March 22, 2010

A Bunch of Retirement Savings Statistics

If you look at current workers who participate in retirement plans we see that 51% of workers participate in a retirement plan of some sort.

The percent of households who have IRA's is about 40%.  The median balance in IRA accounts in 2008 was $55,000.   So we can infer from this that 20% of households had over $55,000 in their IRAs as of 2008.   Knock about 25% off that assuming it was lost in the decline of the stock market between 2008 and today and you're down to $41,000.


There are 31 million people covered by federal, state and local government pension systems.   But that number includes retired people.   Looking at just state and local government pensions there are 7.4 million people currently receiving benefits and there are 14.4 million total participants.  Thats about 51% who are retired and 49% who are not retired.  If we assume the same ratio for federal employees then for all government plans we've got around 15 million current workers covered by government pensions.

Take another look at workers who participate in retirement plans  and we see it says 20% of the people have defined benefit plans.   Most of those people on defined plans are among the government workers mentioned above.

17% of the population is below 125% of the poverty level.  On the other end there are 2.7 million people with assets of $1.5M or more.    So thats about 18% of the population who is poor or rich.  I wouldn't expect either group to have a lot in retirement funds.   Poor people have no money to save and rich people would likely hold their wealth differently than IRAs & 401ks.    If you look at financial assets then we see that for people in the bottom 20% of income only about 10% have any kind of retirement account.   That means that 18% of the total population has low income and no retirement account.

Younger people are less likely to save.    If you look at the percent of households with IRAs we see that only 28% of people under 35 years old have IRAs.  The percent jumps to 40% for 35-44 year olds and hits 50% for people 55-64.    Younger people are also less likely to have any retirement accounts.   Only 40% of people under 35 years old have a retirement account while 60% of people 55-64 do.   The amount in the accounts also goes up with age.   For people under 35 years old the median value in their retirement account is just $10,000 but for people 55-64 the median value is $98,000.

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