Retirement Market

Total U.S. retirement assets were $24.0 trillion as of December 31, 2015.

Retirement assets accounted for 34 percent of all household financial assets in the United States at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015.

U.S. Total Retirement Market
Trillions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods

 

e Data are estimated.

Sources: Investment Company Institute, Federal Reserve Board, Department of Labor, National Association of Government Defined Contribution Administrators, American Council of Life Insurers, and Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Division

 

Individual Retirement Accounts

IRAs held $7.3 trillion in assets at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015.

Forty-eight percent of IRA assets, or $3.5 trillion, was invested in mutual funds.

IRA Market Assets
Billions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods

e Data are estimated.

Sources: Investment Company Institute, Federal Reserve Board, American Council of Life Insurers, and Internal Revenue Service Statistics of Income Division

IRAs Play an Important Role in Family Balance Sheets

With $7.3 trillion in assets, IRAs represented 31 percent of U.S. total retirement market assets, compared with 18 percent two decades ago.

IRAs also have risen in importance on household balance sheets. In September 2015, IRA assets were 11 percent of all household financial assets, up from 6 percent of assets two decades ago. Households’ total financial assets were $68.9 trillion as of September 2015 and $22.8 trillion at year-end 1995. (See U.S. Federal Reserve Board 2015.)

In mid-2015, 40.2 million, or 32 percent of, U.S. households reported they owned IRAs. Among all IRA-owning households in mid-2015, more than eight in 10 also had employer-sponsored retirement plans; that is, they had defined contribution (DC) plan balances, current defined benefit (DB) plan payments, or expected future DB plan payments.

Another 28 percent of U.S. households reported employer-sponsored retirement plan coverage, but no IRAs. 

All told, nearly 75 million, or 60 percent of, U.S. households had some type of formal, tax-advantaged retirement savings. (Source: Investment Company Institute, ICI Research Perspective, Vol. 22, No. 1 | February 2016.)

Traditional IRA–owning households with rollovers cite multiple reasons for rolling over their retirement plan assets into traditional IRAs. The three most common, primary reasons for rolling over (in descending order) were wanting more investment options, not wanting to leave assets behind at the former employer and to consolidate assets. (Source: Investment Company Institute, ICI Research Perspective, Vol. 22, No. 1 | February 2016.)

From their inception, traditional IRAs have been designed so that investors could accumulate retirement assets either through contributions or by rolling over balances from employer-sponsored (DB or DC) retirement plans. Rollover activity, which helps many Americans preserve their retirement savings, has fueled recent IRA growth.