Retirement Assets Reach $19T

Total U.S. retirement assets reached $19.4 trillion in third-quarter 2012, according to the Investment Company Institute (ICI).  

As of September 30, retirement assets were up 3.5% from the $18.7 trillion recorded on June 30. ICI reports that the increase in retirement assets can be attributed to the rise in corporate equity values—the S&P 500 total return index grew by 6.4% in the third quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, retirement savings made up 36% of all household financial assets. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) swelled 4.3% since the end of the second quarter to reach $5.3 trillion, 46% ($2.4 trillion) of which was invested in mutual funds.

Employer-based defined contribution (DC) plans accounted for $5.0 trillion in assets, an increase of 3.9% in the third quarter, and 401(k) plans totaled $3.5 trillion at the end of September. Mutual funds managed $2.8 trillion (57%) of assets kept in 401(k), 403(b) and other defined contribution plans. As of September 30, target date mutual fund assets totaled $460 billion, an increase of 7.7%, and 91% of target date mutual fund assets were held through DC plans and IRAs.

Government pension plan assets—including federal, state and local plans—totaled $4.8 trillion as of September 30, a 3.1% rise from the end of June. Private-sector defined benefit (DB) plans accounted for $2.6 trillion in assets, and annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts held $1.7 trillion.

The quarterly retirement data tables are available at “The U.S. Retirement Market, Third Quarter 2012.”