The 403(b) Basics: 403(b) Contribution Limits
Participants may contribute up to $19,000 for year 2019. The limit was $18,500 in 2018. From 2017 to 2015 the limit was $18,000. In 2014 and 2013 the limit was $17,500. It was $17,000 in 2012.
For those with employer matches or other employer contributions, the limit is $56,000 or 100% of compensation (whichever is less). The participant is still limited to the employee elective deferral limit ($19,000 for 2019). An employer can add up to another $37,000.
Age 50 Catch Up
Participants age 50 and older at any time during the calendar year are permitted to contribute an additional $6,000 in 2019. The age 50 catch up has been $6,000 since 2015. From 2009 to 2014 it was $5,500.
Employees with 15 years of service with their current employer and an annual average contribution of less than $5,000 per year are eligible for an additional $3,000 contribution per year up to a lifetime maximum catch up of $15,000. This is known as the 15-year rule. For participants eligible for both the age 50 catch up and the 15-year rule, the IRS will apply contributions above the regular limit first to the 15-year rule. Employers are not required to make this provision available.
Among findings: worry about not having enough money to last them through retirement.