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September/October 2019

Know Your 401(k) Words

If you’re like many workers, you contribute to a company-sponsored 401(k) plan, but you might not understand all the financial jargon that comes with one. If you’re among the justifiably confused, some of these definitions may clear up any uncertainty.

As with a life insurance policy, you’ll need to name one or more beneficiaries of your 401(k) plan so its assets can pass as intended in the event of your death.

Contribution Limit
In 2019, you may contribute up to $19,000 plus another $6,000 if you’re at least age 50. Your plan, however, may have different limits, so ask about them.

IRS-speak for withdrawals, don’t take distributions before age 59 1/2 because, with few exceptions, you’ll pay a penalty and income tax on the amount.

That’s how much of your contributions an employer matches. Make it a point to contribute enough to take full advantage of the match.

Required Minimum Distributions
This mouthful is better known as RMDs. They are not space movie robots, but required withdrawals you generally must begin taking at age 70 1/2. Fail to do so and you’ll owe a penalty.

Vested Interest
Your contributions belong to you, but you may not immediately vest fully in your employer’s match, which can take up to five years.

Jump Start
Now that you know a few more 401(k) plan words, take the next step and begin contributing more. The retired you will appreciate your early efforts.


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