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Release: Quarterly Retirement Market Data

Retirement Assets Total $39.4 Trillion in Fourth Quarter 2021

Washington, DC; March 28, 2022 – Total US retirement assets were $39.4 trillion as of December 31, 2021, up 4.5 percent from September and up 11.6 percent for the year. Retirement assets accounted for 33 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of December 2021.

US Total Retirement Market Assets
Trillions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods
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e Data are estimated.

Note: For definitions of plan categories, see Table 1 in “The US Retirement Market, Fourth Quarter 2021.” Components may not add to the total because of rounding.

Sources: Investment Company Institute, Federal Reserve Board, Department of Labor, National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, American Council of Life Insurers, and Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Division

Assets in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) totaled $13.9 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, an increase of 4.3 percent from the end of the third quarter of 2021. Defined contribution (DC) plan assets were $11.0 trillion at the end of the fourth quarter, up 5.3 percent from September 30, 2021. Government defined benefit (DB) plans—including federal, state, and local government plans—held $8.0 trillion in assets as of the end of December 2021, a 4.2 percent increase from the end of September 2021. Private-sector DB plans held $3.8 trillion in assets at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021, and annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts accounted for another $2.6 trillion.

Retirement Assets by Type
Billions of dollars, end-of-period, 2021:Q3–2021:Q4
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e Data are estimated.

Sources: Investment Company Institute and Federal Reserve Board

Defined Contribution Plans

Americans held $11.0 trillion in all employer-based DC retirement plans on December 31, 2021, of which $7.7 trillion was held in 401(k) plans. In addition to 401(k) plans, at the end of the fourth quarter, $685 billion was held in other private-sector DC plans, $1.3 trillion in 403(b) plans, $445 billion in 457 plans, and $835 billion in the Federal Employees Retirement System’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). Mutual funds managed $5.0 trillion, or 64 percent, of assets held in 401(k) plans at the end of December 2021. With $3.0 trillion, equity funds were the most common type of funds held in 401(k) plans, followed by $1.4 trillion in hybrid funds, which include target date funds.

401(k) Plan Assets
Billions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods
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Note: Components may not add to the total because of rounding.

Sources: Investment Company Institute and Department of Labor

Individual Retirement Accounts

IRAs held $13.9 trillion in assets at the end of the fourth quarter of 2021. Forty-five percent of IRA assets, or $6.2 trillion, was invested in mutual funds. With $3.6 trillion, equity funds were the most common type of funds held in IRAs, followed by $1.2 trillion in hybrid funds.

IRA Market Assets
Billions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods
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e Data are estimated.

Note: Components may not add to the total because of rounding.

Sources: Investment Company Institute, Federal Reserve Board, American Council of Life Insurers, and Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Division

Other Developments

As of December 31, 2021, target date mutual fund assets totaled $1.8 trillion, up 3.8 percent from September 2021. Retirement accounts held the bulk (85 percent) of target date mutual fund assets, with 66 percent held through DC plans and 19 percent held through IRAs.

Target Date Mutual Fund Assets
Billions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods
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Note: Components may not add to the total because of rounding.

Source: Investment Company Institute

The quarterly retirement data tables are available at “The US Retirement Market, Fourth Quarter 2021.”

Technical Notes

The Investment Company Institute’s total retirement market estimates reflect revisions to previously published estimates.

The latest estimates incorporate newly available data on 2019 flows and year-end 2019 assets for IRAs (from the Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Division published tabulations). Incorporation of the newly available information resulted in upward revisions to previously published estimates of IRA beginning in the first quarter of 2019.

The latest retirement market estimates also incorporate revisions to Federal Reserve Board estimates of state and local government DB plan assets. Incorporation of the newly available information resulted in downward revisions to previously published estimates of state and local government DB plans assets for the third quarter of 2019 through the first quarter of 2020 and for the third quarter of 2020, and upward revisions for the fourth quarter of 2020 through the third quarter of 2021.