My Personal Finance Journey

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Average 401(k) Account Gets Bigger

Contributed by mm | August 9, 2004 9:07 PM PST

WSJ cited an Investment Company Institute and the Employee Benefit Research Institute study that reported the average 401(k) account balance increased 29.1% last year to $76,809.

The report focuses on 401(k) accounts that are opened since at least 1999 and covers "about 35% of all 401(k) participants in the nation." Some other facts revealed:

- At the end of 2003, "45% of 401(k) participants' assets were invested in stock funds -- which includes mutual funds and other pooled investments; 16% of assets were in company stock; 9% were in balanced funds; 10% were in bond funds; 13% were in guaranteed investment contracts and other stable- value funds; and 5% were invested in money funds."

- "Similar to previous years, about 18 percent of eligible participants had loans outstanding at year-end 2003, and the average size of the loan was about 13 percent of the account balance (net of the unpaid loan balance)."

- When it comes to company stock holdings, "about 57% held 20% or less of their account balances in company stock, including about 35% who held none, the study said. On the other hand, about 13% had more than 80% of their account balances invested in company stock."

The full report is accessible at EBRI website.

How does my 401(k) compare?

At the end of last month, I had a 401(k) balance of $18,259, plus an outstanding loan balance of $5,660 due to my last year's home purchase. Of course my balance is much lower than the average and that's to be expected because I just started my contribution a couple of years ago. I'm currently adding around $1,300 every month to the account these days.

As of asset allocation, I'm keeping 71% in money market because I see little opportunities in both equity and fixed income; 21% of my balance is in international equity and 7.3% in balance funds.

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