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Number of 401(k), IRA Millionaires Surging but Most Boomers Fall Short

Number of 401(k), IRA Millionaires Surging but Most Boomers Fall Short

A recent report from Fidelity shows that there are now a record number of people with at least $1 million in their 401(k) or IRA accounts in the U.S., but digging deeper tells a different retirement savings story for baby boomers.

Fidelity is the largest 401(k) provider in the U.S., and its latest quarterly analysis found that 441,000 of IRA and 401(k) accounts it manages had balances of at least $1 million. But those accounts only make up 1.6% of the 27.2 million accounts under Fidelity’s purview.

Here’s some of the good news from the Fidelity report:

  1. Average 401(k) balances rose 7% to a record-high $112,300. IRAs also hit a record average balance of $105,200.
  2. Employees are putting more into these retirement accounts. Around 33% of participants increased the amount they were saving by an average of 3%.
  3. Workplaces are also stepping up their game with a record 32% now offering managed accounts, which can be a boon for savers because they offer professional planning and support.
  4. Automatic enrollment is also gaining traction, with 35% of employers now turning to the option. Being automatically enrolled has helped many increase their savings, according to studies on the subject. It makes sense because it’s all too easy to say you are going to enroll, but then keep putting it off even if it’s not intentional.

But it’s not all retirement sunshine and rainbows for some. While baby boomers, who Fidelity classifies as anyone born between 1946 and 1964, have boosted their 401(k)s to an average $210,400 account balance, that number is being pushed up by super-savers like the people who have over $1 million in their accounts.

The median 401(k) amount for boomers is much lower at only $69,900. If someone wanted to draw down from that amount at a 5% rate over 20 years it would only amount to around $3,500 per year.

“As the median amounts in this study show, millions of Americans over the age of 55 have too little saved for a comfortable retirement, and not enough time to save significantly more,” AARP Senior Strategic Policy Adviser David John said in an interview with CNBC. “They will have Social Security, but not much else. This will continue until every employer offers some form of retirement benefit and every American can save for retirement from the day they go to work until the day they retire.”