Are 401k Millionaires Declining Right Now? | 701

MORI 701 | 401k Millionaires


There were over 400,000 401(k) accounts with at least $1 million in them in 2021. Where does that number stand today? What does this mean for YOU? Chris Miles digs deeper into the main issue with 401(k)s, which statistics you should be most worried about, and how you can more assuredly become a financially independent millionaire. Chris emphasizes the value of having a passive income to change your life with freedom. Together, let’s create that ripple effect in our lives. Tune in to Money Ripples with Chris Miles today.

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Are 401k Millionaires Declining Right Now?

Thank you so much for tuning in. Can you believe that this has been over 700 episodes now? We are now going into our ninth season. Congratulations and thank you for being with us. I know some of you guys have been with us since pretty much the beginning. I appreciate you tuning in. I appreciate you sharing. I love it if you do me a favor here. If you would go to iTunes, go ahead and give us a five-star review. I hope it’s five stars. If it’s not five stars, I’ll take a four but give us a five-star review if you wouldn’t, and share this with 1 or 2 friends. Please don’t keep us a secret. This ripple effect cannot happen without the help of you guys.

Most importantly, it’s not only about you sharing this with other people, but about you taking this stuff, implementing it, and putting it into action so that your life becomes better. There’s no better way for us to have a great billboard than for you guys to live the life that you love, to have a life of freedom, and prosperity because that is exactly why we created Money Ripples in the first place.

Now, if you haven’t done so already, I got to share this with you. If you haven’t noticed, we have been living under a rock. It’s no surprise that the stock market got hit a little bit last year in 2022. In February of this year, there happened to be an article coming out from Fidelity. Fidelity came out with their studies about how many 401(k) millionaires are there. The number has surprisingly or not so surprisingly decreased. It’s calmed down.

Fidelity came up with their studies about how many 401(k) millionaires are there, and it's decreased and gone down. Click To Tweet

Yahoo Finance Bloomberg

I want to share this article with you guys here. I’m pulling this one up from Yahoo Finance and Bloomberg. The hard thing is sometimes it times out. I want to be able to share something that won’t time out on me because I don’t have a subscription to Bloomberg, but here you go. “America’s 401(k) millionaires are those that have at least $1 million in 401(k) according to Fidelity, who controls most of the 401(k)s out there. Those that don’t have at least $1 million fell 32% last year to 299,000 from 442,000 in 2021. There are now less than 300,000 401(k) millionaires.”

I don’t know if it says the exact number here of how many total 401(k) accounts there are, but I would bet that there are probably more than 299,000 Baby Boomers, at least. Maybe even Generation X-ers like myself who are packing money in these 401(k)s or maybe max-funding and getting the match. They should easily be $1 million by now. What’s going on here? The average 401(k) balance tumbled 20.5% in 2022.

I want you guys to think about this because 401(k) balances are still growing. Many of these people are still putting money in, yet it tumbled over 20%. The stock market, the S&P 500, however, did not fall that far. It was pretty darn close to 20%, but it was slightly under. What this means is that, as I’ve said for many years, 401(k)s, because of excessive fees and because they are mutual funds for the most part, don’t even do as well as the stock market.

Guess what’s happening? They’re falling more. They earn less when it’s going up and they earn less. It falls farther when it goes down. That is something very important to remember. That is a big deal. It even says the average balance right here. The nest egg or the average balance is now $103,900. More importantly, what’s the median balance? The average balance can go anywhere from zero to millions. The average balance is not a good measurement.

The median is the middle person. For example, you have seven people in a row. You pick the fourth person, the person right in the middle. That’s better because what if the average is $100 for the first four people and then $50 for the fifth one and then $20 each for the 6th and 7th? The median person would be $100, in that case, but then it would be skewed even though the average would be less than $100.

It’s the same thing here. It does the opposite. There are a lot more extremes on that side. There are no negative numbers here. Looking at that here, we know that about $100,000 is the average nest egg for the employees. They talk about it. Is it achievable? Investors say they’ll still need at least $3 million. This is not too far off from the truth. Remember, I have taught for many years that you can only live on 3% in retirement and not the 4% rule. That’s gone. Erase that from your memories as an antiquated, old dumb number that doesn’t work.

With $3 million, 3% is $90,000 a year. That’s pretty much what most will say you need to have. That’s not far off from the truth. They think they still need to somehow figure this out. They have to somehow achieve this. Go into this on what it takes to achieve it. They do talk about anxieties on the rise. Experts say that one study said they need $1.25 million for a comfortable retirement and that’s a jump up from 2021 all because of inflation.

