Fidelity Announces Q1 2018 Retirement Data: Saving Rates Hit Record High and Account Balances Continue to Increase Over Long-Term

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BOSTON — Fidelity Investments® today released its quarterly analysis of retirement savings trends and behaviors, including account balances, contributions, savings behavior and details on workplace savings plan design. Overall, the average account balance at the end of Q1 2018 for individuals who save in both a Fidelity IRA and a Fidelity workplace savings account, such as a 401(k) or a 403(b), rose to $299,600, a 9 percent increase over the average balance of $275,700 at the end of Q1 2017.

Additional highlights from Fidelity's Q1 analysis reveal:

  • Average individual 401(k), 403(b) and IRA account balances increased year-over- year, but dipped slightly from Q4 2017. The average 401(k) balance dropped to $102,900, about 1 percent lower than Q4 2017 but an 8 percent increase from Q1 2017. The average IRA balance also dipped about 1 percent to $105,100 from last quarter, but increased 8 percent year-over-year. The average 403(b) account was $82,100, down slightly from Q4 2017 but up 9 percent year-over-year.

Average Retirement Account Balances

  Q1 2018 Q4 2017 Q1 2017 Q1 2013
401(k)1 $102,900 $104,300 $95,500 $81,200
IRA2 $105,100 $106,000 $97,800 $80,500
403(b)3 $82,100 $83,200 $75,200 $61,700
  • 401(k) savings rates continue to increase. The total savings rate for 401(k) investors, which combines the average employee contribution rate plus an employer's 401(k) match, reached a record high of 13.2 percent at the end of Q1, up from 13.0 percent the previous quarter. In addition, 30 percent of 401(k) savers increased their contribution rate over the last 12 months, with Millennials leading the charge (36 percent increasing their contribution rate).
  • IRA contributors grow by double digits. Among IRA holders, the average contribution amount in Q1 was $3,180, a 3 percent increase over the average contribution amount of $3,100 a year ago. The percentage of people who contributed to their IRA in Q1 increased 14 percent over a year ago. Among Millennials, IRA contributions increased 27 percent, while the contribution amount increased 34 percent compared to a year ago.

"Despite some market volatility at the beginning of 2018, retirement savers stayed on track and continued to contribute to their IRAs and workplace savings plans," said Kevin Barry, president of workplace investing at Fidelity Investments. "In addition, an increasing number of savers are contributing to both their IRA and workplace savings plan. Combining the benefits of these two savings vehicles helps build a diversified retirement savings strategy and can provide a significant boost to an individual's retirement savings efforts."

Long-Term 401(k) Savers See Significant Gains

In an effort to demonstrate the positive impact of consistent, long-term saving behaviors, Fidelity's Q1 analysis also reveals:

  • 10-year account balances reach record levels. Individuals who have saved in their company's 401(k) for 10 years had a record high average account balance of $290,100 at the end of Q1, compared with an average of $250,500 a year ago.
  • 15-year account balances up 9 percent. Individuals who have saved in their company's 401(k) for 15 years had an average balance of $379,600 at the end of Q1, up from $330,200 a year ago.
  • 401(k) millionaires increasing. The number of people with $1 million or more in their 401(k) increased to 157,000 at the end of Q1, a 45 percent increase from Q1 2017. Based on Fidelity's internal analysis4, most 401(k) millionaires have been saving for about 30 years.

"Especially during periods of market volatility, it's important to take a long-term approach to retirement savings" continued Barry. "Making regular contributions over time is a key part of building your savings, especially a retirement nest egg."

Increasing Use of Roth Options, Managed Accounts and Target Date Funds

Fidelity's Q1 analysis also examines the different types of accounts and retirement plan design features that are available to meet the varying needs of investors.

  • Roth investment options continue to increase in popularity. Roth IRAs continued to be a popular savings option, especially among Millennials. As of Q1, 75 percent of all IRA contributions from Millennials went into Roth IRAs. In addition, the average contribution rate to Roth 401(k) plans rose to 6.7 percent, a slight increase over the 6.6 percent contribution rate in Q1 2017. And Fidelity's Roth for Kids, which allows an adult custodian to contribute the lesser of the child's earned income or $5,500 to an account, had a 78 percent increase in the number of accounts with contributions.
  • More employers are offering a workplace managed account to help keep savings on track. Workplace managed accounts, which are an increasingly popular way for individuals to leverage professional investment expertise to help manage their retirement savings, are now offered by more than 5,300 employers1, more than double the percentage offering a managed account option five years ago. Among large employers (more than 50,000 employees) with a Fidelity 401(k) plan, nearly 50 percent offer a managed account.
  • Increasing use of target date funds to help manage savings. With 98 percent of employers offering target date funds and 89 percent using them as the default investment option1, an increasing percentage of individuals are leveraging target date funds to help keep their asset allocation on track, and many individuals keep all of their retirement savings in a target date fund. As of the end of Q1, 74 percent of individuals saving in a 401(k) or tax exempt plan had invested in a target date fund, a 3 percentage point increase over last year. In addition, 52 percent of individuals held all of their savings in target date funds – among Millennials, that number rose  to 70 percent.

"Today's retirement savings plans have a variety of features and options that are designed to help individuals with a range of savings goals, strategies and levels of expertise," concluded Barry. "Leveraging these features can help individuals feel more confident about their retirement savings efforts and help keep them on track to reach their retirement goals."

For additional details on Fidelity's Q1 analysis, please click here to access Fidelity's "Building Futures" overview, which provides additional information insight on retirement trends and data.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity's mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $6.9 trillion, including managed assets of $2.5 trillion as of March 31, 2018, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 27 million people invest their own life savings, 23,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 12,500 financial advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients' money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long- term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.

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