Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

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

Overnight Avg Rate Latest Change Last Week
30 yr fixed3.62%3.69%
15 yr fixed2.77%2.80%
5/1 ARM3.12%3.07%
30 yr refi3.61%3.69%
15 yr refi2.76%2.83%
Rate data provided
by Bankrate.com
View rates in your area
 
Find personalized rates:
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 15,973.84 313.66 2.00%
Nasdaq 4,337.51 70.67 1.66%
S&P 500 1,864.78 35.70 1.95%
Treasuries 1.75 0.10 6.33%
Data as of 10:07pm ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 11.95 0.79 7.08%
General Electric Co 28.26 0.81 2.95%
Cisco Systems Inc 25.11 0.43 1.74%
Chesapeake Energy Co... 1.59 -0.19 -10.67%
Freeport-McMoRan Inc... 5.53 0.64 13.09%
Data as of 4:15pm ET
Sponsors

Sections

Investors need someone they can bring home to mother instead of bad boys (or girls) that may make their heart beat faster. Boring beats bold in this market. Here are 10 dependable stocks we love. Southwest (ticker symbol: LUV) is one. More

Cheap oil and slow global growth may not be the only culprits of the global market turmoil. There's growing concern that central banks are spooking the markets too. More

Eastern Illinois University laid off 198 staff members this week, and the college president is blaming the state government. More