Last year was a phenomenal year for retirement savers. If you -- like me -- watch the financial news shows every morning, you might have caught some of their endlessly negativity. But if you did, shake it off. Despite what they say, your retirement planning is alive and well.
Fidelity Investments, the nation's largest provider of retirement savings plans, released its fourth quarter analysis last week and pointed out the average balance in 401(k) plans rose to record high by the end of 2012, reaching $77,300, up from $69,100 in December of 2011, a 12 percent increase. About two-thirds was attributed to market increases, while one-third was due to additional participant savings. What's not to like about that?
If you're stuck with your savings plan for the last 10 years, the news is even better. Savers who steadily put money in their 401(k)s over the last decade saw their accounts quadruple in size to an average of $199,800, up from $47,100, 10 years previous.
For those close to retirement, Fidelity says savers in the 55- to 59-year-old group who saved continuously over the last decade had an average balance of $251,700.
If you never saved another penny and you retired tomorrow at age 60, you could buy an annuity with that amount of money that would pay you $1,200 every month for the rest of your life, according to ImmediateAnnuities.com. In most parts of the country that's enough to keep a roof over your head and the lights on.
Retirement savings takes discipline, but it obviously pays off in the end. So just ignore those wet blankets on TV.