403b vs. 457: What’s the Difference? 

Employers in the public sector and other qualified organizations may offer 403b or 457 plans. Learn more about these plans to see which one is right for you.

Many people are familiarized with 401k plans. These plans are sponsored by employers. These plans are available to qualified employees who can defer part or all of their paycheck before taxes. In certain cases, the employer may match some contributions.

Public-sector institutions at the federal and state levels, like schools, cannot generally offer new plans under the 401k plan. However, this doesn't mean that public-sector workers are left without employer-sponsored retirement savings options. There are two common options: 403b plans and 457 plans. Continue reading to find out more about 457b and 403b plans. Also, learn the difference between them as well as the contribution limits.

The 457 Plan

A 457 plan is one of the best options for public-sector employees. There are two types. You must work in a state or local government to be eligible for a 457 plan. Federal employers cannot offer these plans.

457b Plan

There are two types 457b plans. Tax-exempt and governmental. Sponsorship of governmental 457b plans by the state, local governments or some political agencies is possible. Employers that are not state, local or political governments or agencies but are tax-exempt can sponsor 457b plans. However, these plans are restricted to highly-paid employees or managers.

Participation in governmental 457b plans is open to any qualified employee or contractor. These plans don't tax contributions; money disbursed during retirement, or due to other events, is taxed.

You can receive distributions from your 457b plan for certain events:

  • When you turn 70 1/2, required distributions begin.
  • At 59 1/2, you can start taking optional distributions.
  • A qualifying emergency exists or you are in hardship.
  • You are not employed by the sponsoring employer when the plan ends.

Early withdrawal penalties are not applicable to 457b plans. You may be subject to a penalty if you withdraw non-457b funds from a plan 457b, such as a 401k, and roll them into a plan 457b.

457f Plan

Non-taxable entities, which aren't state or local employers, can opt for the 457f plan. This plan is only for those in high-paying positions or the top of the management. These plans are usually designed to offer a retirement perk to executives.

457b Plan Contribution Limits

Like other tax-deferred retirement plans 457b plans have contribution limits. You can only transfer a limited amount of your salary to a 457b account each year before taxes. How much depends on your age, how far you are from retirement, and what your contribution limits are.

The 2022 contribution limit for 457b plans is $20,500. This applies to most people. If your salary is less than $20,500, it can be included in the total. Each year, the contribution limits may change. They were $19,500 in 2020 and 2021. This total includes employer matching amounts.

Senior citizens who have not yet made retirement contributions can make greater annual contributions to their 457b plans through the IRS. Two situations allow extra contributions:

  • You are in your final three years before retirement. From 2022, you will be able to contribute up to $41,000 annually to a 257b pension plan.
  • You are 50 years old or older and wish to contribute to your retirement. You can contribute as much as $27,000 annually starting in 2022.

The 403b Plan

403b plans are also known as tax-sheltered annuity plan.

  • Certain types of ministries, churches or ministers
  • Qualifying 501(c), tax-exempt organizations
  • Organizations for public education
  • States regarding public school teachers

All eligible employees can join a 403b plan if an employer has it set up. Similar to 457b plans contributions to 403b plans below the annual threshold can be made before federal taxes will be deducted. This means that taxes are not paid until the beneficiary takes a distribution. This is usually in retirement, but sometimes earlier.

You can take distributions from your 403b plan at any one of these events:

  • You reach 59 1/2 years old (or any time thereafter).
  • You are permanently disabled and unable to work, or at the same level.
  • Your 403b benefits are transferred to your beneficiary when you die.
  • You can leave your employer sponsoring you for any reason. In this instance, you can roll your 403b assets into another qualified retirement fund.

The IRS states that employers who set up 403b plans can create hardship distribution and loan parameters. This is not a requirement. However, employers are allowed to create parameters for hardship distributions and loans. It's important that you read the fine print in your 403b plan to ensure you know if you can access the money with no penalties before you reach retirement age.

403b Plan Contribution Limits

There are several ways to contribute to a 403b program. First, elective deferrals are available. When people talk about retirement plan contribution, this is what they mean. A percentage of your salary is usually withheld from your paycheck to be deposited into your 403b account. This amount is withheld prior to taxes. It is not part of your income for tax calculations.

Employer contributions that are not elective refer to the amount the employer contributes to the fund. This could be a match, for example, your employer may match up 3% of your salary. This could be part of a benefit structure where the employer funds a specific amount of retirement.

After you have met the annual contribution limits, you are allowed to continue making after-tax contributions. These contributions can speed up your retirement fund's growth, but they do not provide tax deferral.

