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I work two jobs and have a "normal" 401K plan from one of the two jobs. The contribution ceiling for a "normal" 401K plan in 2021 is $19,500. I know that contributing to a SEP IRA does not count towards the $19,500 you're allowed to contribute to your "normal" 401K plan.

If my second job provides a Simple 401K plan, do the contributions to this plan count towards the $19,500 ceiling for "normal" 401Ks?

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Yes they both count. There is not a per employer exception. Your contributions are limited to 19.5k (2021) for you until you reach age 50.

Making sure you max your 401K does take some active management on your part. Even if you have one employer, most plan only allow whole percentage amounts, not dollars or hundredths of a percent. In order to max one typically needs to adjust during the year. Raises, bonuses, and any other adjustable pay makes the correct percentage a moving target.

To complicate matters, contributing too much earlier in the year may cause you to miss out on some employer matches.

For your case, it is best to contribute the amount required to get the max match to one employer, and they use the other employer to get to 19.5k.

Some 401K plans further complicate this as they require older employees to designate which contributions are catch up, and which are regular.

Getting close to the 19.5K limit is an accomplishment on two fronts: Fiscal responsibility and ability to manage the changes in one salary.

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