusively for certain job classifications, executives and medical faculty. So, it isn't based on income but the job classifications that are eligible are the highest paying jobs on campus.

dandarc

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2017, 08:44:57 AM »
Sorry to have brought the 457 up - was a shot in the dark.  Many reasons to not be enamored with the 457 plans in this case, aside from "Not eligible":

This is not a government 457B, so you've got concerns beyond the usual "what are the contribution limits, match, and investment options?".  The assets are not held in the same way that they are for a 401K - should the hospital go bankrupt, the 457 assets could be taken to satisfy creditors.

The 457F is even more interesting - no limits on contributions, however any money put there is taxable as soon as it vests, so having a large balance is risky from many avenues - "hospital goes bankrupt", "I leave before the money vests", "Once I vest, then I pay taxes even if I don't withdraw"

I can see why these plans are not allowed for rank-and-file employees - riskier than your typical 401K or IRA.

https://www.irs.gov/retirement-plans/non-governmental-457b-deferred-compensation-plans

Proud Foot

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #20 on: June 21, 2017, 09:21:30 AM »
So, #1 - understand post-tax contributions.  These are not the same as Roth contributions.  You put money in after tax, and you pay ordinary income tax rates on the earnings portion when you withdraw.

Because of that - ordinary income rates at withdrawal vs. the usually more favorable capital-gains rates, most people don't make post-tax contributions except as part of the MegaBackdoor Roth strategy.  http://www.madfientist.com/after-tax-contributions/

So your best Mega-backdoor Roth experience will happen if the following 2 things are true of your plan (while the IRS allows it, your 401K or 403B may not).

1.  Allows post-tax contributions.

2.  Allows in-service rollovers.

Without the in-service rollovers, you can still do a Mega-backdoor Roth, but it isn't quite as good a deal - you won't have as much growth in the Roth account.  So you're doing the right thing to ask your plan administrators about it.  You should have access to a copy of the plan description which will layout all of the features of the 403B.

I agree with this advice.  The first thing to figure out is if your plan allows in-service distributions/rollovers. This will be the biggest benefit of being able to do the post-tax contributions. If not then you will need to do more research on your personal situation and estimates about your future situation. Because you are already paying taxes on the savings (post tax contributions or taxable account) you will need to compare capital gains vs ordinary income rates.  Most likely capital gains rates are better now but may not be in the future.   Once you figure that part out then you would need to figure out if you can make post tax contributions and how all contributions are determined.  Do they fill the $18,000 bucket before the post tax? Can you do both at the same time? How is the match (if you have one) determined?

Memphis Mustache

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Re: Post-tax contributions to 403b??
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2017, 11:54:38 AM »
So, #1 - understand post-tax contributions.  These are not the same as Roth contributions.  You put money in after tax, and you pay ordinary income tax rates on the earnings portion when you withdraw.

Because of that - ordinary income rates at withdrawal vs. the usually more favorable capital-gains rates, most people don't make post-tax contributions except as part of the MegaBackdoor Roth strategy.  http://www.madfientist.com/after-tax-contributions/

So your best Mega-backdoor Roth experience will happen if the following 2 things are true of your plan (while the IRS allows it, your 401K or 403B may not).

1.  Allows post-tax contributions.

2.  Allows in-service rollovers.

Without the in-service rollovers, you can still do a Mega-backdoor Roth, but it isn't quite as good a deal - you won't have as much growth in the Roth account.  So you're doing the right thing to ask your plan administrators about it.  You should have access to a copy of the plan description which will layout all of the features of the 403B.

I agree with this advice.  The first thing to figure out is if your plan allows in-service distributions/rollovers. This will be the biggest benefit of being able to do the post-tax contributions. If not then you will need to do more research on your personal situation and estimates about your future situation. Because you are already paying taxes on the savings (post tax contributions or taxable account) you will need to compare capital gains vs ordinary income rates.  Most likely capital gains rates are better now but may not be in the future.   Once you figure that part out then you would need to figure out if you can make post tax contributions and how all contributions are determined.  Do they fill the $18,000 bucket before the post tax? Can you do both at the same time? How is the match (if you have one) determined?


Thanks. Just as an FYI: my employer contributes an amount equal to 7% of my salary to the 403b each year. It isn't a match, as they contribute the money even if I don't put a penny into the account. I consider that to be a pretty sweet deal, as I know that is better than what a lot of other employers do for their employees.