Fidelity Retirement Savings Analysis: Savings Rates, Account Balances Climb to Record Levels in First Quarter

  • 401(k)
  • Saving for Retirement
  • Trends
  • 401(k)
  • Retirement Accounts
  • 401(k)
  • Saving for Retirement
  • Trends
  • 401(k)
  • Retirement Accounts
  • 401(k)
  • Saving for Retirement
  • Trends
  • 401(k)
  • Retirement Accounts

BOSTON — Fidelity Investments® today released its quarterly analysis of its 401(k) and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA). The analysis1 reveals:

  • Savings rates reach record levels:
    • The total savings rate for 401(k) savers, which combines individual contributions plus employer contributions (such as a company match and profit sharing), reached a record 12.9 percent in Q1, topping the previous high of 12.8 percent in Q1 2006. In addition, a record 27 percent of 401(k) investors increased their individual savings rate in the last 12 months.
    • Savings rates also increased for those saving in an IRA. In fact, 17 percent more Fidelity customers contributed to their accounts this quarter versus the same period last year. In addition, there was a 38 percent increase in the amount being contributed. This is great news for all savers, but especially for Millennials2 where there was a 42 percent increase in number of accounts receiving contributions and 51 percent increase in the amount of contribution dollars
  • Retirement account balances set new records. Positive stock market performance and increasing contributions drove the average 401(k) and IRA balances to record levels at the end of Q1. The average 401(k) balance hit $95,500, while the average IRA balance climbed to $98,100.

Average Balances

  Q1 2017 Q4 2016 One year ago 5 years ago
401(k) $95,500 $92,500 $87,600 $74,900
IRA $98,100 $93,700 $89,300 $75,100
  • People saving in an IRA and a 401(k) saw significant balance increases. As more retirement savers recognize the benefits of IRAs and 401(k) accounts, the number of people with both an IRA and a 401(k) from Fidelity increased 9 percent in 2016 to almost 1.4 million. The average combined IRA/401(k) balance increased 5 percent year-over-year from $260,900 to $273,600, the highest average combined account balance ever.

"It's encouraging to see the increasing number of people who contributed to their retirement savings this quarter," said Kevin Barry, president, Workplace Investing, Fidelity Investments. "While retirement account balances were aided by positive stock market performance in the first quarter, consistent saving in a retirement savings account – any account, whether that's a 401(k), IRA or both – can have a significant, positive impact on your long-term retirement success."

More workers are contributing to both a 401(k) and a Health Savings Account

An important component of a retirement savings strategy includes considering the cost of health care. The rise of consumer-driven health plans paired with a health savings account (HSA) has created more opportunity for employees to save for health care expenses now and in the future. As more employers offer overall financial wellness programs in the workplace, including Fidelity's Financial Wellness content, employees have gained a better understanding of the tight relationship between saving for retirement and managing health care expenses.

The number of employees who contribute to both a 401(k) and HSA from Fidelity increased 21 percent3 between 2014 and 2016. Employees saving in an HSA aren't cutting back on contributions to their 401(k), just the opposite: savings rates for employees with both a 401(k) and HSA are often higher (10.6 percent in 2016) than those saving in their 401(k) (8.2 percent in 2016). In addition, 88 percent of HSA participants who started contributing to their HSA accounts maintained or increased their 401(k) savings after their HSA enrollment.

"Health savings accounts and 401(k)s contribute to an employee's financial well-being, so it's encouraging to see more employers and employees understand and embrace the complementary nature of these accounts," continued Barry.

To learn more about health savings accounts, the Fidelity Viewpoints article, "Three Health Habits for Health Savings Accounts," outlines simple strategies to help employees better understand HSAs, and a Fidelity podcast has information to help eligible employees determine if a health savings account is right for them. In addition, Fidelity's "Retirement Roadmap" Viewpoints article outlines the various factors of a successful retirement savings strategy, including how much to save, where to save, and important considerations such as taxes and health care costs.

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 $6.0 trillion, including managed assets of $2.2 trillion as of March 31, 2017, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 26 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 45,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit

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