Study 401(k) Plan Balances Surge

By Staff Report

May. 20, 2010

Buoyed by a resurgent equities market, the value of 401(k) plan account balances has regained ground from the low point just over a year ago, according to a study released Wednesday, May 19.

The average account balance jumped 41 percent to $66,900 as of March 31, up from $47,500 at the end of March 2009, said Fidelity Investments, a Boston-based 401(k) plan administrator and mutual fund provider.

As of March 2008, the average account balance was $65,000, a number that tumbled later in the year as the equities market plunged.

“Over the long run, the tried-and-true strategies work best when it comes to saving for retirement,” James M. MacDonald, president of Fidelity’s Workplace Investing unit, said in a statement.

“Even through all of the volatility of the past couple of years, participants who continued to save in their 401(k) accounts now have a positive return from the start of the downturn in 2008,” he said.

The study is based on a Fidelity analysis of 17,000 corporate plans with 11 million participants.

A summary is available online at


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

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