Each year, the IRS makes an announcement regarding whether IRA and 401(k) contribution limits will be increased or will stay the same. Whether or not the limits increase depends on the inflation rate. The IRS calls these increases COLA Increases (cost of living adjustments). If the IRS feels that an increase is warranted, IRA and 401(k) contribution limits will increase in increments of $500.
In 2013, the IRA contribution limit increased from $5,000 to $5,500. The IRA limit remained at $5,000 from 2008 until 2013. Given the fact that the IRA contribution limit was increased in 2013 and that inflation has remained relatively low, I don’t suspect the IRS to increase the IRA contribution limit in 2014.
On the other hand, 401k(k)s have seen more frequent increases in their contribution limits compared to IRAs. There have been four increases in the 401(k) contribution limit since 2007 compared to just two increases for IRAs. It would certainly be possible for the 401(k) contribution limit to increase by $500 while the IRA contribution limit remains the same in 2014.
In 2013, the 401(k) contribution limit increased from $17,000 to $17,500, which was a back-to-back $500 increase from previous years. The contribution limit in 2012 was $17,000 and in 2011 was $16,500.
When does the IRS announce the contribution limits for 401(k)s and IRAs? That usually takes place towards the end of October. The IRS announced the contribution limits on October 18, 2012. You may want to consider keeping tabs on the IRS website for further announcements.