If it takes money to make money, then it takes patience to build wealth for retirement. While it certainly hasn’t been easy in recent years, investors who were patient during the credit meltdown and didn’t deviate from their long-term strategies are reaping financial benefits.
In the wake of a historic bull market, retirement accounts finished 2014 at all-time highs. The year-end average 401(k) balance at Fidelity reached $91,300, its highest level in history and up 2% from the prior year. Employees who have been active in their 401(k) plans for the past decade have seen their balances rise to an average of $248,000, Fidelity reported in a new analysis. Meanwhile, the average balance in a Fidelity Individual Retirement Account reached $92,200, up 4% year-over-year.
The path to record retirement balances is not unblemished. Investors have endured back-to-back financial bubbles, dismal employment conditions, and unprecedented actions by the Federal Reserve and other central banks that are still ongoing in order to aid the weakest economic recovery in modern history. Nonetheless, retirement savers are focusing on their futures. The average 401(k) contribution at Fidelity grew 4% to $9,670 last year, while the average savings rate climbed to its best level since 2011.