I have 401(k) through work that gets contributed monthly and it has maxed out contributions for the year ($18K).

My wife doesn't have 401(k) and is self employed. If she opens 401(k) at the end of the year (November) can she contribute up to the maximum $18K in one payment and will contribution count tax free? Or is there some rule how much you can contribute per month?

Context: She made more than $18k for this year. We are filing jointly total income will be $200k+

  • 1
    Many 401k plans have a maximum of a paycheck that you can contribute, around 75-80%, and sometimes not bonuses.
    – CQM
    Oct 31, 2017 at 1:20
  • I believe the limit is 25 or 40% for a SE retirement account. The limits are higher because they combine the individual and employer limits
    – Eric
    Oct 31, 2017 at 6:09

1 Answer 1


Yes you con contribute as much as possible (subject to company policies); there is no restriction from the IRS as to when during the year you can contribute. I have known people that did not contribute during the year and just contributed their entire Christmas bonus in December.

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