Continued contributions to 401(k)s and a 34% rally in the S&P 500 in the second and third quarters have propped up average balances quite strongly, Fidelity found in an analysis of the 11 million individual 401(k) accounts it serves.
While the S&P 500 rose 16% in the third quarter, the average 401(k) balance rose 13% to $60,700. Since the end of the first quarter, when the average balance was $47,500, the average rebound in 401(k) balances has been 28%.
Participants’ personal rate of return—which excludes contributions, withdrawals and loans—over the past year is 0.4%. Over the past five years, it is 3.2%, and over the past 10 years, it is 1.9%.
Of the 8% of companies that either reduced or suspended their company match this year, nearly one-third, 27%, have either reinstated it or plan to do so in 2010. Among larger plans with 5,000 participants or more, 44% have reinstated or plan to reinstate the 401(k) match.
Fidelity reviewed the impact of companies’ decision to suspend or eliminate the 401(k) match in the first quarter and found that in these cases, participants were nearly twice as likely (11%) to decrease their deferral rates and in plans with a match (6%).