Average 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) balances are both down 2% from a year ago, according to the latest data from Fidelity.

The coronavirus pandemic and an unsettled economy have caused a lot of shifts in the past few years. Before the crisis, American households saw retirement accounts grow by an average of 5% between 2016 and 2019, according to the Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances.

Our 2022 retirement statistics guide provides a well-rounded view of trends from before the pandemic to now. Topics range from average household retirement savings to how many Americans have retirement accounts to retirement planning — and much more. Here are 33 essential retirement statistics, starting with the most recent.

33 key retirement statistics

  • The average 401(k) balance as of the first quarter of 2022 was $121,700, a 2% decrease from $123,900 in the first quarter of 2021.
  • The average IRA balance as of the first quarter of 2022 was higher at $127,100 — though also a 2% dip from the first quarter of 2021 ($130,000).
  • A 65-year-old couple retiring in 2022 may need about $315,000, post-taxes, to cover health care expenses in retirement. This doesn’t include expenses like over-the-counter medicines, most dental services and long-term care.

Sources: Fidelity Q1 2022 Retirement Analysis, Fidelity Retiree Health Care Cost Estimate (May 2022)

  • Americans 65 and older have average Vanguard account balances of $279,997. That compares with $97,020 among 35- to 44-year-olds.
  • Men have higher average account balances ($170,942) than women ($118,849).

Source: Vanguard How America Saves 2022

  • 37% of workers 25 and older and 19% of retirees say they don’t know where to go for financial or retirement planning advice.
  • 82% of workers offered an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan are somewhat or very satisfied with the benefit.

Source: Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) 2022 Retirement Confidence Survey

  • The total value of IRA and Keogh accounts was $924.6 billion in April 2022, compared with $969.1 billion in April 2021 — a decrease of 5%.
  • At their peak in January 2021, IRA and Keough accounts had a total value of $986.9 billion.

Source: Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) database

  • Consumers need more than $1 million to retire with an average lifestyle in 28 of the 384 U.S. metros. San Francisco ($1,564,760), San Jose, Calif. ($1,424,081) and Honolulu ($1,366,116) top the list.
  • 46% of Americans think they’ll still have debt by the time they retire.
  • 12% of employed Americans — 17.5 million — don’t contribute enough to get a full match from their workplace retirement plan, leaving money on the table.
  • 64% of Americans think they’ll keep working after retirement. 7% of Americans don’t think they’ll ever stop working.
  • U.S. residents 65 and older are best positioned to retire in Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  • Retirement-age adults carry the most nonmortgage debt in four Texas metros: San Antonio, Houston, Austin and Dallas.

Sources: MagnifyMoney and LendingTree studies and surveys

  • The average retirement age in the U.S. is 62 years old.
  • 57% of retired U.S. adults say they rely on Social Security as a major income source, compared with 38% of nonretirees who expect to do the same.
  • 49% of nonretirees believe that 401(k) or other retirement savings accounts will fund their retirement.

Source: Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey (2021) 

  • 50.3% of U.S. adults ages 55 and older said they were retired as of the third quarter of 2021 — up from 48.1% in the same quarter in 2019.
  • 66.9% of adults ages 65 to 74 were retired in the third quarter of 2021, compared with 64.0% in the same quarter of 2019.

Source: Pew Research Center analysis (2021)

  • 69.8 million people received benefits from programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2020. Retired workers and their dependents accounted for 75.2% of total benefits paid in 2020.
  • The number of Americans 65 and older will increase from about 57 million in 2021 to about 76 million by 2035, predicts the Social Security Administration.

Sources: Social Security Office of Retirement and Disability Policy, SSA fact sheet (June 2021)

  • Americans feel they need $1.9 million, on average, for retirement.
  • 29% of Americans believe their lifestyle in retirement will improve.

Source: Schwab Retirement Plan Services (June 2021)

  • Nearly 7 in 10 (67%) Americans between ages 50 and 74 don’t have a formal retirement plan, while 4 in 5 lack retirement planning basics on how to be financially secure.
  • 24% of Americans in this age range are extremely concerned about cuts to Social Security.

Source: American College of Financial Services 2020 Retirement Income Literacy Survey

  • 51% of employers automatically enrolled new or existing employees into a 401(k) plan in 2020, up 8 percentage points from 43% in 2019.
  • 72% of employers offer hardship withdrawals in 2020, up 18 percentage points from 54% in 2019.

Source: Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Benefits 2020

  • U.S. households had an average of $255,130 in their retirement accounts in 2019, a 5% increase from $243,270 in 2016.
  • The median retirement account balance in the U.S. was $65,000 in 2019, a 2% increase from $63,810 in 2016.
  • 50.6% of American households had at least one retirement account in 2019, a 3% decrease from 52.1% in 2016.
  • 57.9% of people ages 45 to 54 and 54.5% of people ages 55 to 64 had retirement accounts in 2019.
  • 25.5% of Latino families had retirement accounts in 2019, versus 35.1% of Black families and 57.3% of white families.

Source: Federal Reserve 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances

Average 401(k) balance: $586,486 for 55- to 64-year-olds

While 401(k) balances averaged $121,700 as of the first quarter of 2021, according to the Fidelity Q1 2022 Retirement Analysis, wealth management company Personal Capital broke down balances further by age.

The average 401(k) account balance for Americans ages 55 to 64 is more than $586,000, according to Personal Capital.

Lost funds: 12% of working Americans leaving retirement plan money on table

A MagnifyMoney survey conducted in August 2021 found that 12% of Americans leave company matching funds on the table. Plus, 35% of respondents said they can’t afford to contribute to their plan at all.

Here’s a look at the reasons:

And the beat goes on: 64% think they’ll keep working after retirement

More than 6 in 10 Americans (64%) think they’ll keep working after retirement, according to a MagnifyMoney survey conducted in October 2020.


In addition, 7% of Americans don’t think they’ll ever stop working.

Retirement planning: Nearly 7 in 10 have nothing written

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans (67%) don’t have a written retirement plan, according to the American College of Financial Services 2020 Retirement Income Literacy Survey.

A similar percentage — 68% — have identified the amount of money they would need saved to retire comfortably. Separately, a majority of Americans (82%) have a plan on where their retirement income will come from each month.

Average retirement savings: $255,130

Americans feel they need $1.9 million, on average, for retirement, according to Schwab Retirement Plan Services. However, according to the Federal Reserve 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, households have an average retirement account balance of $255,130.

45- to 54-year-olds have highest percentage of retirement accounts

Nearly 6 in 10 (57.9%) people ages 45 to 54 have retirement accounts, versus just 45.3% of those younger than 35.

Sources

The “Find a Financial Advisor” links contained in this article will direct you to webpages devoted to MagnifyMoney Advisor (“MMA”). After completing a brief questionnaire, you will be matched with certain financial advisers who participate in MMA’s referral program, which may or may not include the investment advisers discussed.




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