Ways to Save More for Retirement After Maxing Retirement Contributions

August 24, 2021
  • Even if you've maxed out your retirement accounts, you can keep saving for later. 
  • After-tax 401(k) contributions could allow you to save thousands more, if you're able. 
  • Health savings accounts and taxable investment accounts are also smart ways to keep saving. 
  • Read more Personal Finance Insider coverage »

If you've been saving aggressively for retirement, you might find a limit in your way. 

Retirement accounts only allow you to save a certain amount each year. In 2021, 401(k) savers can contribute up to $19,500 pre-tax per person (or $26,000 for those age 50 or older). Those contributing to Roth or traditional IRAs can contribute up to $6,000 (or $7,000 for those age 50 or older)

If you want to save more than these limits, it's entirely possible. Here are financial planners' suggestions for how to save more for retirement. 

1. Consider a health savings account 

A health savings account, or HSA, can be a good place to start if you're interested in saving more. 

Said financial planner Jovan Johnson of Piece of Wealth Planning, "I love it because the money goes in technically pre-tax, it grows tax-deferred, and it comes out tax-free. If you follow the rules, it's a triple- tax benefit."

These accounts can help you save more for health expenses now, but they can also be invested and saved for retirement. The money doesn't expire, and after age 59 and a half, the funds can be used for any purpose.

But, they aren't for everyone: To open one, you'll need to choose a high-deductible healthcare plan, which could make medical expenses cost more in the short term. But, these accounts offer you the chance to save and invest for health expenses, up to $3,600 for those with individual coverage, and $7,200 per year for family healthcare coverage. 

"That's the best account there is, tax-wise," said Johnson. 

2. See if you can contribute after-tax to your 401(k)

If your employer allows it, you might be able to save more than just the $19,500 pre-tax contribution limit per year in your 401(k), according to financial planners.

In some instances, it's possible to save more for retirement right in your 401(k) with an after-tax contribution, financial planner John Bovard of Incline Wealth explained. "The way that it's set up in the IRS tax code, you can make after-tax contributions from your paycheck," he told Insider. "Some 401(k) plans do allow for that for after-tax contributions." 

In 2021, the overall limit for 401(k) contributions totals $58,000 per year (or $64,500 for those age 50 or older), and that total figure includes any matches and pre-tax contributions available.

Investing more after taxes could be a good way to keep investing over and above the typical limit. Before considering this as your option, however, you should check with your 401(k) plan administrator to make sure it's possible within your plan. 

3. Consider an individual taxable investment account

Outside of retirement accounts, an individual taxable investment account doesn't have any of contribution limits. While it doesn't have any of the tax advantages of typical retirement accounts, it does offer the opportunity to save as much as you can. 

Johnson said this account can be particularly helpful for those who want to retire early. Without an age restriction on withdrawals, it's possible to live off your investment-account savings in early retirement at any age. 

A taxable brokerage account can also be a flexible place to start saving more if you're looking for a nearly unlimited way to save and invest.