Adding Up the 401(k) Savings

Much of the discussion around retirements is rightfully focused on the large numbers of people who are not saving enough. But The Washington Post recently shared some positive information:

The number of workers with $1 million or more in their 401(k) increased to 157,000 at the end of the first quarter this year, an increase of 45 percent compared with the same time a year earlier, according to Fidelity Investments, one of the country’s largest administrators of workplace retirement accounts.

“There’s no doubt that many of Fidelity’s 401(k) millionaires have benefited from the market’s positive performance, but they also exhibit many of the behaviors we recommend to make the most of your savings,” said Jeanne Thompson, senior vice president for Fidelity. “They contribute enough to get their full company match, they’re less likely to take 401(k) loans, they don’t cash out when changing jobs and they invest for growth — on average, 401(k) millionaires hold 76 percent of their savings in equity mutual funds.”

Workers can now contribute up to $18,500 each year to a workplace plan such as a 401(k) or the federal government’s Thrift Savings Plan (TSP). If you’re over 50, there’s a catch-up provision that allows you to contribute up to $24,000 to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Fidelity’s analysis of first quarter data also found the following.

  • Workers who have saved in their company’s 401(k) for 10 years had a record high average account balance of $290,100, compared with $250,500 a year ago.
  • Those employees who have saved for 15 years had an average balance of $379,600, up from $330,200 a year ago.

“Although found at many grade levels and in nearly every agency throughout the country, all of the people in the million-plus column have the same things in common: they have invested for the long haul, and invested heavily or exclusively in the stock-indexed C and S funds,” Mike Causey of Federal News Radio wrote. “When markets drop dramatically — as they did in 1997 and during the Great Recession — they continue to purchase stocks getting more shares each pay period because they are investing the same amount of money, which purchases a larger share of the C and S funds. Also, all of those eligible for it have taken advantage of the total 5 percent match available from their agency.”

Chamber Staff Comings and Goings

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce is just a few years away from celebrating 100 years (the organization was founded in 1922). Over nearly a century, there have been countless staff changes and evolutions to help move the organization forward.

Janet Boston

Today, we say “thank you and farewell” to Janet Boston, who is retiring as executive director of the Indiana INTERNnet program, which is managed by the Indiana Chamber. Boston has been in the role for seven years and caps off an outstanding career in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors. Read more about Boston’s impact with the organization here. The Indiana Chamber and Indiana INTERNnet Board sent Boston out in style – with a luncheon and office celebration, and presented her with a custom necklace in appreciation of her taking the program to new heights.

Mark Lawrance, who has most recently been advocating in the economic development and technology areas, will replace Boston as interim executive director of Indiana INTERNnet, starting June 1. Lawrance will be retiring later this year and is expected to stay in the interim role until the fall.

Additionally, as previously announced, the Indiana Chamber has partnered with the Wellness Council of Indiana and Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration to help combat the state’s opioid epidemic. The new Indiana Workforce Recovery initiative is a joint effort among the groups and is led by Jennifer Pferrer, executive director of the Wellness Council. The initiative provides employers with resources and guidance on how to help their employees who are impacted by the opioid epidemic. Allyson Blandford has come on board at the Wellness Council to support the initiative as project manager.

Also at the Wellness Council, Madie Newman has joined as program coordinator for the Indiana Healthy Communities initiative. The role has been created to support the organization in helping communities coordinate wellness efforts, ensuring healthier citizens and acting as a draw for economic development opportunities.

Abbi Espe rounds out our membership team. She was hired this spring as the manager of member services for northeastern Indiana and will focus on bringing new companies into the fold.

On the education front, the grant-funded college and career readiness position, held by Shelley Huffman, ends today. Lobbyist Caryl Auslander, who handled education and workforce matters, has left for new endeavors.

Greg Ellis, vice president of energy and environmental policy, is now responsible for federal lobbying. Members of the Indiana Chamber’s advocacy team are assuming Auslander and Lawrance’s other policy committee duties on a temporary basis until new staff is hired later this summer.

We wish everyone well and good luck in their future activities and look forward to the contributions of our new team members to continue the important work and mission of the Indiana Chamber of Commerce in “cultivating a world-class environment which provides economic opportunity and prosperity for the people of Indiana and their enterprises.”

For our complete staff listing, visit the web site at:

Survey: Boomers Retiring on Time, After All

Been there, done that and now it’s time to have fun!

Retirement is coming early for Baby Boomers, according to a new study challenging the prevailing notion that seniors are postponing their workforce departures.

The MetLife report reveals that among individuals born in 1946 (the year the Baby Boom began), 59% were either partially or fully retired by age 65. Men (born in ’46) continued working, on average, until age 59.7. For women, the milestone was 57.2.

You know the famous “you’re only as old as you feel” expression? Most participants, on average, share that they won’t consider themselves old until they near 80 (age 79 to be exact). How cool is that?

Here’s one of the best findings, in my opinion: 96% of respondents are enjoying retirement at least somewhat.

Hooray! We may not have to keep our noses to the grindstone as long as we initially thought. And it’s encouraging to know that when we do bid our jobs a (hopefully friendly) farewell, the best may be yet to come.

Take This Job and Love It

I’ve never been a procrastinator. In fact, when I was in college, I avoided the crazed look my classmates got in their eyes as they scrambled to meet deadlines. So, it’s no surprise that at age 32, I’m already planning my retirement (I enjoy my job, but that doesn’t mean I want to work forever!). A new survey, however, is taking some of the proverbial wind out of my sails. It reveals that two out of three working Americans – while satisfied with their positions – doubt they will ever be able to retire.

Due to the struggling economy, 46% of workers polled have experienced salary cuts in recent years and 44% fear they will lose their jobs. And, 48% are concerned about reduced work hours.

But, here’s the good news: Out of 613 people surveyed, 82% are satisfied with their jobs, 80% derive satisfaction from their work and 72% look forward to coming to work each day. In addition, they report positive relationships with their supervisors and co-workers

When I begin my daily adventures (known to most people as “going to work”) and wave to my retired neighbor as he tends to his immaculate – and I mean immaculate – green lawn, it’s exciting to think that one day, it will be my turn. Even if that day is really getting further away. Since I have a job I love, at least I’ll enjoy the ride.