Retirement assets total $37.4 trillion in Q3 2021: ICI

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According to a report by the Investment Company Institute (ICI), total U.S. retirement assets were $37.4 trillion as of Sept. 30, 2021 — down 0.5% from June 30 earlier this year. Retirement assets accounted for 33% of all household financial assets in the U.S. at the end of September.

“As of September 30, 2021, total US retirement entitlements were $43.0 trillion, including $37.4 trillion of retirement assets and another $5.7 trillion of unfunded liabilities,” ICI’s report stated. “Including both retirement assets and unfunded liabilities, retirement entitlements accounted for 38 percent of the financial assets of all US households at the end of September.”

However, the pandemic has and continues to place pressure on retirement security for Americans. A previous ICI report also noted that most retirement plans have not been tapped despite financial constraints brought upon families by the pandemic.

For Q3 2021, assets in IRAs totaled $13.2 trillion (down 0.6% from the end of Q2), defined contribution (DC) plan assets totaled $10.4 trillion (down 0.8% from June 30), government defined benefit (DB) plans— including federal, state, and local government plans—held $7.6 trillion in assets as of the end of September (a 0.3% increase from the end of June), private-sector DB plans held $3.7 trillion in assets, and annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts accounted for another $2.5 trillion.

ICI is a global association of regulated funds, including mutual funds, ETFs, closed-end funds, and unit investment trusts (UITs) in the United States, with similar funds offered to investors in jurisdictions worldwide. ICI’s report is based upon both actual and estimated data collected from ICI itself as well as government organizations.

US Total Retirement Market Assets
Trillions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods

e Data are estimated.

Note: For definitions of plan categories, see Table 1 in “The US Retirement Market, Third Quarter 2021.” Components may not add to the total because of rounding.

Assets in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) totaled $13.2 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2021, a decrease of 0.6 percent from the end of the second quarter of 2021. Defined contribution (DC) plan assets were $10.4 trillion at the end of the third quarter, down 0.8 percent from June 30, 2021. Government defined benefit (DB) plans— including federal, state, and local government plans—held $7.6 trillion in assets as of the end of September 2021, a 0.3 percent increase from the end of June 2021. Private-sector DB plans held $3.7 trillion in assets at the end of the third quarter of 2021, and annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts accounted for another $2.5 trillion.
US Total Retirement Market Assets Trillions of dollars, end-of-period, selected periods


e Data are estimated. Note: For definitions of plan categories, see Table 1 in “The US Retirement Market, Third Quarter 2021.” Components may not add to the total because of rounding. Assets in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) totaled $13.2 trillion at the end of the third quarter of 2021, a decrease of 0.6 percent from the end of the second quarter of 2021. Defined contribution (DC) plan assets were $10.4 trillion at the end of the third quarter, down 0.8 percent from June 30, 2021. Government defined benefit (DB) plans— including federal, state, and local government plans—held $7.6 trillion in assets as of the end of September 2021, a 0.3 percent increase from the end of June 2021. Private-sector DB plans held $3.7 trillion in assets at the end of the third quarter of 2021, and annuity reserves outside of retirement accounts accounted for another $2.5 trillion.

Saving throughout the pandemic

A survey conducted by The Penny Hoarder, which polled 1,001 people in October 2021, found that nearly 17% of Americans said they’re saving less money for retirement due to the pandemic. The survey also found that 16% of respondents were actually saving more money in response to COVID-19.

In addition, the survey collected data surrounding the likelihood of different age groups to save for retirement during the pandemic.

“Millennials were the age group most likely to save more for retirement in response to COVID: 35% of Americans who say they’re saving more during COVID are millennials ages 25-34,” The Penny Hoarder said.

In terms of the broader personal savings picture throughout the pandemic, the personal savings rate skyrocketed to 33.8% back in April 2020 at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak and then experienced a smaller peak of 26.6% in March 2021. Since then, the personal savings rate has cooled off to 7.3% for October 2021, the same level recorded back in September 2020.

Thomas Hum is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @thomashumTV

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