More than 97 million Americans have access to a 401(k) plan and more than $5.3 trillion is invested in those plans. You may have wondered how your plan stacks up to the competition. Let’s take a look.

Average Employee Contribution: $6,940
According to Fidelity in a study done in 2019, the average annual employee 401(k) deferral was $6,940. The 2020 IRS limit for 401(k) deferrals is $19,500 in 2020, with an additional $6,500 available to those 50 years and older.
Average Deferral Percentage: 7%
In a typical 401(k) plan, employees are the main source of money flowing into the plan. According to the 2020 Vanguard: How America Saves report, employees deferred an average of 7% in 2019. The median deferral rate was 6%. That means that half of the deferral rates were above 6% and half were below 6%.
Average Employer Contribution: $4,040
One of the best features of 401(k) plans is the “free” money that the employer contributes to the plan. Fidelity shows that for profit sharing and match contributions, the average was $4,040.
Average 401(k) Match: 4.2%
There are many different formulas that companies use to determine their matching contribution. According to Vanguard, the most popular match continues to be 50% on every dollar of a participant’s contribution up to 6% of salary.
Average Participation Rate: 83%
The percentage of eligible employees who made voluntary contributions to their 401(k) plan was 83% in 2019 according to Vanguard. This is the most common metric for gauging 401(k) plan performance.
Average number of participants with a loan: 13%
Loans give participants access to their plan savings without incurring penalties or taxes. According to Vanguard, 78% of plans offer loans. Of those, an average of 13% of participants take advantage of that feature.
Average loan balance: $9,936
According to Vanguard, the outstanding loan balance typically equaled around 10% of the participant’s account balance. On average, the outstanding loan balances of participants was $9,936.
Portion of Plans offering Roth deferrals: 85%
The Roth 401(k) feature allows participants to fund their retirement with after-tax dollars in exchange for tax-free investment growth and withdrawals in retirement. Callan Institute’s 2019 Defined Contribution Trends survey shows that 85% of plans now offer the Roth deferral feature.
Average Number of Funds in a Plan: 17.4
The number of funds used by participants has declined due to the growth of target date funds. According to the Vanguard research, the average number of funds offered in a plan is now 17.4.
Average Account Balance: $106,478
Account balances are a regular measure of the overall effectiveness of the plan. Per the Vanguard research, the average account balance in a 401(k) plan is $106,498. The median balance, however, is much lower at $25,775. The very wealthy with large account balances skew the average so that it looks much higher than what the average participant has saved.
Want to know how your plan stacks up?
Contact your plan consultant and they can provide you with an Executive Summary Report and a Benchmarking Report. They can use these tools to help you understand how your plan stacks up.