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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.

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

Bar chart showing average account balances from 2014 to 2023.  2014: $81k 2015: $80k 2016: $83k 2017: $92k 2018: $85k 2019: $101k 2020: $114k 2021: $124k 2022: $101k 2023: $115k

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 average18.4% T. Rowe Price average 

1Source: T. Rowe Price Retirement Savings and Spending Study, 2023.

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: 2021: 83% 2022: 87% 2023: 93%  Percentage of participants who use Roth: 2021: 12% 2022: 13% 2023: 14%

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.

27x less likely to make an exchange when 100% invested 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:  participants age 72: -12.9% all other age groups: 4.2%

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.

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