Individual Retirement Account Balances, Contributions, and Rollovers, 2012; With Longitudinal Results 2010–2012: The EBRI IRA Database

May 2014
EBRI Issue Brief #399
Paperback, 32 pp.
PDF, 1,902 kb
Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2014

Download Issue Brief PDF pdf

Executive Summary

  • As part of the EBRI Center for Research on Retirement Income (EBRI CRI), the EBRI IRA Database is an ongoing project that collects data from IRA plan administrators across the nation. For year-end 2012, it contained information on 25.3 million accounts owned by 19.9 million unique individuals, with total assets of $2.09 trillion. The EBRI IRA Database is unique in its ability to track individual IRA owners with more than one account, thereby providing a more accurate measure of how much they have accumulated in IRAs.
  • The average IRA account balance in 2012 was $81,660, while the average IRA individual balance (all accounts from the same person combined) was $105,001. Overall, the cumulative IRA average balance was 29 percent larger than the unique account balance.
  • Rollovers overwhelmingly outweighed new contributions in dollar terms. While almost 2.4 million accounts received contributions, compared with the 1.3 million accounts that received rollovers in 2012, 10 times the amount of dollars were added to IRAs through rollovers than from contributions.
  • The average individual IRA balance increased with age for owners ages 25 or older, from $11,009 for those ages 25–29 to $192,961 for those ages 70 or older.
  • Looking at individuals who maintained an IRA account in the database over the three-year period in question, the overall average balance increased each year—from $95,431 in 2010 to $95,547 in 2011 and to $106,205 in 2012.
  • Males had higher individual average and median balances than females: $139,467 and $36,949 for males, respectively, vs., $81,700 and $25,969 for females. However, the likelihood of contributing to an IRA did not significantly differ by gender within the database, as both Roth and traditional IRAs owned by either males or females (as well as those without a gender identified in the database) had similar probabilities of receiving contributions.
  • IRA owners were more likely to be male. In particular, those with an IRA originally opened by a rollover, or a SEP/SIMPLE IRA were much more likely to be male (57.4 percent of the former, and 58.2 percent of the latter).
  • Younger Roth IRA owners were more likely to contribute to the Roth IRA than were older Roth IRA owners: 43 percent of Roth owners ages 25–29 contributed to their Roth in 2012, compared with 21 percent of Roth owners ages 60–64.