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Joel, that's a very clever idea. If one knows they will be changing jobs, one could pile on the contributions in the existing 401k to compensate for the gap in eligibility later on. I'm going to file that idea away for future reference :)

You can also play this game if you have two employers with 401k plans. Max both of them part year and then adjust if you need to to keep below the max.

Not sure about Roth 401ks, but for regular 401k's usually there is a higher after tax limit in addition to the pretax limit. So you may very well want to do the pretax and after tax limit for the part year. But most employers allocate funds with each paycheck or once per month. I don't think you can back allocate. Some will let you specify how much pretax you want to contribute each pay check and then automatically stop collecting when you reach the max allowed per year. That is probably your best course if allowed by your plan.
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