401(k) savings hit record high

By Jessica Dickler, staff writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The average 401(k) balance hit a 10-year high at the end of last year as the recession waned and more Americans bulked up their retirement savings.

At the end of 2010, the average 401(k) balance had risen to $71,500 -- up 11.5% from $64,200 a year earlier, according to a report released Wednesday by Fidelity Investments.

These 401(k) plans give workers tax-deferred savings and often include a matching contribution from employers. As a result, they have become a primary vehicle for retirement savings as the pension has disappeared.

More than 51 million American workers contribute to these plans, putting aside an average of 8.2% of their salaries, the company said.

For a seventh straight quarter, more participants upped their contributions than decreased them. According to the report, 6.1% of workers increased their contributions from the previous quarter, while only 3% lowered their contribution amount.

Of the employers who use Fidelity to offer 401(k) plans to employees, only 8% reduced or eliminated matching contributions during the height of recession, the financial services provider said.

More than half of those firms have said that they have already -- or plan to -- reinstate those contributions. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed4.25%4.43%
15 yr fixed3.21%3.17%
5/1 ARM3.56%3.21%
30 yr refi4.14%4.37%
15 yr refi3.13%3.17%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,919.59 80.85 0.48%
Nasdaq 4,527.51 19.20 0.43%
S&P 500 1,981.60 9.86 0.50%
Treasuries 2.41 0.02 0.75%
Data as of 3:10am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 100.53 1.37 1.38%
Bank of America Corp... 15.45 0.00 0.00%
Intel Corp 34.34 -0.07 -0.20%
Microsoft Corp 45.33 0.50 1.12%
Facebook Inc 75.29 0.00 0.00%
Data as of Aug 19

Sections

Two months after Dov Charney was fired as CEO, he's still at the company, collecting his full base salary amid early signs of a turnaround. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

Small business owners say the economy is still their biggest challenge, which keeps them from expanding and hiring, according to a CNNMoney-Manta survey. More

When hairdresser Mark Bustos isn't cutting the hair of fashion designers and real estate moguls, he's traveling around the world giving free haircuts to the homeless. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.