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Encore: 401(k) balances increased very little in the last 10 years

Vanguard recently released its 2019 edition of “How America Saves.” This excellent publication summarizes the statistics for the defined-contribution plans that the company administers. Vanguard tends to administer larger plans, so they are often better designed than average, and participants typically have higher incomes. In other words, it presents the best face of the 401(k) system.

In 2018, the average account balance was $92,148; the median was $22,217. The big difference between the median and the average is due to a small number of accounts that have really big balances. Average balances are more typical of long-tenured more affluent participants, while the median balance represents the typical participant.

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