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401(k) market projected to grow 9% in '14

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Economic growth and a rising stock market will help the 401(k) market grow by 9 percent next year, reaching $4.2 billion by the start of 2015, according to Ignites Retirement Research.

The market also grew at 9 percent in 2013, up from $3.6 billion at the end of last year. Growth in 2014, fueled by the improving U.S. economy and better financial market performance, should counteract the early wave of baby boomer retirements that will limit the amount of money flowing into 401(k)s.

The same factors are impacting other defined contribution plans, including 403(b) and 457 plans.

Despite a drop in the number of businesses offering defined contribution plans from 2009 to 2011, the economy has strengthened enough to reverse the fall in plan numbers, according to Ignites. In 2012, there were 653,000 plans, and the firm expects that number to steadily increase, rising by 0.5 percent over the course of 2014 to 659,000 plans. These numbers are still below what they were before the Great Recession.

The number of participants in defined contribution plans grew by 2.8 percent per year from 2007 through 2012, but Ignites expects that pace to slow to 2.5 percent in 2014.

Ignites Retirement Research provides research and analysis on defined contribution and retail retirement markets.

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