In my most recent payroll (which included bonuses), I messed up my contribution % for pre-tax and after-tax 401k. I ended up with $10k in pre-tax and $44k in after-tax (+4k in employer matches), when my intent was to do $10k and $23k.

The issue is that this already puts me at the full $58k limit for 2021 instead of $37k and also resulted in $0 take-home pay :(

  • I had left about $9.5k contribution balance for pre-tax because I will be changing employers soon, and there is the opportunity to get an extra $5k employer match.
  • I still would have contributed the full $58k by the end of the year, but my total after-tax contributions would have been $23k (in this check) + $6.5k (by the end of the year) vs. $44k.


  1. Is there any way for me to "withdraw" $14k from my excess after-tax amount from Fidelity now without triggering any penalties? If I do so, can I still contribute the $14k back later in the year?
  2. If that is not possible, I would at least like to be able to take advantage of the full $19.5k pre-tax contribution limit. Is it possible to "recharacterize" my after-tax money as pre-tax after the fact?
  • 1
    Seems like you would be better off contacting Fidelity directly. – chepner Feb 16 at 20:59

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