If your employer offers a 401k and Roth 401k plan, are these considered two separate accounts? If I want to contribute the maximum funds allowed for 2020 ($19,500) equally between both, does that mean each account now has $9,750?

Or are the funds mixed together in one account? So I would still have $19,500 in one place, it would just be that 50% of it are Roth contributions and the other 50% are regular contributions?

2 Answers 2


For 2020 you can put $19,500 of your own funds into a 401(k). That can be split between Roth and traditional any way you want. You will specify that split when you specify the contribution level through your employer. If you turn 50 this year you can add another $6,500, and that can also be split any way you want.

The 401(k) trustee will know the source of each $ in the account. They will know what portion is traditional, what part is Roth, and what part is company match; they even track the growth due to pre-tax and post-tax funds.

You can move this money around within the account. You can decide how to split the money among the fund options, you just can't change its source. They have to do this so when you make a withdraw or a rollover they can tell you the tax impacts.

when I look at the quarterly statement, It reminds me of my Vanguard account. In my Vanguard statement I have a section for Roth IRA, Traditional IRA and taxable account. For my current employer there is a section for Roth 401(k) and a section for traditional 401(k). Each section can split their investments differently.

  • 1
    So is there a separate traditional balance and Roth balance, or is there just one balance? Can I invest the traditional funds in one thing and the Roth funds in another thing, or do I pick just one investment allocation? Jul 30, 2020 at 10:36
  • I added a paragraph to the end. Jul 30, 2020 at 12:04
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    @TannerSwett My experience with splitting investments differently in the Roth 401(k) and Traditional 401(k) differs from mhoran_psprep -- in mine you cannot, there's just a table in the statement that says "Roth %", "Trad %", "Employer Contribution %". So it probably depends on the custodian
    – PGnome
    Jul 30, 2020 at 13:51

The funds are not mixed between Roth 401(k) and non-Roth 401(k). The broker is required to keep separate accounting of the funds in Roth 401(k). See 26 USC 402A(b)(2):

Separate accounting required -- A program shall not be treated as a qualified Roth contribution program unless the applicable retirement plan—

(A) establishes separate accounts (“designated Roth accounts”) for the designated Roth contributions of each employee and any earnings properly allocable to the contributions, and

(B) maintains separate recordkeeping with respect to each account.

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