A report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute suggest no. Their data shows the average 401(k) balance is under $18,500. It even goes on to show that 40% of workers have less than $10,000 in their 401(k) accounts. Yes, these statistics are true, but I don’t believe the study implies what it thinks it implies. 401(k)s are not the problem when it comes to low balances. Blaming 401(k)s for retirement unpreparedness is misguided at best.
Retirement is a big deal, though it’s a relatively young concept. Even in the last 40 years it’s changed drastically. But there is only one person to blame for low balances, and it’s you. Our behavior is the only thing that accounts for 401(k) balances being what they are.
This issue deserves a thoughtful explanation which is why I wrote my Indy Star column on it this week (read it here) and I did a segment on The Pete the Planner Radio Show about it as well.
Blaming or ignoring the problem of low 401(k) balances only hurts you. Take time to listen to this segment because only you can change your retirement chances.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.