Question: What is the most I can save in tax-advantaged retirement accounts during my first year of employment?

Answer: $24,000 (If you’re under 50 and employer offers a 401(K))

Or

$5,500 (If you’re under 50 and employer has no 401(K))

 

While you’re on a ship you are housed, fed and sometimes clothed for free. Every single cent flies into a bank account far far away. The numbers on the statement go forth and multiply. Three figures become four, four figures become five and now suddenly you’re in the money.
Now the first thing you should do is take your last payout in cash. Second, lay the cash  on the floor of your hotel room. Third, roll around in the money.  As you lie on the ground, surrounded by smug Benjamin Franklins, take a moment to remember: It’s not what you make, it’s what you keep.
Working 6 months a year cost free grossing between $40,000-$90,000 opens doors. Here are three ways a single mariner can stash away money and max out their money.
  1. 401K: $18,500 max pre-tax contribution
2a. Traditional IRA: $5,500 max under the age of 50, $6,500 over the age of 50.
OR
2b. Roth IRA: $5,500 max under the age of 50, $6,500 over the age of 50.
This means that the most a young mariner, under the age of 50, can save using retirement accounts is $24,000 by maxing out both a 401 (K) and IRA.
Edit: I have noted that the $18,500 limit is the amount that can be deducted pre-tax. In less than 10% of 401K plans it is possible to save an additional $35,000 a year post-tax and then roll over the 401K funds into a Roth IRA upon discharge from your company. 2/18/18