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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

New contribution limits for retirement accounts

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By Clark Howard


There are new levels under the tax code that dictate what you can put into retirement accounts for 2013.

The maximum contribution to a 401(k) this year is $17,500. If you're 50 or older, you can make an additional $5,500 catch-up contribution to your 401(k) -- or to your 403(b) or the federal government's Thrift Savings Plan.

You should definitely look into this if you make a good salary now, but you never got around to saving when you were younger.

Half of all Americans have no access to a retirement plan at work. In that case, you should do a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA on your own. The new contribution cap for these accounts is $5,500.

According to the figures I've seen, only 7% of people who have an IRA or a Roth IRA are maximum contributors. Make it a resolution to be among them if you can.

It's clear from the debate in Washington that more responsibility will come back on you and me for our retirement. Anything you can do to save today gives you more freedom later on.

Finally, the annual gift tax exclusion is $14,000 for 2013. That means you can give up to $14,000 to anyone without it being a taxable issue. Just be sure to document what you've given and know that Uncle Sam has no part and no play in it.

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