Fidelity Investments®, a market-leading workplace benefits company and America’s No. 1 IRA provider 1, today released its quarterly analysis of retirement savings trends, including account balances, contributions and savings behaviors, across more than 30 million IRA, 401(k), and 403(b) retirement accounts.
While retirement accounts were impacted by multiple factors in the second quarter, including continued economic uncertainty due to the global pandemic, the enactment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (also known as the CARES Act), and ongoing stock market volatility, balances experienced double-digit growth driven by positive stock market performance and steady investor behavior. Increased IRA contributions, including to Roth IRAs, resulted in record-breaking flows to retail retirement accounts. Contributions to workplace retirement accounts, from both employees and their employers, remained steady.
"While the stock market’s performance in Q2 helped drive workplace retirement account balances higher, employer contributions also played a key role. Nearly 90% of employers continued to offer matching contributions to their employees over the last quarter, despite the unsteady business landscape," said Kevin Barry, president of Workplace Investing at Fidelity Investments. "The company match can help drive participation in a workplace savings plan while providing employees with a savings goal to aim for, so we are encouraged to see that the majority of our clients continued to provide this important retirement savings benefit.
"In addition, we saw a growing number of investors make contributions to their IRA, with year-to-date contributions to IRAs increasing more than 20% over the same period last year," continued Barry.
Highlights from Fidelity’s Q2 2020 analysis include:
- Retirement account balances rebound in Q2. The average IRA balance was $111,500, a 13% increase from last quarter and slightly higher than the average balance of $110,400 a year ago. The average 401(k) balance increased to $104,400 in Q2, a 14% increase from Q1 but down 2% from a year ago. The average 403(b) account balance increased to $91,100, an increase of 17% from last quarter and up 3% from a year ago.
Average Retirement Account Balances
- Employers continue to pitch in to their employees’ retirement savings. More than three quarters (76%) of workers received an employer contribution in Q2, with the average employer contribution reaching $1,080. Over the last four quarters, a record 88% of 401(k) savers received an employer contribution, with employers contributing an average of $4,030 per account over the last 12 months. While organizations across the country were taking steps to address the financial impact of the economic downturn, Fidelity found5 that only 11% of employers suspended their 401(k) company match in Q2. Of the 11% of employers that suspended their company match, 32% indicated they plan to reinstate their match in the next year and 48% plan to reinstate as soon as financially possible. Only 6% of employers indicated they currently have no plans to reinstate their match.
- Extended tax season saw record flows into IRAs2 and other retail retirement accounts. Investors continued to leverage IRAs and other retail retirement accounts, including SEP, SIMPLE and Rollover IRAs, as the extended tax season helped contribute to a record $82.1 billion going into these accounts through July of 2020. Fidelity continued to extend its market leadership in the IRA space as contributions in the first half of 2020 were up 22% from this time last year, with an 18% increase in the number of contributing accounts. The increase is even more evident for Roth IRAs, with contributions up 33% and participation up 25% from the same time last year. Overall, new IRA accounts opened in the first half of 2020 were up 33% over last year.
- Retirement savers did not pull back on contributions, despite market volatility. Almost nine out of 10 individuals (88%) contributed to their 401(k) in Q2, a slight drop from last quarter’s record high of 89% but still in the top five averages since 2002. Less than one percent (0.8%) of 401(k) savers stopped saving in the quarter, while 9% increased their contribution rate. Among 403(b) accounts, 96% of individuals either maintained or increased their contribution rate in Q2. Among 403(b) accounts specifically in the health care industry, which includes workers at hospitals and health networks, 96% of individuals maintained or increased their contribution rate in Q2.
- Younger Americans continue to invest in their future. The past quarter saw Millennials maintain a focus on contributing to their retirement accounts, with the number of IRA accounts owned by Millennials in Q2 2020 increasing by 23% since Q2 2019. In particular, Millennials continued to prefer investing in Roth IRAs, with a 36% year-over-year growth in the number of contributing accounts and a 50% increase in the amount of Roth IRA contributions.
- Investors continue to seek help and leverage managed accounts to help manage retirement savings. Individuals continue to turn to "do it for me" solutions to help manage their retirement savings, which can help them stay on track during periods of volatility. More than 25,000 individuals enrolled in Fidelity’s Personalized Planning and Advice at Work managed account solution in Q2, bringing the total number of enrollees to more than 60,000 year to date and representing over $3 billion in 401(k) assets. In addition, visits to Fidelity’s Planning and Guidance Center, which helps create a strategy for retirement savings, increased 22% in Q2 compared to a year ago. In June alone, visits6 to Fidelity’s website for individuals saving within a 401(k) or 403(b) increased 42% over June of 2019.
CARES Act Helps Workers Maintain Financial Security in the Midst of Economic Uncertainty
The CARES Act was signed into law in late March 2020 in response to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. By early April, 98% of Fidelity’s workplace clients had adopted the CARES Act distribution provisions, which allowed their employees to tap their savings to cover financial needs related to the economic downturn. As of the end of Q2, 711,000 individuals had taken a CARES Act distribution from their retirement account, which represents 3% of eligible employees on Fidelity’s workplace savings platform.
The overall average withdrawal amount was $12,100, while the median withdrawal amount was $4,800. Individuals continued to seek out information on the CARES Act and COVID-19 issues, as Fidelity’s COVID-19 information website was viewed more than 1.3 million times in the quarter.
"The CARES Act was a critical step to help the millions of workers who were affected by the pandemic’s sudden impact on the U.S. economy," continued Barry. "We’ve developed a broad array of resources designed to help investors address questions related to the economy, ongoing market volatility, COVID-19 and the CARES Act, and will continue to provide guidance and support for as long as necessary."
For more information on Fidelity’s Q2 2020 analysis, please click here to access Fidelity’s "Building Financial Futures" overview, which provides additional details and insight on retirement trends and data.
About Fidelity Investments
Fidelity’s mission is to inspire better futures and deliver better outcomes for the customers and businesses we serve. With assets under administration of $8.3 trillion, including discretionary assets of $3.3 trillion as of June 30, 2020, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 32 million people invest their own life savings, 22,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing more than 13,500 institutions with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for more than 70 years, Fidelity employs more than 40,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/our-company.
Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money.
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1 Cerulli Associates’ The Cerulli Edge—Retirement Edition, Q1 2019, based on an industry survey of firms reporting total IRA assets administered for Q4 2018.
2 Fidelity IRA analysis based on 10 million Personal Investing IRA accounts, as of June 30, 2020 and includes all IRAs except for inherited IRAs, small business IRAs and IRAs distributed through the advisor-sold market.
3 Analysis based on 23,000 corporate defined contribution plans and 18.6 million participants as of June 30, 2020. These figures include the advisor-sold market but exclude the tax-exempt market. Excluded from the behavioral statistics are non-qualified defined contribution plans and plans for Fidelity’s own employees.
4 Analysis based on 10,443 defined contribution plans, including 403(b), 401(a), 401(k) and 457(b) qualified, non-qualified and TEM pooled plans, and 6.7 million participant accounts, for 5 million unique individuals, in the tax-exempt market, as of June 30, 2020.
5 Based on Fidelity survey of 293 plan sponsors conducted between June 17-July 2, 2020.
6 "Leading Through Uncertain Times," Fidelity Investments plan sponsor and participant trend reporting during the COVID-19 pandemic, July 2020