IRA owners don't play around

Most are very serious about having a thorough retirement plan

Individual Retirement Account (IRA) owners handle their nest eggs with care. In fact, they have detailed strategies that include such things as setting aside emergency funds, developing a retirement income plan, reviewing insurance policies, determining retirement expenses and determining when to take Social Security. That's according to the Investment Company Insitutute's new report, "The Role of IRAs in U.S. Households' Saving for Retirement, 2013."

The study says many IRA owners (63 percent) seek help from a financial advisor when creating such a strategy. “Our research consistently finds that IRA owners are good stewards of their money, building substantial financial assets,” said Sarah Holden, ICI’s senior director of retirement and investor research. “This study highlights the thoughtful and thorough approach that IRA-owning households take in preparing for their retirement. They are making informed decisions and are typically making retirement-related withdrawals.”

The report also found:

  • As of May 2013, 46.1 million households own IRAs, with IRA assets accounting for one-third of their household financial assets;
  • Among households with rollovers in their traditional IRAs, 85 percent indicated that they had rolled over the entire retirement plan balance in their most recent rollover;
  • With $5.7 trillion in assets, IRAs accounted for more than one-quarter of all U.S. retirement assets in the second quarter of 2013.
As for the use of retirement money, the study found that IRA withdrawals continued to be largely retirement-related and infrequent. More than three-quarters of the households that reported withdrawals also reported that someone in the household was retired. 
And though IRAs remain a viable tool for retirement funding, only 15 percent of U.S. households contributed to any IRA in 2012, down from 16 percent in 2011. 

About the Author
Emily Holbrook

Emily Holbrook

Emily Holbrook is the Executive Managing Editor for National Underwriter Life & Health and Markets Channel Editor for Emily has covered the financial, risk management and insurance industries for more than a decade, with her work appearing in Risk Management and the National Law Review. She graduated with dual degrees in Finance and English and worked in the financial industry as a fixed income trading administrator and analyst before becoming a writer. Emily is also a freelance food writer. She can be reached at or on Twitter @LHPro_Emily.

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