Inflation Gone Up

Here’s the thing that’s interesting. I want to talk about this right here. There are still more millionaires than in 2019. There were only 233,000 accounts in 2019. Granted, inflation has gone up. This is the point to remember. As inflation keeps increasing, will having $1 million mean anything? Probably not so much. Here’s what is fascinating too. Stashing away $1 million or more in a 401(k) plan is rare. They’re acknowledging this is rare.

Only about 1.4% of 401(k) accounts had more than $1 million of assets at the end of 2022. I want to ask you. Right now, the youngest Baby Boomer is 58 years old. The oldest Baby Boomer is about where my mom is. They are about 78 years old. Between about 58 and 78 years old are Baby Boomers. This is pretty much the bulk of retirement age. What percentage of Baby Boomers are in the population?

I’m not giving you an exact number here, but we do know that there are more than 70 million Baby Boomers. There’s also about the same number of Millennials. Generation X-ers, we’re a smaller breed. We only got about 30 million of us. Again, we’re doing the math here. There are prime lifers that aren’t counted in here, people who are born during or before World War II. We’ve got all the new kids who have been born right now. Needless to say, we probably have 75 million to 80 million Baby Boomers, especially if you have immigrants or people coming into this country.

How about the total population? There are over 300 million Americans. You would think that there would be a better number than 1.4%. Does this mean that Baby Boomers aren’t saving at all? Does this mean that only a few, the proud, or a couple of Baby Boomers? If we would put in this standpoint, maybe 5% of Baby Boomers, does that mean that they’re the only ones saving? In the 1.4%, the majority should be Baby Boomers because they have more time to save.

Should we be seeing this number being closer to at least 20%? Shouldn’t that be the case and especially, when they all talk about IRA counts? They say that also there had been a decline in IRA counts. It’s no shocker. There are only 280,000 of those, which is less than the 401(k)s. There are 299,000 401(k)s and 280,000 IRAs but still, that’s down a lot.

Let’s look at the numbers here. We’ll start with the principal. I’m going to put this at a 10% interest rate because I even heard a financial advisor say, “With dividends reinvested, you should be getting at least 10% in the stock market after 30 years.” I know people have been working 40, but I want to go based on 401(k). Just so you know, the 401(k) started in 1984 for the average American.

I have had clients that have had their 401(k) accounts from around the end of ’84 to the beginning of 1985. Do the math. That is just about 40 years. I’m going to go only looking at 30 years just to say that most people didn’t start doing this until the ’90s, but we should have a lot of people in the ’90s saving up. Let’s say not the max. I know people are putting in the max of $20,000-plus a year and getting the match. They might even be getting $25,000 to $30,000 a year going to their 401(k) accounts.

Let’s say with the match, you only put in $10,000 a year total. This is the average over the last 30 years. $10,000 with your employer match. There are many times people matched up to 100% up to a certain percentage. $10,000 is not too unbelievable. This is about $800 a month, $10,000 a year. There should be plenty of people in the middle class who have saved right around this amount. At 10% for 30 years, you should have $1.8 million.

They’re saying about 1.4% of accounts ever hit over $1 million. I’m sure more than 1.4% of the population has been saving for at least 30 years. What if I brought it down to $6,000 a year? That’s only $500 a month. I remember even twenty-plus years ago with a financial advisor, $500 a month wasn’t too uncommon in a 401(k). That’s somewhere saving more. You still had $1 million. You should have done it here.

“Here’s the number with the match.” $5,600 per year is $1 million if you’re getting 10%, but what if you weren’t getting 10% with all those fees and everything else you were getting? Let’s say you only got 7%. That 3% made a difference. They cut it about half, didn’t they? What does that mean? That means we’ve got to do more than that. That means going back up to $10,000 a year, you’re back up over $1 million.

What if you weren’t getting 7%? What if you’re only getting 6%? That changes things, doesn’t it? We are not quite $1 million again. Do you guys see the problem here? We have been promised. We’ve had financial advisors running 10% or 12%. “At 12%, you should have $2.7 million, not $800,000.” I didn’t even cut the interest rate by half. It cuts it to 25% of that number. That’s the miracle of compounding interest against you. If you don’t get a certain rate of return, you have compounding interest not helping you.