Each year, the IRS establishes contribution limits for 403b plans. The general contribution limit for 403b plans is $20,500 per year in tax-deferred contributions by employees as of 2022. The total contribution of both employer and employee cannot exceed $61,000 annually.

For 403b plans, catch-up contributions can be made. As of 2022, those 50 years old and older can contribute an additional $6,500 annually. Catch-up contributions are also possible for those who have 15 years of service with the exact same employer and same 403b plan. This catch-up limit is $3,000. The maximum catch-up amount allowed in this case is not more than $3,000. This depends on the number of years the individual has served and the amount they have contributed.

Which plan should you choose?

You may not be able to choose whether you wish to join an employer-sponsored, tax-deferred retirement program. Your employer may limit your options. In that case, you need to consider whether you have other options.

To help you choose the right plan for you, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of both 403b or 457b plans.

The pros and cons of 457b plans

The best thing about 457b plans? You can access your funds immediately after you retire or have a qualified emergency.

You can also catch up on your retirement savings by these plans, which allow you to double your contributions over the last three years. You also get the usual catch-up contributions opportunities once you reach 50. If you are a participant in a 457b plan you can roll your funds into a qualified 401k or Roth IRA if your employer is no longer available.

The downside is that any employer contribution counts towards the applicable contribution limits. These plans are less likely to offer great match scenarios, making it more difficult to maximize your retirement savings.

The pros and cons of 403b plans

If your employer contributes, you can usually have a higher annual contribution to a 403b plan. The employer contribution is not counted towards the maximum contribution you can make. In 2022, for example, the maximum amount employees can contribute to a 403b plan was $20,500. You and your employer can each contribute $61,000 annually.

You can make catch-up contributions to a 457b plan. However, you may not be eligible for the maximum 457b plan catch up allowances. If your employer has emergency withdrawal or loan options, you can only access funds in a 403.b plan before age 59 1/2.

How to choose the right plan for you

The 457b plan's catch up contribution limits make it more appealing if you are looking to save more for retirement. If your employer matches your contributions well, you might be able to make more in a 403b plan.

Can you have both a 403b or a 457b?

You can have both a 403b or 457b plan in certain cases. If your employer offers both types, and allows you to contribute to them both, this is possible.

You can maximize your retirement savings by having both types. By diversifying your retirement savings, you can reap the benefits of both plan types while minimizing some of the risks and maximizing the pros.

Our Take

It is up to you to decide what retirement plan works best for you. You should consider your options, your ability and future financial goals. A single retirement fund won't be enough in many cases to ensure your success in the future. You may want to look at wealth-building and investment opportunities beyond those offered by your employer as part of your retirement planning.

Personal Capital can help you learn more about your options, and to manage your financial life in a way that is more informed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the pros and cons of a gold IRA?

If you want to diversify your holdings but aren't able to access traditional banks services, a gold IRA is a great option. It allows you to invest freely in precious metals, such as gold, silver and platinum until they are withdrawn.

The downside is that withdrawing money early will pay ordinary income tax on the earnings. However, creditors will not be able to seize these funds if you default on your loan.

A gold IRA might be the right choice for you if you enjoy owning gold and don't worry about taxes.

Can I place gold in my IRA account?

Yes, it is possible! Gold can be added to your retirement plan. Gold is an excellent investment because it doesn't lose value over time. It also protects against inflation. And you don't have to pay taxes on it either.

Before you decide to invest in gold, it is important to understand that it isn't like other investments. You cannot buy shares of companies that are gold, like stocks and bonds. They are also not available for sale.

You must instead convert your gold into cash. This means you will need to get rid. You can't just hold onto it.

This makes gold different than other investments. You can always sell other investments later. But that's not the case with gold.

Even worse, you can't use the gold as collateral for loans. You may have to part with some of your gold if you take out mortgages.

What does that mean? You can't keep your gold indefinitely. You'll eventually need to convert it into cash.

However, there is no need to panic about it. All you have to do is open an IRA account. You can then invest in gold.

Which is more powerful: sterling silver or 14k gold?

Both gold and silver make strong metals. Sterling silver is more affordable than sterling silver which has only 24% pure silver.

Sterling silver is also known by the name “fine silver” because it is made up of a mixture from silver and metals like zinc, copper, and zinc.

The strength of gold is generally very high. It takes tremendous pressure to split it apart. It would be much easier to break it apart if you dropped an object on top a piece gold.

