401k vs 403b: What Is The Difference Between 401k and 403b In 2022?

Nothing is scarier than not having anything to show for the times you were in active service. This thought alone can make you wish to turn back the hands of time even when it is obvious that you can’t.

It is a noble thing to get a good job and fend for things you should take care of using your salary but nobler to set aside some savings which you can refer to as your retirement plan.

While it may seem a difficult thing for you to do considering the state of things and how you want to attend to all of your problems immediately, some organisations have automated means of setting aside some good percentage of your salary for you.

Now, what comes to your mind when you hear 401k and 403b?

What is difference between 401k and 403b

To build an infallible financial strength, you need to gain an indepth understanding on how the various plans work.

Basically, the 401k and 403b plans have similar features which will also be outlined in this article.

What is 401k Plan?

The 401k plan is a savings plan that enables you to put up a certain percentage from your income before you pay taxes.

This, in turn, reduces what your taxable income should be annually. Coined from a section of the IRS code, 401k became a law in 1978.

Currently, this plan has availed a good number of Americans to invest about $5.8 trillion. It is important to note that while your salary is deducted, it doesn’t lie effortlessly in the plan.

It undergoes a cyclical motion of going to work and producing profits.

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Characteristics of the 401k Plan

Contribution Limits

Did you know you can contribute up to $19,500 in the 401k plan and an additional $6,500 if you are 50 years or older?

That is to say that, your contribution and that of your employer put together should not worth more than $57,000 in a given year.

Employer Match

In the 401k saving plan, there is room for employers to also offer a code for free money.

What this means is that a cetain match is established for your salary percentage usually about 3 or 4%.

Untimely Removal Sanction

If you are remain intentional about your savings for retirement, you would try the much you can to not make an early withdrawal.

Although there are such things as loans and early withdrawals, it is one thing you should not think of doing. For if you do, you may not be able to stand the consequences that follow.

Required Minimum Distribution

This is a specific amount that you must withdraw from your retirement accont at retirement age.

Previously, the retirement used to be age 70 but in 2020, it changed to age 72. So, this rule puts you in check by distributing your saving accordingly.

What is 403b Plan?

You may be surprised to know that there are similarities in the retirement plans. However if you work for organizations that are tax-exempted, chances are that you operate a 403b account.

It is called a 403b because it is outlined in section 403b of the tax code. So, let’s look at what their differences are.

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Differences between 401k and 403b plans

Employer Match

While both retirement saving plans allows for employer match, the 403b plan has fewer employers to match with their plans.

For an employer to offer a match, there has to be a compliance with the 1974 Employee Retirement Income Security Act. Most employers avoid this because it cots them a lot of time and resources.


The government’s intervention on not wanting to add more burden on non-profit organizations has literally made the 403b plans to be less expensive.

The 401k plans are more expensive but it doesn’t have much impact on you as the employee.

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Investment Options

Notably, 403b plans provide mutual funds and allocations while 401k plans offer correlative funds, allocations, stocks, and bonds.

Also, 401k offers a variety of quality investment options.


The organizations that qualify for 401k plans are companies that exist for profit purposes while the tax-exempt organizations such as hospitals, schools, religious organizations take up the 403b plan.

Which One is Better?

Both saving plans are good but the determinant factor to which account you should use is your employer.

If you work with a business that is geared towards making profits, you will be granted access to a 401k plan as part of your infringement.

However non-profit organizations grant you access to a 403b plan.

Also, both retirement saving plans allows you to borrow up to 50% with stringent rules you must abide to while paying back.

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Final Thoughts

Regardless of which account you use, it is vital that you make plans for your financial future. You may not have the slightest idea how far taking a saving plan would take you far in life.

Nonetheless, both plans share similar characteristics.

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