Study: Retirement accounts down 15 percent

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Retirement accounts down 15 percent, study says A new report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) has found that the median asset levels in retirement accounts dropped at least 15 percent since the end of 2007 as a result of the economic downturn.

The report looked specifically at defined contribution (401(k)) and IRA/Keogh accounts and found that among those with a defined contribution plan the median plan balance was $31,800 in 2007, but fell to $26,578 from year-end 2007 to mid-June 2009.

At the same time, for those with an IRA/Keogh plan, the median value of their plan was $34,000 in 2007, and fell to $28,955 in the same period.

"Americans have a great deal of work to do after the tremendous loss of wealth in 2008 to ensure financial security in retirement," Craig Copeland, EBRI senior research associate wrote in the August 2009 EBRI Issue Brief, no. 333.

"However, some optimism is warranted, as most individuals continue to contribute to their individual account plans and are in a position to accumulate added wealth as the economy recovers," he added.

The study is based on the 2007 Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve Board’s triennial survey of wealth, and was adjusted to account for the recession in 2008.
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