Report reveals initial look at public sector DC plan account balances, contributions, loans, asset allocation; features inaugural presentation of plan data aggregated across record keepers

“A First Look at the Public Retirement Research Lab Database” is a report of the opening PRRL Database, including commentary and graphic representation of defined contribution plan account balances, contributions, loans, and asset allocation. It features an inaugural presentation of plan data aggregated across record keepers.

The PRRL Database is the repository for the plan- and participant-level retirement plan data collected by the PRRL from public plan sponsors from their record keepers. The opening PRRL Database contains year-end 2019 data for more than 200 457(b), 401(a), 403(b), 401(k), and other defined contribution plans; nearly 2.3 million state, county, city, and subdivision employees; and $113 billion in assets. Of note: State plans commonly serve as the primary DC vehicle for lower-level governments within their respective states. Some PRRL-participating state-level plans represent as many as 1,800 employers.

Key findings include:

Account Balances

    • Mean account balances for public plan participants in their 60s reach just over $96,000; median account balances top out at nearly $32,000.

Contributions

    • Mean contributions for participants in their 60s reach nearly $3,900 annually; median contributions were just over $1,300 annually.

Loans

    • Loan use peaks at 7.3% for public plan participants in their 40s.
    • The average loan as a percentage of account balance reaches 19% for those in their 60s.

Asset Allocations

    • The use of target-date funds is significantly higher by participants in their 20s (~63%).
    • The use of stable value products increases steadily as plan participants approach retirement age, reaching 29% by participants in their 60s.
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