Markets, Rollovers Swell IRA Assets

January 18, 2001 ( - Individual retirement account (IRA) assets grew almost 22% between 1998-1999, reaching $2.47 trillion and topping the assets in both private pension and defined contributions plans for the first time ever, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI).

EBRI also notes, however, that most of that growth appears to be coming from investment gains and rollovers from qualified plans, not new contributions.

EBRI also said that:

  • IRA assets have increased approximately $1.4 trillion since 1994, an average growth rate of roughly 18%
  • Mutual funds made up nearly half (49.4%) of all IRA assets in 1999, up from 22% in 1990, and just 8.1% in 1981
  • Banks and thrift institutions held just 9.9% of all IRA assets in 1999, down from 41.8% in 1990, and a commanding 73% in 1981.

According to a recent ownership survey, roughly 41% of US households owned an IRA by June 2000, some 42.5 million households.

  • 33 million owned a traditional IRA
  • 10.4 million had a Roth IRA
  • 7.4 million owned a SIMPLE IRA, a simplified employee pension (SEP)-IRA, or SAR-SEP IRA.

– Nevin Adams