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Employees Pulling Back Slightly on 401(k) Retirement Fund Contributions

Workers on average contributed $1,700 of their pretax income into workplace savings accounts, Fidelity report finds.

May 14, 2009
Related Topics: Retirement/Pensions, Workforce Planning, Latest News
While most workers continued to contribute to their 401(k) plans in the first quarter, the average contribution was slightly less than the year-earlier period, according to Fidelity Investments.

A full 97 percent of 11.3 million participants in 17,500 corporate defined-contribution plans continued to make contributions this year, according to an analysis released Wednesday, May 13, by the Boston-based fund firm.

Workers on average contributed $1,700 of their pretax income into workplace savings accounts.

That amount was down slightly from the comparable time last year, when the average contribution was $1,860, Fidelity reported.

Total contributions, which combined the employee and employer match, totaled $2,780 on average, down from $3,080 in the first quarter of 2008.

Fifty percent of new contributions to 401(k) plans are investing in equity investments, including domestic, international and company stock, Fidelity reported.

Twenty-five percent of new contributions are being invested in blended strategies. Of those, most participants selected life cycle options with target-retirement-based allocations.

The remaining 24 percent were invested in short-term, stable-value or fixed-income investments, the firm said.

Roth 401(k)s have become more popular. As of March 31, 14.7 percent of the plans offered a Roth 401(k), up from 13.2 percent at the end of 2008.

The use of automatic enrollment also has increased, to 16 percent of the plans, covering nearly 50 percent of the participants in the system.

Fidelity Investments had assets under custody of more than $2.5 trillion, including managed assets of more than $1.2 trillion, as of March 31.

Filed by Sue Asci of Investment News, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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