Is Your Retirement Portfolio Making New Record Highs?

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The credit meltdown of yesteryear ferociously ripped through the economy and decimated retirement accounts across Main Street. Millions of Americans felt the brute force of a stock market crash for the second time in only a decade. While the nation is left with the weakest economic recovery in history despite years of unprecedented intervention from central banks, some Americans are witnessing a rebound.

Investors who stayed in the market over the past five years are experiencing a wealth effect in their retirement portfolios. The average 401(k) balance grew to $89,300 in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a new report from Fidelity, the nation’s largest 401(k) provider. That represents a 15.5 percent gain from one year earlier and a new record high. Since the stock market reached historic lows in March 2009, the average 401(k) balance has nearly doubled from only $46,200.

The most debated stock rally in history is largely responsible for the rebound in retirement accounts. Fidelity finds that 78 percent of the year-over-year gain is due to equity prices, while 22 percent of the growth is from employee and employer contributions, including company matches.

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