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Keep in mind, the $16,500 limit is the pretax contribution limit. The total contribution limit, sum of pretax and after tax, is often much higher, typically 25% of gross income or more.

Others on this board know better than I do, but I would not be concerned about what others say about their plans. You can bet your employer consulted the experts to set up your plan. So do the best you can with their rules and don't worry about advice for "typical" other plans.

The best simulator is one constructed in a speadsheet program like Excel. That lets you customize your numbers. You can quite easily factor in the effects of account earnings and additional contributions. And even come up with a magical number you need to retire. Usually in Fooldom that is a minimum of 25x your living expenses including income taxes and payments for health insurance, etc. Then some would factor in a reasonable inflation factor, say 3% to get a final number.

If you don't know your expenses number, you can use your present salary, but most can adjust that for savings. And of course, every dollar saved from your expenses pays you three ways: reduces the retirement number, increases your savings, and increases investment income.
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