Average 401(k) account balances nearly double since crisis

ICI chief Stevens says assumption that 401(k) plans aren't working is wrong

Oct 17, 2013 @ 9:32 am

By Barry B. Burr

401(k), ICI, paul schott stevens, crisis
+ Zoom

The average 401(k) account balance was $94,482 at the end of 2011, the most recent figures available, up from $49,932 at the end of 2008, Paul Schott Stevens, president and CEO of the Investment Company Institute, said Wednesday at a news briefing in Chicago.

The average balance was $76,534 in 2007, Mr. Stevens added. The numbers are based on 8.6 million 401(k) plan participants who had account balances at the end of each of those years.

Efforts to reduce 401(k) tax incentives would harm plans and participants, Mr. Stevens said. Although there have been proposals to reduce the incentives, no legislation has been introduced.

Fees have come down for 401(k) mutual funds, he said, although he did not have specific figures. He noted three-quarters of all stock mutual funds used for 401(k) plans have a fee of less than 1%.

(Don't miss: 6 disastrous 401(k) mistakes)

The assumption that 401(k) plans aren't working is wrong, he said.

The 401(k) plan “is a very powerful retirement savings tool for people who use it through their working life,” said Mr. Stevens, adding, “It will contribute to a comfortable retirement.”

(Barry B. Burr is editorial page editor at sister publication Pensions & Investments.)


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Featured video


How NextGen talent is impacting financial services

Nextgen talent brings a diverse perspective and unique skills to the industry. Find out why two Utah Valley University students are so excited to make a difference.

Video Spotlight

Will It Last As Long As Your Clients Do?

Sponsored by Prudential

Video Spotlight

The Catalyst

Sponsored by Pershing

Latest news & opinion

Brian Block's $4 million bonus was tied to a key metric at ARCP

Prosecution rests case in fraud trial against CFO of American Realty Capital Properties.

Edward Jones is winning the Google search war

Brokerage firm's digital marketing investment helps land it at the top of local and overall search engine results, report finds.

Vanguard rides robo-advice wave to $65B in assets

Personal Advisor Services, four times the size of its closest competitor, combines digital and human touch.

CFPs, including brokers, may have to adhere to a stricter fiduciary duty

CFP Board revises its standards and aims to beef up fiduciary requirements of certificants.

CFP Board's proposal to expand fiduciary duty draws praise, carries risks

Some question whether brokers will drop the CFP mark or if the CFP Board will strictly enforce its new standard.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print