Analysis Reveals Average 401(k) Account Balance at Record $74,900

By Staff Report

May. 12, 2011

Aided by the bull equities market, employees’ 401(k) account balances hit a record average of $74,900 at the end of the first quarter this year, according to an analysis released May 11.

In the 12-month period ending March 31, the average account balance jumped nearly 12 percent, while account balances rose an average of 4.8 percent in the first quarter of this year compared with the final quarter of 2010 according to Boston-based Fidelity Investments.

At year-end 2010, the average account balance was $71,500, which was the previous record high since Fidelity began tracking the data.

Account balances in 401(k) plans have made a huge recovery from the plunge in the equities markets, which began in 2008.

At $74,900, the average account balance is about 58 percent higher than the end of the first quarter in 2009, when the average account balance was $47,500.

Still, the figures show volatility of 401(k) plan balances. At the end of the first quarter of 2008, the average account balance was $64,900. One year later, the average had fallen nearly 27 percent to $47,500.

The study analyzed the account balances of about 11 million participants in nearly 16,500 plans serviced by Fidelity.  

Filed by Jerry Geisel of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail


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