However, silver isn't as strong and durable as gold. A sheet of silver would likely bend and fold if you dropped an item on it.

Silver is used in jewelry and coins. Because of this, silver's value is subject to fluctuations based upon supply and demand.

What is a Precious Metal IRA?

Precious and precious metals are excellent investments for retirement accounts. They have held their value since biblical times. It is a great way of diversifying your portfolio and protecting against inflation by investing in precious metals like gold, silver, or platinum.

In addition, some countries allow citizens to store their money in foreign currencies. You can purchase gold bars from Canada and keep them at your home. Then, when you go back to visit family, you can sell those same gold bars for Canadian dollars.

This is a simple way to make investments in precious metals. It's especially useful if you live outside of North America.

Can I store my Gold IRA at Home?

Online brokerage accounts are the best way for you to invest your money. You can access all of the same investment options that you would have if you worked with a traditional broker but don't need to be licensed or qualified. Plus, there are no fees for investing.

A lot of online brokers offer tools for managing your portfolio. Many online brokers allow you to download charts that will show how your investments are performing.

Which type is best for an IRA?

When selecting an IRA for yourself, the most important thing is to find one that meets your lifestyle and goals. You must consider whether you want to maximize tax-deferred growth on your contributions, minimize taxes now and pay penalties later, or just avoid taxes altogether.

The Roth option is a good choice if you have a lot of money saved for retirement, but not enough to invest. The Roth option is also a smart choice if you work beyond the age of 59 1/2 and plan to pay income tax on any withdrawals.

The traditional IRA is better if you want to retire earlier because you will likely owe tax on your earnings. However, if your goal is to retire early, the traditional IRA might be more sensible. The Roth IRA allows you to withdraw some of your earnings or all without paying taxes.


  • To qualify as IRA allowable precious metals and be accepted by STRATA, the following minimum fineness requirements must be met: Gold must be 99.5% pure, silver must be 99.9% pure, and platinum and palladium must both be 99.95% pure. (stratatrust.com)
  • Depending on your financial situation, most experts recommend you invest no more than 5% to 10% of your retirement funds in precious metals. (forbes.com)
  • You can only purchase gold bars of at least 99.5% purity. (forbes.com)
  • Silver must be 99.9% pure • (forbes.com)

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How To

How to Buy Gold To Your Gold IRA

A term that describes precious metals is gold, silver and palladium. It is any element that has atomic numbers between 79 and 110 (excluding Helium), and which is valued because of its beauty and rarity. The most common precious metals are gold and silver. Precious metallics are frequently used as jewelry, money and industrial goods.

Due to supply and demand, the price of gold fluctuates every day. As investors seek safety from unstable economies, there has been an increase in demand for precious metals in the last decade. The increased demand has led to a significant rise in prices. However, the increasing cost of production has made some people concerned about investing in precious metals.

Gold is a reliable investment due to its rarity and durability. Gold never loses its value, unlike other investments. Additionally, you can sell and buy gold without any taxes. There are two ways you can invest in gold. There are two ways to invest in gold: buy gold bars and coins; or, you can invest directly in gold futures.

The physical gold bars and coins provide immediate liquidity. They are easy to store and trade. But they don't offer much protection against inflation. Consider purchasing gold bullion if you want to be protected from rising prices. Bullion can be defined as physical gold. It comes in different sizes. Bullion comes in a variety of sizes, including kilo bars and one-ounce pieces. Bullion is stored in vaults that are protected against theft and fire.

If you prefer owning shares of gold rather than holding actual gold, you should consider buying gold futures. Futures let you speculate about how gold's price might change. You can buy gold futures and get exposed to the price of gold without actually owning it.

A gold contract could be purchased if you wanted to speculate on the future price of gold. My position at the expiration of the contract will be either “long-term” or “short-term.” A long contract means I believe the gold price will rise, so I am willing to hand over money now in return for the promise of more money when the contract expires. A shorter contract will mean that I expect the price to fall. I'm willing and able to take the money now, in return for the promise that I will make less money later.

I will be paid the specified amount of the contract plus interest after the contract expires. This way I have exposure to the gold's price without having to actually hold it.

Precious Metals are great investments as they are difficult to counterfeit. Precious metals are more difficult to counterfeit than paper currency. Because of this, precious metals have traditionally held their value well over time.


By: Personal Capital
Title: 403b vs. 457: What’s the Difference? 
Sourced From: www.personalcapital.com/blog/retirement-planning/403b-vs-457/
Published Date: Tue, 06 Dec 2022 00:17:07 +0000

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