Some 2017 Retirement Limits Likely to Climb

September 20, 2016 Marge Martin EA, MAAA, FSPA

As the evenings turn cool and the trees prepare their fabulous annual display, every retirement plan practitioner and HR specialist has just one question in mind—What will the benefit plan limits be for next year???!@@

This season invariably invites predictions of next year’s benefit plan limits given that the annual COLA adjustments for most limits are measured using the CPI-U announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for July, August and September. BLS announces these a few weeks after the indicated month ends and the July and August numbers are now a matter of public record.  The September rate will be released this year on October 18, at which time the guessing will be over.

With both the July and August rates in hand, there is little doubt that we will see some increases in the benefit limits for 2017 as displayed below. From time to time we have seen the CPI-U retreat slightly, but we would need to see a fairly significant decrease in the September figure to eliminate the projected increases shows below. More likely, the September CPI-U will advance slightly. But for any of these limits to jump to the next level, a 2.7% increase would be needed in just one month. That’s not likely to happen. Accordingly, here are select predictions:

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