Participants in 401(k) plans that are Fidelity Investments clients had an average account balance of $69,100 as of Dec. 31, up 7.5% from three months earlier.
Two-thirds of the gain was because of employee and employer contributions; the remainder was the result of market appreciation, Michael Shamrell, a Fidelity spokesman, said in an e-mail.
The fourth-quarter average balance was just below the fourth-quarter 2010 average balance of $69,400, Mr. Shamrell wrote.
Among 401(k) plans for which Fidelity was record keeper, the average employee contribution to a plan was $5,750 last year, up 1% from 2010, a news release said.
“It's very encouraging that savings levels actually held up during the intense market volatility of last year and a sluggish economic environment,” James M. MacDonald, president, workplace investing at Fidelity, said in the news release. “Increases in savings levels, however small, can make a significant impact over time.”
The average employer contribution to eligible participants in 401(k) plans was $3,270, up 3.2% from 2010.
Fidelity's analysis is based on 11.6 million 401(k) plan participant accounts.