Number Of 401(k) Millionaires Hit New Highs Amid Worsening Economic Inequality

Fidelity, the largest 401(k) provider in the US, has just released its third-quarter analysis titled “Building Financial Futures” that outlines the number of 401(k) millionaires hit a new high during the pandemic, reported WaPo

Fidelity said client balances of more than one million dollars for 401(k) accounts increased to 262,000, up 17% from the previous quarter. The number of IRA millionaires also increased to 234,000, up 15% in the quarter. Both breached the highs recorded in4Q19 when Fidelity reported 233,000 401(k) millionaires and 208,000 IRA millionaires.

Market performance was primarily the reason for increases in 401(k) account balances in 3Q20. Despite the market plunge in October, from July 1 to Sept. 30, soaring main equities indexes boosted retirement balances, a spokesman for Fidelity told WaPo. 

Despite the virus-induced downturn, resulting in the decimation of small and medium-sized firms, along with millions of job losses, the recovery has primarily been a Federal Reserve induced bonanza, one where trillions of dollars were pumped into capital markets by the central bank, igniting stock prices to record highs. 

This all suggests that the Fed is unintentionally worsening economic inequality by providing the most help to capital markets while leaving the working-poor to fend for themselves with lousy government stimulus checks that expired at the end of July.