Fidelity Retirement Analysis: Balances Improve in Q4 2015; Market Volatility Drives Record Customer Engagement

® today released its 401(k) and
Individual Retirement Account (IRA) savings analysis1 for the
fourth quarter of 2015, which reveals:

  • 401(k) and IRA account balances increased in Q4 2015, but are down
    year over year.
    After decreasing in Q3 2015 due to market
    volatility, average retirement account balances recovered in Q4 2015,
    but are still below the averages from Q4 2014.

   Average Balances

      Q4 2015     Q3 2015     Q4 2014
401(k)     $87,900     $84,400     $91,300
IRA     $90,100     $88,700     $92,200
  • Both 401(k) and IRA account holders continued to contribute to
    their retirement savings accounts
    . The average IRA contribution
    was $1,500 in Q4 2015, up from $1,260 in Q3 but down from $1,660 in Q4
    2014. The average total 401(k) contribution, which includes both
    employee and employer contributions, was $2,540 in Q4 2015, down
    slightly from $2,610 in Q3 but up from $2,440 in Q4 2014. During 2015,
    employers contributed an average of $3,610 to 401(k) accounts through
    profit sharing or company match.
  • An increasing percentage of retirement assets are in target date
    funds or managed accounts
    . As of the end of Q4 2015, 25 percent of
    total 401(k) assets on Fidelity’s platform were held in target date
    funds, and two-thirds (67 percent) of Fidelity 401(k) account holders
    had at least some of their savings in a target date fund. Among
    Millennials, 63 percent had all of their retirement assets in a target
    date fund at the end of Q4. The use of Fidelity’s
    professionally-managed account portfolios continued to increase in
    2015, growing by 19 percent2 since 2014.

Market Volatility Prompts Unprecedented Engagement from Investors

The recent market volatility drove a record number of people to seek
guidance from Fidelity about the impact of market changes on their
account balance and steps they should consider. In early January,
Fidelity responded to six million customer contacts3 in a
single day, one of the busiest days on record.

To help alleviate concerns among savers about market volatility,
Fidelity encourages investors to consider the following steps:

  • Take a long-term approach to retirement planning. Many people
    save for retirement for 30 years or more. Fidelity stresses that a
    retirement savings strategy should take a long-term approach and to
    stay the course during short-term volatility.
  • Don’t try to time the market. Trying to move in and out of the
    market can hurt an investor’s long-term retirement savings. Fidelity
    examined4 401(k) investor behavior between 2008 and 2015,
    and compared people who continued to invest in equities during this
    period with those who dropped to zero percent equity in their 401(k).
    Assuming the investors started with a balance of $10,000, the analysis
    showed that investors who went to zero equities saw their 401(k)
    balances grow by 74 percent to $17,360, while those who kept a portion
    of stocks in their 401(k) saw their balance grow almost 150 percent to
  • Check asset allocation and contribution rate. Retirement savers
    should have an asset allocation that matches their risk tolerance with
    the right balance of stocks, bonds and cash to keep them on track to
    meet long-term goals. Fidelity recommends retirement savers contribute
    at least to a level where they can take full advantage of their
    company’s 401(k) match.

“Today’s retirement savers have constant access to detailed market and
financial data, which can be unnerving during periods of economic
uncertainty and make many investors feel like they have to take action,”
said Doug
, senior vice president, Fidelity Investments. “While we
understand that it may be tempting to react to recent market volatility,
Fidelity’s guidance is to focus on a sound, long-term retirement savings
plan. The market will have many peaks and valleys, so having a plan and
staying on course puts you in the best position to achieve your
financial goals.”

Investors can find additional insights on investing, retirement and
managing market volatility at

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity’s goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and
effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under
administration of $5.2 trillion, including managed assets of $2.0
trillion as of December 31, 2015, we focus on meeting the unique needs
of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 24 million people
invest their own life savings, nearly 20,000 businesses manage employee
benefit programs, as well as providing nearly 10,000 advisory firms with
technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held
for nearly 70 years, Fidelity employs 42,000 associates who are focused
on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about
Fidelity Investments, visit

Diversification/asset allocation does not ensure a profit or guarantee
against loss.

Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment
will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money.

Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Member NYSE, SIPC

900 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917

Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, Inc.

500 Salem St., Smithfield, RI 02917


© 2016 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.

1 Analysis based on 21,600 corporate defined contribution
plans and 13.5 million participants, as of December 31, 2015. These
figures include the advisor-sold market, but excluding the tax-exempt
market. Also excluded are non-qualified defined contribution plans and
plans for Fidelity’s own employees. Fidelity’s IRA analysis based on 6
million IRA customers.

2 Reflects percentage growth in investor accounts across
Fidelity’s Portfolio Advisory Services and Portfolio Advisory Services
at Work products.

3 Customer contacts through both phone and Internet related
to Fidelity’s retirement and employee benefit businesses, including
401(k), IRA and other retirement/benefit-related products, on January 4,

4 Fidelity internal analysis of 401(k) investors’ equity
allocation and performance, 9/30/2008 – 12/31/2015. Analysis measures
participants who dropped to 0% equity in their 401(k) in Q4 2008 or Q1
2009 vs. participants who did not drop to 0% equity in Q4 2008 or Q1
2009. Results illustrate hypothetical growth of an account with a
balance of $10,000 from 9/30/2008 through 12/31/2015.


Fidelity Investments
Fidelity Corporate Communications, 617-563-5800
Shamrell, 617-563-1996