Reference Point: Data can inspire solutions

What were the major trends that emerged for retirement plans in 2023—and what do those trends mean for 2024 and beyond?

Our annual Reference Point report breaks down data from the previous year to: 

- Provide benchmarking for plans 

- Analyze key trends

- Share commentary from T. Rowe Price experts

The insights in Reference point can help plan sponsors, retirement professionals, and providers across the retirement industry determine next steps to help improve participant outcomes.

Report highlights

Account balances rebounded but fell short of the 2021 high

Strong markets in 2023 helped account balances regain some losses experienced in 2022. The average account balance increased 14% to $115K.

Average account balances
Average account balances

Inflation worries didn’t scare off savers

The average participation rate held steady from 2022 to 2023 and even surpassed the national average.

7.8% National average1
8.4% T. Rowe Price average 

Source: T. Rowe Price Retirement Savings and Spending Study, 2023.

Participation rate: Auto-enrollment vs. non-auto-enrollment
Participation rate: Auto-enrollment vs. non-auto-enrollment

Roth is becoming a big priority. The popularity of Roth contributions continues to grow. It’s time to evaluate adding this option, especially as SECURE 2.0 will require plans to offer Roth or eliminate catch-up contributions beginning in 2026.

Percentage of plans that offer Roth

Target date investors are less likely to change direction. And among the few target date investors who made a change in 2023, 62% moved money to an investment with a later target date. 

27 times less likely to make an exchange when 100% investment in a target date.

SECURE 2.0 could be contributing to a drop in distributions. Participants age 72+ took 12.9% fewer distributions in 2023 than in 2022, potentially related to the change in starting age for required minimum distributions from SECURE 2.0.

Change in distributions 2022 to 2023

About the Report

Unless otherwise noted, all data included in this report are drawn from the following sources Data are based on the large-market, full-service universe—T. Rowe Price total—of T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc., retirement plans (401(k) and 457 plans) consisting of 660 plans and over 2 million participants.

For more information on this report or where you get additional industry-specific data to support your plan design discussions, please contact your T. Rowe Price representative.


This material is provided for general and educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax, or investment advice. This material does not provide recommendations concerning investments, investment strategies, or account types; it is not individualized to the needs of any specific investor and not intended to suggest any particular investment action is appropriate for you, nor is it intended to serve as the primary basis for investment decision making.

Study results provided throughout the material are as of the most recent date available and are subject to change.

This information is not intended to reflect a current or past recommendation concerning investments, investment strategies, or account types, advice of any kind, or a solicitation of an offer to buy or sell any securities or investment services. The opinions and commentary provided do not take into account the investment objectives or financial situation of any particular investor or class of investor. Please consider your own circumstances before making an investment decision.

Information contained herein is based upon sources we consider to be reliable; we do not, however, guarantee its accuracy.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. All investments are subject to market risk, including the possible loss of principal. All charts and tables are shown for illustrative purposes only.

T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc., T. Rowe Price Investment Services, Inc., T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services, Inc.

©2024 T. Rowe Price. All Rights Reserved. T. ROWE PRICE, RETIRE WITH CONFIDENCE, and the bighorn sheep design are, collectively and/or apart, trademarks of T. Rowe Price Group, Inc.


Preferred Website

Do you want to go directly to the Financial Advisors/Intermediaries site when you visit ?

You are currently logged in to multiple T. Rowe Price websites.

You will need to log out below and log back in with your Advisor Dashboard credentials.