Average 401(k) balances dropped 10% in fourth quarter, says Fidelity

Average account dropped to $95,600 from $106,500 in the third quarter

Jan 31, 2019 @ 2:57 pm

By InvestmentNews

The average 401(k) balance dropped 10%, to $95,600, in the fourth quarter of 2018, down from the record high balance of $106,500 in the third quarter, according to a quarterly analysis from Fidelity Investments.

The year-over-year average 401(k) balance is down just over 8% from $104,300 in the fourth quarter of 2017, Fidelity said.

The fund giant noted that the average balance in an individual retirement account decreased roughly 11% from the third quarter, to $98,400, which is down roughly 7.5% from the average IRA balance of $106,300 one year ago.

The average tax exempt/403(b) account balance fell 10% to $78,700, also down 7.5% from year-earlier levels.

Despite account value declines, investors continued to contribute to their retirement savings accounts, and only 5.6% of 401(k) investors made a change to their asset allocation in the fourth quarter, Fidelity said.

More than 98% of 401(k) savers continued to regularly contribute to their account in 2018, adding an average of $6,850, which ties a record high. The average total IRA contribution in 2018 was $4,200, a 10% increase over the average total contribution for 2017.

The number of people with $1 million or more in their 401(k) dropped to 133,800 at the end of the fourth quarter, while the number of IRA millionaires decreased to 138,800, the study noted.

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