In the third quarter, the average 401(k) balance that Fidelity Investments administers reached $99,900, a 2.25% increase from $97,700 in the previous quarter—and a 31.27% increase from the average $76,100 balance five years ago.
Individual retirement account (IRA) balances rose as well, to $103,500 in the third quarter, up 23.76% from the average balance of $101,700 in the second quarter—and a 35.12% increase from the average balance of $76,600 five years ago. Both the 401(k) and IRA figures for the third quarter are at record levels, Fidelity says.
Fidelity says that while a strong market helped investors, they are also taking more initiative to save for retirement, with the average contribution rate to 401(k) plans reaching 8.5% in the third quarter. Twenty-nine percent of 401(k) participants have increased their savings rate so far this year. Meanwhile, contributions to Roth IRAs are up 13% year-to-date.
Fidelity also says that by the end of the third quarter, 29% of all Fidelity assets in 401(k)s were held in target-date funds, up from 18% in the third quarter of 2012.
“Two of the most important aspects of a retirement savings strategy are how much an individual contributes and how they allocate their savings,” says Jeanne Thompson, senior vice president at Fidelity. “The increasing use of target-date funds, along with the increasing number of individuals contributing more to their retirement accounts, can help ensure people are saving at the right level and have a diversified mix of assets.”
Fidelity also reports that the number of health savings account (HSA) holders increased 35% in the third quarter from the year earlier. People who had both an HSA and a 401(k) contributed more to their 401(k)—9.9%—than the 8.5% of those with only a 401(k).
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