IRA Ownership Is Down, but Assets Are Up

While the share of families with an individual account retirement plan is ticking down, the assets in those plans are going up, according to a new analysis by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI). The percentage of families with an individual account retirement plan (such as a 401(k) plan or an individual retirement account (IRA) decreased from 53% in 2001 to 48% in 2013, based on the most recent data from the 2013 Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve Board’s triennial survey of wealth.

While ownership of individual account retirement plans was declining, the median (mid-point) account balance of those families owning an individual account retirement plan increased: The value was $35,456 in 2001 and had reached $59,000 by 2013. “For many families, individual account retirement plan savings constitute most of whatever financial assets they have, said Looking at these accounts is key to understanding how well—or poorly—people are preparing for retirement,” Craig Copeland senior research associate at EBRI and author of the report.

Individual account retirement plan assets were a clear majority of their total financial assets: 70% in 2013 at the median, the same share as in 2010. Across all demographic groups, these assets accounted for at least 49% of median total financial assets (when these accounts were owned). For more information, visit www.ebri.org

Last Updated 10/20/2021

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