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Sarah Ackerman from Randolph, New Jersey, has amassed money in retirement accounts during the coronavirus recession. And it’s paid.

Since the closure began in March, Ackerman has cut her spending by $ 300 to $ 500 a month working from home and driving less, providing a boost to her savings. She drove two hours a day for work. But it only filled up with gas twice during the pandemic, and it negotiated a lower rate for its vehicle insurance, saving it about 30%.

Ever since she was sitting on extra cash in the spring, Ackerman began maximizing her Simple IRA, a retirement savings vehicle, that her employer encounters. In April, she opened a separate Roth IRA account and pulled out the maximum of her contributions, and then opened a brokerage account.

“I felt nervous at first, but it was a great opportunity to save more for retirement,” says Ackerman, 27, who recently got a promotion as marketing manager at Universal Yums, a boxed subscription company. snack.

“I’m trying to keep a head level, but it feels good to save when you are young. The more time you are in the market is better than trying market time.”

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Pension balances are reversed despite COVID

Stocks have made a face-up and are again close to record levels following a coronavirus-driven sale in March. But even during the fall, workers continued to accumulate money on their eggs, according to a new study.

While pension accounts saw sharp fluctuations in the second quarter due to economic uncertainty around the explosion, balance sheets saw double-digit growth from the first three months of the year, according to a quarterly analysis of pension savings trends by Fidelity Investments.

The gains were driven by renewed optimism about future economic growth as the Federal Reserve and Congress opened the door and provided an unprecedented amount of financial assistance to support the economy.

To be sure, the stock market has been heating up even after the US economy has struggled to recover after a wave of recessions and bankruptcies. And employers continue to lay off workers at a historic pace as further outbreaks have forced some states to stop reopening. More than 55 million Americans have been seeking unemployment benefits since closing the state in mid-March.

But that hasn’t stopped some savers from putting money into pension accounts. Investors increased their contributions to the IRA last quarter, including the Roth IRA, resulting in record inflows into retail pension accounts, according to Fidelity. And contributions to workplace pension accounts, from both employees and their employers, remained stable.

In the second quarter, the average IRA balance sheet was $ 111,500, a jump of 13% from the previous quarter and slightly higher than the average balance sheet of $ 110,400 a year earlier. The average balance sheet of 401 (k) climbed to $ 104,400, an increase of 14% from the first three months of the year but 2% less than a year earlier.

“It’s not all darkness and doom during the pandemic,” says Katie Taylor, vice president of thought leadership at Fidelity Investments. “Really it’s really important to invest in your future, but it’s also important to make sure you have a cushion with an emergency account. Overall, most people are staying on course and have continued to save.”

Investors hold contributions

Stacy Hart, 59, is planning to retire next year. And the market downturn prompted her to spend more money on retirement accounts to help bed her eggs.

Hart, who lives in Prineville, Oregon, amassed shares during the market downturn in the spring, adhering to the strategy she used during the global financial crisis in 2008. During the downturn this year, she continued to maximize her company 401 (k) plan to take advantage of affordable stock, says Hart.

This year, her company allowed employees to take advantage of a “mega-back” Roth, where employees can contribute larger amounts after tax and convert the amounts into a Roth IRA. She then shifted her real estate assets to cash to have financial support in the event of another downturn.

“It’s easier to deal with stock market volatility if you have a back-up plan,” says Hart, a senior credit analyst at WaFd Bank, a national bank operating in eight Western countries.

Hart is not alone. Despite market volatility, pension savers did not withdraw from contributions. Almost 9 out of 10 individuals (88%) contributed to their 401 (k) in the second quarter, a slight decline from the previous record high of 89%.

Second quarter without inflow records to the IRA. Investors continued to use IRAs and other retail pension accounts, including simplified employee pensions, simple and refundable IRAs, as the extended tax season helped contribute a record $ 82.1 billion into these account until July.

Employers are being introduced, for now

Many employers continued to help with the retirement savings of their employees. More than three-quarters of workers received an employer contribution in the second quarter, with the average employer contribution reaching $ 1,080. And nearly 90% of employers continued to provide matching contributions despite the volatile business landscape.

However, more employers have begun suspending their matching contributions to accounts 401 (k) to save money and mitigate layoffs during pandemics and economic downturns.

Fidelity found that only 11% of employers eliminated or suspended their 401 (k) match in the previous quarter. Of those, 32% said they planned to restore their game next year, and 48% plan to restore it as soon as financially possible. Only 6% of employers indicated that they currently have no plans to reset their match.

Employers have typically stopped or eliminated matching contributions during previous recessions, including the 2008 financial crisis. But most of them restored their game within a year, according to Taylor.

“A company match is an coveted benefit when considering an employer,” says Taylor, adding that it is still in an employee’s best interest to raise money for the future, even if their employer does not currently have a company match. .

“If you have access to a 401 (k) company, even without a company match, it makes sense to take advantage of that benefit because you have the advantage of using dollars before taxes.”

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