Between the market rally and 401(k) investors’ steady contributions, balances are higher than what they were before the financial crisis hit, according to a Vanguard report, “Recovery in 401(k) Balances,” based on an analysis of the 1.7 million investors that Vanguard serves. What’s more, despite the intense scrutiny on target-date funds, some of which dramatically lagged their benchmarks in 2008, portfolios invested solely in target-date funds did better than others.

Vanguard found that 60% of investors who were invested in a 401(k) plan for at least two years had the same or a higher balance than at the stock market’s peak in October 2007. Of the remaining 40% of those investors who had lower balances, the majority suffered losses of less than 20% at their earlier peak value.

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