What are the combined limits for a 401k (either traditional or roth) when employer issued vs private? If someone is not eligible right now for employer 401k, so they invest 4k privately over 2018 (married joint), and then become eligible for an employer plan, how do the limits work?

  • 3
    What do you mean by "private 401(k)"? Do you mean a traditional IRA or some sort of individual (sole proprietor) 401(k)?
    – D Stanley
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 13:55
  • By “private 401k” are you referring to a Solo 401(k)? Are you self-employed?
    – Ben Miller
    Commented May 10, 2018 at 16:06
  • By "privately", I am referring to a Roth or Traditional IRA through a service such as The Honest Dollar.
    – iq78
    Commented May 11, 2018 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Qualified Plans (such as 401(k)'s) and IRA's are independent of each other. You can defer $18,500 into a 401(k), then turn around and contribute $5,500 into an IRA (ignoring income limits).

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