How many people max out their 401ks?
November 19, 2007 4:54 PM   Subscribe

How many people max out their 401ks?

I was wondering if anyone can point to statistics that show number of people (in %) that contribute the maximum $ amount to their 401k. I saw a number but it seemed too high...and can't remember where I saw it.
posted by rholly to Work & Money (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Employee Benefit Research Institute tracks this kind of data - Page 7 of this has some 1999 vintage data.
posted by milkrate at 5:04 PM on November 19, 2007

Caddis, as much as I am thrilled for you, I don't think that will be much help to rholly! Now how about sending some of that cash our way? Christmas is coming and I gotta get shopping! (just kidding obviously; good on you for getting your sh@! together)

I did a quick search and got values generally around 5%, although I don't know how reliable the information or the sources are...

I used the following search terms in Gooooooogle:
401k max "percent of americans" only

From this site
"Even though only 3 percent to 5 percent of Americans contribute the maximum allowable amount to their individual retirement accounts (IRAs)..."

This site , although it doesn't have the exact info you require, still might have some interesting tidbits of info for you.

From this site:
"...These new plans would deliver the overwhelming bulk of additional tax incentives to the 5 percent of Americans who are already contributing the maximum to an IRA or 401K account...."

Finally (i'm gettin tired!) from this site
"... Even now, only 5 percent of wage earners contribute the maximum to their IRAs and 8 percent contribute the maximum to their 401(k)s..."
posted by bitteroldman at 7:37 PM on November 19, 2007

That doesn't seem right. For 2008, the contribution limit for an IRA is $5,000 and the contribution limit for a 401k is $15,500 (neither of these figures includes catch-up allowances for older people). Some companies limit 401k contributions, so perhaps that accounts for the higher percentage with maxed out 401ks.
posted by Uncle Jimmy at 6:45 AM on November 20, 2007

Response by poster: thanks for the feedback on this one. It appears that the number is less than 10% which seems about right. I'm hesitant to rely on the 1999 statistics because many 401ks were capped at 15% which it made it impossible for almost all to hit the $$ max.
posted by rholly at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2007

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