Fidelity® Reports 8 Percent Jump in Average 401(K) Balance Fueled by Stock Market Strength, Increased Savings

BOSTON, May 1, 2012 – Fidelity Investments® today reported its average 401(k) balance rose to $74,600 at the end of the first quarter, up 8 percent from the end of the fourth quarter 2011. The first quarter balance also represents a 62 percent increase since the end of the first quarter 2009, often considered the low of the 2008-2009 market downturn, when the average balance was $46,200.
Fidelity’s 401(k) savings analysis1 is based on the industry’s largest participant base of 11.8 million accounts2.

Strong stock market performance in the first quarter accounted for approximately 80 percent of the account balance growth with the other 20 percent attributed to both participant and employer contributions3.

“Participants have become much more engaged in their financial futures, as demonstrated by increased savings levels quarter over quarter” said James M. MacDonald, president, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments. “We also see clear evidence that employers can have a meaningful impact on employee retirement readiness by fostering a culture of savings at the workplace. To support these efforts, Fidelity continues to bolster its educational guidance programs, including onsite meetings at the workplace, enhanced mobile platforms, smartphone apps and innovative e-education programs.”

Additional Highlights from the First Quarter Include:
• Annual increase programs help drive savings: The number of participants taking advantage of annual increase programs (AIP) increased nearly nine fold over the past five years. AIP programs are an employer plan design option that automatically increases contribution rates4 by participating employees, typically by 1 percent per year. Of Fidelity 401(k) plans, 76 percent offer this program. During the first quarter, nearly 10 percent of Fidelity 401(k) participants increased their contribution rate versus less than 4 percent who decreased it. But of those participants in plans offering automatic AIP, 16 percent increased their contribution rate.

• Investors are seeking guidance at higher rates than ever before: In 2011, 20 percent more participants attended workplace workshops and 45 percent more used online webinars compared to 2010. Fidelity’s workshops and webinars are continually updated to help meet participant and plan sponsor needs as well as the market climate. Approximately two thirds of 401(k) participants accessed their account through NetBenefits®, Fidelity’s comprehensive participant portal, either online or through the company’s smartphone app. In response to participant demand for further help, Fidelity restructured its phone support model and provided additional training to nearly 200 dedicated workplace guidance consultants.

Infographic on 401(k)s available to download
To download an illustrative graphic on 401(k) savings from the first quarter and the impact of market returns, click:

About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Investments is one of the world’s largest providers of financial services, with assets under administration of $3.7 trillion, including managed assets of $1.6 trillion, as of March 31, 2012. Founded in 1946, the firm is a leading provider of investment management, retirement planning, portfolio guidance, brokerage, benefits outsourcing and many other financial products and services to more than 20 million individuals and institutions, as well as through 5,000 financial intermediary firms. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

1 Workplace defined contribution data based on more than 20,000 plans and nearly 11.8 million recordkept participants as of March 31, 2012, and do not include tax-exempt accounts and non-qualified plans, but does include plan data from the Fidelity Advisor 401(k) Program.

2 PlanSponsor DC Recordkeeping Survey, June 2011; Cerulli Edge Retirement Edition, Fourth Quarter 2011; Fidelity ranked #1 in Top DC Record Keepers ranked by assets and participants in Pensions & Investments, Dec. 31, 2011.

3 Employer net contributions.

4 Elective deferral rate.

Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Guidance provided by Fidelity is educational in nature, is not individualized, and is not intended to serve as the primary or sole basis for your investment or tax-planning decisions.

It is your responsibility to select and monitor your investments to make sure they continue to reflect your financial situation, risk tolerance, and time horizon. Most investment professionals suggest that you reexamine your investment strategy at least annually or when your situation changes. In addition, you may want to consult an investment adviser regarding your specific situation.


© 2012 FMR LLC.

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Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, Inc. 100 Salem St., Smithfield, RI 02917