Compounding Interest Against You

You get a compounding less return than what you’re thinking. It’s not just cut in half. You only earned 6%. 12% is $2.7 million and 6% is $838,000. That’s roughly about 30% of that money even though it was half the interest rate. It’s a big deal. It’s not 50%. It doesn’t mean you had $1.35 million. You’re having roughly about $500,000 less than that. Every percentage counts when it comes to this compounding interest over time.

MORI 701 | 401k Millionaires
401k Millionaires: Every percentage counts when it comes to this compounding interest over time.


They teach you this. They tell you that the miracle of compounding interest is the eighth wonder of the world. If you’re not getting compounding interest, it’s not a wonder, is it? It’s a travesty. It’s horrible. This is the thing that I want to dive into here and emphasize. This won’t be the last you hear about it. There will be more millionaires guaranteed. You will hear about more and more millionaires. This number will go up in time. It might go lower.

It’s very possible that the stock market could go down in 2023. It could go down in 2024. We might not see an improvement until 2025. What happens then? You start to see people come back up but with inflation still increasing and it’s going to keep increasing. If inflation keeps going up, will that $1 million mean anything? We start seeing articles of people saying, “You’re a millionaire, but you don’t need $3 million as they’re saying to be comfortable. You need $5 million now.

That’s possible. That could happen in the next 5 or 10 years when they’ll say, “$5 million is what you need.” That target keeps moving and what ends up happening is you end up being like this Dalmatian chasing a firetruck, always chasing and barking after it. You never get to your goals. All you do is wear yourself out silly. You are the one that suffers, not Fidelity, not the financial advisor that sold you on this crap, or the 401(k) or benefits specialist in HR. You are the casualty here. You are the one that’s at risk.

I’ve told you this for years now and I might sound like a crazy person because I’ve been saying it for years, but it’s still true. I’ve been saying that more and more you’re going to start seeing articles coming out talking about Baby Boomers not making it to retirement, not saving up enough, and then who is it they’re going to blame? Is it the financial advisors? Maybe. Are they going to blame the savers? They go, “You just didn’t save enough. You should have saved enough in the beginning. Even though with inflation, it was harder to save that much. That’s not a whole lot of money. $10,000 a year is not so bad. It was 30 years ago. It wasn’t that easy, was it?”


This is my point. Here’s an article from GoBankingRates. It says, “It will take a miracle to achieve a secure retirement.” It says, “Even millionaires are feeling the pinch of inflation and becoming increasingly uncertain about the economic landscape.” It says, “According to a new Natixis Investment Managers survey, 35% of millionaires say, ‘It will take a miracle to achieve a secure retirement, which is nearly as much as overall investors at 40%. One key reason may be that the million-dollar mark may not be as significant as it once was.’”

I talked about inflation. $1 million is not the same. It says, “The survey noted that 58% of high-net-worth individuals said they accept that they will have to keep working longer than they planned, which underscores one of the key problems of retirement planning, the unpredictability.” Here’s what’s crazy. Read these numbers. “What’s more, 36% worry retirement may not even be an option.” Could you ever imagine yourself becoming a millionaire and saying retirement will never be an option for you? Think about that.

Over one-third of millionaires say that retirement is not an option. Forty-two percent are so worried about retirement security that they avoid thinking about it. Almost half don’t even want to think about their financial security. They ignore it. Thirty-eight percent say it will be hard to make ends meet without public benefits like Social Security and a whopping 75% believe that because of high levels of public debt, they will get lower payments from the public, and lower Social Security.

MORI 701 | 401k Millionaires
401k Millionaires: Over one-third of millionaires say that retirement is not an option. 42% are so worried about retirement security that they avoid thinking about it.


We’ve heard this before. This is not the first time we’ve heard about this concern. People are worried about Social Security not being the same. This is why people are taken from Social Security sooner because they say, “I’m going to take it at 62.” What if it’s not there when I’m 67 years old? What if it cuts back my benefits? Even though they promised me more, what if they have to cut back? These were very real worries.

These are the worries that we have been hearing for years and now, we have to keep having surveys to say the same thing that you have been saying to us. I guarantee that many of these millionaires aren’t necessarily millionaires because of money sitting in investment accounts. They probably have equity in their homes. Once again, trapped, locked up in prison. They have 401(k) or IRA monies trapped, locked up in prison. It’s money they can’t access and use. It’s money that doesn’t equate to a better quality of life.

