U.S. Retirement Assets Steady in Q2

American savers held $16.9 trillion in retirement assets at the end of the second quarter of 2008, accounting for nearly 36% of all U.S. household financial assets according to Investment Company Institute (ICI) data.

An ICI news release said between March 31 and June 30, retirement assets remained largely unchanged from a revised finding of $16.9 trillion in the first quarter of the year. During the second quarter, total return on equities was -2.7%, while bonds lost -1.2% percent, according to the Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index and the Citigroup Broad Investment Grade Bond Index.

At the end of the second quarter, according to ICI IRAs held $4.5 trillion of retirement market assets, and another $4.3 trillion was in employer-sponsored defined contribution plans, of which $2.9 trillion was held in 401(k) plans. Mutual funds represented 47% of IRA assets and 51% of defined contribution plan assets.

Lifecycle funds continued their growth during the second quarter, ICI said. Assets in those funds reached $205 billion, compared with $190 billion at the end of the first quarter. Almost 90% percent of assets in lifecycle funds were held in retirement accounts, according to the report.

The ICI report (available here) also discussed assets held in private-sector pension plans, both defined benefit and defined contribution plans; government pension plans; annuities; and individual retirement accounts (IRAs).