IRA Balances Are on the Rise

According to new data released by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), average IRA account balances and the individuals contributing to them have been increasing.

According to new data released by the ave been increasing.

The EBRI IRA Database is an ongoing project that collects data from IRA-plan administrators across the nation. For year-end 2013, it contained information on 25.8 million accounts owned by 20.6 million unique individuals, with total assets of $2.46 trillion.

Some highlights from EBRI’s analysis of the most recently available data include the following:

  • The data show that the average account balance decreased from $91,864 in 2010 to $87,668 in 2011 before increasing to $119,804 in 2013—an increase of 30.4 percent from 2010 to 2013, and 14.1 percent from 2012 to 2013.
  • The percentage of individuals who contributed to their IRA ranged from 12.1 percent in 2010 to 13.8 percent in 2013. The percentage of individuals owning Traditional IRAs who contributed to them rose from 5.2 percent in 2010 to 7.0 percent in 2013. In contrast, the percentage of Roth owners who contributed ranged from 24.0 percent to 26.0 percent from 2010–2013.
  • The percentage of IRA participants who contributed the maximum rose from 43.5 percent in 2010 to 53.5 percent in 2012. However, with the increase in the maximum allowable contribution in 2013, the percentage contributing the maximum overall fell to 43.3 percent in 2013.

The charts below show the average IRA balance by type and age based on the 2013 EBRI data. Note that EBRI defines individual balances as all accounts from the same person combined, whereas account balances are the individual accounts themselves.

Image showing chart of average IRA balances by account type

Image showing chart of average IRA account balances by age

Source: Individual Retirement Account Balances, Contributions, and Rollovers, 2013; With Longitudinal Results 2010–2013: The EBRI IRA Database

Recent data from the Thrift Savings Plan mirror what the EBRI data are showing, that being a growth trend in individual account balances inside of the TSP. For more on this see A Growing Number of Wealthy Federal Employees.

These trends are no doubt some good news in the wake of some other recent reports showing that many Americans are doing a poor job of saving for retirement. See Fed Survey Shows Americans Are Optimistic About Their Finances Despite Generally Lacking Savings and 28% of Workers Have Less Than $1,000 in Savings for details on these other reports.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of He enjoys writing about current topics that affect the federal workforce.