More Good News on Retirement Savings

Here’s some interesting news from the Employee Benefit Research Institute. Not everyone is aware of this, but Americans have more retirement income in IRA accounts ($7.2 trillion) than in 401k accounts ($5.6 trillion). A few years ago EBRI started collecting information about IRA contributions, and they now have enough data to show some trends over the past few years. For starters, more people are putting money in IRAs: 14.1 percent in 2015 compared to 12.1 percent in 2010. And the amount of money they’ve been contributing has gone steadily up:

The basic story is simple: more people are starting IRAs, and the ones who do are contributing more to them. That’s especially true of young people, who are contributing 15-20 percent more than they were just a few years ago.

IRAs tend to be popular with middle-class and upper-middle-class workers, so this doesn’t tell us anything about the retirement prospects of the poor and working class, who rely primarily on Social Security. Still, it’s consistent with the numbers for 401k accounts, which have been used by more people; more young people; and more low-income people ever since the Pension Protection Act passed in 2006.

We still need to make Social Security more generous for the poor and working class, but this data is consistent with the notion that the demise of old-school pensions hasn’t been a disaster. The source of retirement income has changed over the years, but the amount has stayed about the same.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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