July 02, 2012
--- Assets in employer-sponsored retirement plans, IRAs
and annuities totaled $17.9 trillion at year-end 2011, up slightly from 2010,
according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI). ---
The largest components of retirement
assets were IRAs and employer-sponsored defined contribution (DC) plans,
holding $4.9 trillion and $4.5 trillion, respectively, at year-end 2011. Other
employer-sponsored pensions include private-sector defined benefit (DB) pension
funds ($2.4 trillion), state and local government employee retirement plans
($3.0 trillion), and federal government plans—which include both federal
employees’ DB plans and the Thrift Savings Plan ($1.5 trillion). In addition,
there were $1.6 trillion in annuity reserves outside of retirement plans at
The 2012 edition of ICI’s Fact Book
says 69% of U.S. households (or 82 million households) reported that they had
employer-sponsored retirement plans, IRAs, or both in May 2011. Sixty-one
percent of U.S. households reported that they had employer-sponsored retirement
plans—that is, they had assets in DC plan accounts, were receiving or expecting
to receive benefits from DB plans, or both. Thirty-nine percent of households
reported having assets in IRAs. Thirty-one percent of households had both IRAs
and employer-sponsored retirement plans.
Ownership of IRA and DC plan assets
has become more common with each successive generation of workers. This can be
seen by comparing the ownership rates of households grouped by the decade in
which the household heads were born. At any given age, younger households have
had higher IRA and DC plan ownership rates over time. For example, in 2011,
when they were 51 to 61 years of age, 71% of households born in the 1950s owned
IRAs or DC plan accounts. By comparison, households born a decade earlier had a
66% ownership rate when they were 51 to 61 in 2001.
At younger ages, the differences
between birth cohorts are even greater; 71% of households with heads born in
the 1970s held assets in IRAs or DC plan accounts in 2011 when they were ages
31 to 41, while 54% of households born in the 1950s owned IRAs or DC plan
accounts in 1991, when they were ages 31 to 41.
Assets in employer-sponsored DC
plans have grown more rapidly than assets in other types of employer-sponsored
retirement plans over the past quarter century, increasing from 27% of employer
plan assets in 1985 to 40% at year-end 2011. With $3.1 trillion in assets at
year-end 2011, 401(k) plans held the largest share of employer-sponsored DC
plan assets. 403(b) plans and 457 plans held another $941 billion in assets.
The remaining $520 billion in DC plan assets was held by other DC plans without
a deferral feature.
The 2012 Investment Company
Institute Fact Book is here.