In the five years since the end of 1999 through 2004, those Americans who consistently maintained their 401(k) accounts in that time period saw their balances rise 36% to an average of $91,042, according to a study released last week by the Employee Benefit Research Institute and the Investment Company Institute.

The average account balance increased 15% just in the year ending 2004. At the end of 1999, the average 401(k) balance among these consistent contributors was $67,016.

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