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Retirement Planning > Saving for Retirement

Yep, we’re saving: Retirement assets rise 8% in 2012

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Retirement assets rebounded significantly at year-end 2012, reaching $19.5 trillion, a 44.4 percent jump from 2009 recession lows and an 8.3 percent rise from 2011, according to data released Wednesday by the Investment Company Institute.

According to an ICI report, The U.S. Retirement Market, Fourth Quarter 2012, retirement savings accounted for 36 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of last year.

Assets in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) totaled $5.4 trillion at the end of 2012, an increase of 1.1 percent from the end of the third quarter, while defined contribution (DC) plan assets rose 0.9 percent in the fourth quarter to $5.1 trillion.

Combined, DC and IRA assets were up 10.5 percent for the year, 54.1 percent since the first quarter of 2009, and 14 percent since the third quarter of 2007.

On Dec. 31, Americans held $5.1 trillion in all employer-based DC retirement plans, including $3.6 trillion in 401(k) plans, ICI reported. Those figures are up from $5 trillion and $3.5 trillion, respectively, as of Sept. 30.

Mutual funds managed $2.9 trillion of assets held in 401(k), 403(b), and other DC plans at the end of December, up from $2.8 trillion at the end of September, ICI reported. Mutual funds managed 57 percent of DC plan assets at the end of the fourth quarter.

IRAs held $5.4 trillion in assets at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012, up from $5.3 trillion at the end of the third quarter. Forty-six percent of IRA assets, or $2.5 trillion, was invested in mutual funds.

Target-date mutual fund assets totaled $481 billion as of year-end 2012, up 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter and up 27.9 percent for the year, ICI said. Retirement accounts held the bulk of target date mutual fund assets, with 91 percent of target date mutual fund assets being held through DC plans and IRAs.

In 2011, total U.S. retirement market assets were $18 trillion.

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