Keeping Track: retirement funds

A study finds little overall drop in 401(k) balances

Stock-market volatility has analysts concerned about retirement accounts being all but erased. Most investors have taken hits lately, and 2001 may have its own story. But research released last week by the Investment Company Institute suggests that investors enrolled in 401(k) plans felt no real decline between 1999 and 2000.

The ICI, with the Employee Benefit Research Institute, found that the average account balance for participants in 401(k) plans for 1999 and 2000 declined just 0.1 percent by the end of last year.

The joint project looked at the average account balances for 8.3 million individuals enrolled for the entire two-year period. Were it to include newcomers to 401(k) plans and people exiting plans, the study would indicate a drop of 12 percent.

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