Gen Z and Millennial Investors Are Opening More IRAs — Even as Stocks Struggle

Money; Getty Images
Money; Getty Images

Millennials and Gen Z are getting serious about saving for retirement — and not just with their 401(k) plans.

New data released by Fidelity shows that the number of IRA accounts among Gen Z investors rose 83% between the third quarter of last year and the third quarter of 2022. The number of millennial IRA accounts rose 25%, while the number of IRA accounts among investors of all ages rose 11%.

An IRA, or individual retirement account, is a tax-advantaged way to save money for retirement. Many people use them in addition to an employer-sponsored retirement plan like a 401(k) or 403(b). With a traditional IRA, you invest pre-tax money that grows now, and your tax bill comes when you withdraw the funds in retirement. With a Roth IRA, you pay taxes upfront and your investments grow tax-free.

The growth in new IRA accounts over the past year happened despite the fact that average IRA balances decreased nearly 25% to $101,900, Fidelity found. Those losses aren’t too surprising given how stocks have been performing: The S&P 500 index is down more 17.5% so far this year.

Savings rates for 401(k)s among all age groups held steady over the last year, and actually ticked up (from 10% to 10.3%) for members of Gen Z. Average 401(k) balances rose by 1.2% for Gen Z investors, too.

The data signals that younger generations are doing exactly what experts recommend by continuing to invest despite a challenging market.

“Retirement savers have wisely chosen to avoid the drama,” Kevin Barry, president of Workplace Investing at Fidelity Investments, said in a news release, referring to the big swings in the stock market over the past year.

“This is important,” he added, “because one of the most essential aspects of a sound retirement savings strategy is contributing enough consistently in up markets, down markets, and sideways markets to help reach your goals.”

More from Money:

Why You Should Open an IRA in Addition to Your Workplace 401(k)

It’s Getting Even Harder to Save for Retirement. Here’s What You Can Do

Why It’s So Important to Keep Investing When Stocks Are Down

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