New ICI Report Shows the Key Role IRAs Play in U.S. Retirement Saving

By ICI Viewpoints

December 01, 2010

Americans are accumulating significant resources in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) largely through rollovers from employer-sponsored retirement plans, according to an ICI report published today. Among the nearly 49 million U.S. households owning IRAs in May 2010, IRA assets accounted for about one-third of household financial assets. With $4.2 trillion in assets, IRAs accounted for more than one-quarter of all U.S. retirement wealth in the second quarter of 2010.

Rollovers from employer-sponsored retirement plans continue to play a key role in building IRA assets. In May 2010, more than half of U.S. households owning traditional IRAs had rollover assets in their traditional IRAs. Among households reporting rollover activity, 85 percent indicated the entire plan balance was preserved with the rollover.

“The data highlight the important role that IRAs play in U.S. retirement saving, particularly as a repository for rollovers, and suggest individuals are responsible stewards of their retirement accumulations,” says Sarah Holden, ICI’s Senior Director of Retirement and Investor Research. Holden co-authored the study along with ICI Associate Economist Daniel Schrass.