Retirement savings balances hit new record highs

A decade ago, 1 in 4 savers had a portfolio that was dramatically under or over exposed to equities, according to Fidelity — putting them at greater risk of coming up short. That includes 16 percent whose entire account was in stocks and 10 percent who had none.

“Today, it’s only about 10 percent who are one extreme or the other,” Murphy said. “We’ve seen a big correction there, a helping hand offered by products like target-date funds.”

The Fidelity report also points to the power of a long-term savings strategy. Average balances for savers who have been in their workplace plan for 10 years run $305,400, nearly five times the average balance a decade ago; among those in their plan for 15 years, the average is $400,300, a more than eight-fold increase from 15 years ago.

“There was a lot of worry that took place during the market downturn,” said Murphy. “The vast majority of people stayed the course and remained invested, and that paid off.”

In fact, a record number of savers have amassed $1 million or more in their retirement account: 401(k) millionaires now number 187,400, a 41 percent increase from last year, while the number of IRA millionaires is up 25 percent over the same period, to a total 170,400. Those 401(k) and IRA millionaires typically have a savings tenure of 30-plus years, meaning they have been through plenty of market ups and downs, said Murphy.

“[Millionaire status] is actually is quite achievable in your retirement plan if you start early, save consistently and invest appropriately,” she said.

WATCH: What you need to do now to save for retirement

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