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Encore: IRAs by far the largest component of retirement system

Given that private sector households now hold more money in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) than in defined contribution plans (see Figure 1), I am always looking for more info about IRAs.

The Investment Company Institute (ICI), an organization dedicated to promoting public understanding of mutual funds, puts out information on IRAs based on its Annual Mutual Fund Shareholder Tracking Survey. Three things seemed particularly interesting in the most recent publication.

First, 32 percent of all U.S. households own IRAs (see Table 1). Most hold traditional IRAs, but Roth IRAs are catching up fast.

Table 1, Households Owning IRAs, 2015
Type of IRA Households with IRA
Number (millions) Percentage of total
Traditional 30.4 24.4%
Roth 20.3 16.3%
Employer-sponsored* 6.7 5.4%
Any IRA 40.2 32.3%
*Employer-sponsored IRAs include the SEP (introduced in 1978), the SAR-SEP (1986), and the SIMPLE (1996).

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