401(k) plans hold $6.9 trillion in assets as of March 31, 2021, in about 600,000 plans, on behalf of about 60 million active participants and millions of former employees and retirees. Savings rolled over from 401(k)s and other employer plans also account for about half of the $12.6 trillion held in individual retirement account assets as of March 31, 2021.
Despite the increased popularity of 401(k) plans, more can be done to help working Americans take the fullest possible advantage of the opportunity to save for retirement through these plans. Research shows that Americans will save more through defined contribution plans with proper incentives, services, and guidance. Better understanding of 401(k)s, through education and disclosure, will also boost participation.
Policymakers should also take steps to ensure that the number of workers covered by 401(k) plans continues to expand. That means encouraging more employers, small and large, to open 401(k) plans by making them as simple and accessible as possible.
This resource center provides the fund industry's perspective on developments that affect 401(k) plans and their investors, including ICI's research and analysis of the 401(k) plan market and participant activity, as well as our advocacy for cost-effective 401(k) planning tools, services, and disclosure.