EBRI Notes

"IRA and 401(k)-Type Plan Ownership" and "Disability Income: Voluntary Employment-Based Plans"

Jun 1, 2002 16  pages


IRA and 401(k)-Type Plan Ownership—This article reports on the status of Americans' retirement preparation by determining the extent of IRA and 401(k)-type plan ownership among all Americans ages 21-64 from November 1998 to February 1999, based on data from the Wave 9 Topical Module on assets and wealth and the Wave 9 core of the 1996 Panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). During this period, 15.4 percent of Americans ages 21-64 owned an individual retirement account (IRA), with an average balance of $33,089. In comparison, 22.2 percent owned a 401(k)-type plan, with an average balance of $35,608 for any plan owned. The median balance for IRAs was $12,000 and for 401(k)-type plans it was $15,000. Owners of IRAs have contributed to their accounts on average for 7.6 years, while 401(k)-type plan owners have contributed to their plans on average for 6.5 years.

Disability Income: Voluntary Employment-Based Plans—According to a recent survey, employers' direct costs for disability coverage (defined as payments or premiums for workers' compensation, sick pay, and short-term and long-term disability plans) were 6.3 percent of payroll in 1999. Indirect costs of disability (defined as costs for overtime, replacement workers needed when an employee is out on disability, and workstation accommodations) totaled 8 percent of payroll. Indirect costs were growing at a faster rate than direct costs in 1999. This article discusses types of voluntary plans that employers are offering and the percentages of workers who are participating in them.