Average 401(k) balances reach record high

Coal mine layoffs are one factor pushing people from 401(k) to I.R.A. investments for retirement.

MGN Online

Average balances for 401(k) retirement accounts are at record highs, but many in the mountains are turning to individual retirement accounts.

Layoffs in the coal industry are part of this trend, according to investment experts with Premier Insurance.

"Most of the people that had the 401(k)s in East Kentucky were the coal miners" said Bill Terry with Premier Insurance. "They need to do something with that money that's in the money that's in the 401(k), so as a result, one of the options that they have is to roll it over into an individual I.R.A."

A study conducted by Fidelity Investments showed both increasing stock prices and increasing contributions, due to higher incomes, fueled the increase in the average.

Terry said the high average might be evidence of a bubble, and some investors are acting on it.

"They're saying 'we're riding this out, but we know it's going to come down. Somewhere along the way, this bubble is going to burst, and that's why we're coming to see you folks because we want something that's guaranteed,'" Terry Said.

Another expert noted recent events have also introduced a more volatility in the market.

"We had a scare with a government shutdown that we had some big drops and it was...looking scary," said Debbie Goodson.


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