Skip to content

2018 Universe Benchmarks Highlights

Highlights from the 2018 Universe Benchmarks Report.

Average plan balances hit record highs, assisted by strong market returns and increased contributions.

The average plan balance grew 14% in 2017.


year-end 2017 average plan balance.


Among workers participating for at least two years, average balances up nearly 50%.

Auto enrollment continues to drive up participation rates.


average participation rate in 2017


participation rate for plans with auto enrollment


participation rate for plans without auto enrollment

Average savings rates increased.


Average savings rate in 2016


Average savings rate in 2017


Nearly one-quarter of all participants are enrolled in automatic contribution escalation.

Participants reaped the benefits of a strong year on Wall Street.


was the average return on investments in 2017

1 in 3

participants had a rate of return of 20% or more

Target date funds are widely (mis)used.


participants invested in target date funds when available


of target date fund users were also invested in other funds

Related Insights

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: February 2023 Observations

February was another light trading month for 401(k) investors, according to the Alight 401(k) Index™.

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™

Monthly and quarterly Alight Solutions 401(k) Index Reports

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: Fourth Quarter 2022 Observations

401(k) plan investors were light traders in the final quarter of 2022