Now, if they start pulling out from some of these retirement accounts, will it be enough? Remember taking out 3% a year even if you have $500,000 equity in your house, 3% is only $15,000 a year. You need Social Security to even have a middle-class lifestyle barely. That’s not counting for inflation. Think about this. This is the reality now. Do you think it’s going to get any better? No, it’s not because still people have been teaching the lies. People like I used to be, financial advisors.

It’s not that I’m saying financial advisors are liars, but we’ve been giving false assumptions for so many years and yet, we don’t have to be held accountable for it because it’s only using numbers. It’s the reality, but are they really? Just because the stock market does one thing, it doesn’t mean you get the other. What I love is that when we get some of you guys that are millionaires, you come and say, “We’ve got $500,000 to invest. Can you do anything with it because I don’t want to live on $15,000 a year?”

Do you know we can take $500,000? There are no guarantees, of course. There’s always a risk and we’re not investment advisors, but it’s not impossible even with deals out there now in the real estate world. There are various types of real estate that aren’t dependent upon values going up or down. There are different types of investments you can do that pay you about 10% a year.

That’s not too good to be true. I’m being conservative. There are some that pay higher, but again, I know it’s hard to believe. If you get paid 10% a year on $500,000, you’re making $50,000 a year. Depending on where it’s invested, you might even keep more of it because you might have some tax benefits there along the way as well.

That’s very possible. If you have $250,000, 3% of that is $7,500 a year, but $250,000 making 10% is 25,000 a year. Maybe you’re not ready to retire yet, but what if you reinvest that? Now, you’ve got $25,000 a year coming in you can add to that $250,000. What if that adds another 10%? That’s $2,500 more a year. You’re at $27,500. You can keep that growing and going. There are some ways it can grow by more, as I said, than 10%.

We’ve had many investment properties grow by much more than 10% a year. If you factor in equity gains, both from paying down the mortgage and appreciation, if you factor in the cash-and-cash returns, even that alone sometimes gets you at least 10%. There are so many ways to make more money than the stock market. When you look at the stock market, it sounds ridiculous. Yet, why are the majority still doing this even though the numbers are proving it?

Again and again, they are proving to me that people aren’t getting what they thought they would get. They’re not putting into that financial calculator like I showed you earlier and getting a better return. That’s not happening. What’s happening is they are not retiring and it’s costing them their livelihood, peace of mind, and freedom. You should not be in that category at all.

This is why Money Ripples exist. We want you to create that ripple effect. We love when we have stories of our clients saying, “I’m work-optional. I’m on my way to being work-optional.” At least, they know they have more to count on than only that little retirement account that’s pretty much guaranteed that you won’t have the lifestyle that you want. You’ll not get the freedom you deserve.

If even millionaires are saying that they’re concerned, you should be too. If you’re one of those millionaires, you need to be talking to us right now. You need to be setting up an appointment. Reach out to us at Even if you’re not a millionaire, even if you have at least a few hundred thousand dollars of money that you know you could be doing something better with than what it’s doing right now, reach out to us.

Again, if this is in your 401(k), don’t reach out to us. We can’t do anything if it’s stuck in your company’s 401(k). If you got old 401(k)s, IRA money, and things like that, or equity in your home, in some cases, it could be worth using still. I have a client right now. I showed her how by refinancing her mortgage. Even at a higher interest rate, she still makes an extra $10,000 a year in passive income with no money invested.

There are ways to do it. Make it work, but if you’ve got cash sitting around doing nothing, even if it’s sitting in life insurance, we should talk. If you’ve got money sitting in savings, we should talk. If you’ve got money sitting in old IRAs or old 401(k)s, we should talk. If you’re going to be changing jobs soon or just changed jobs and you had a 401(k) with that employer, this might be your opportunity to find ways to use that and leverage it to be able to grow and make more with it where you can self-direct your IRA and get it in your control.

There are ways to do that. If that is you, if you’re in that situation, please reach out to us at to see how we can start changing you and your family’s life. Creating a new legacy and a new impactful story that’s not one of doom and gloom for millionaires, but one of hope and freedom. Those are the stories we bring to you just like the stories you’ve heard lately.

These are the stories we’re bringing to you and we intend by 2030 to have more of you in this place where you could say, “We’ve been there. We’ve done it. We’ve proven it.” We want at least 1,000 of you financially independent by 2030. That is why I’m here. That is why I’m working so dang hard. That’s why we’ve done over 700 episodes to help and serve you because we know this can be done.

If there are 1,000 people financially free, think of the ripple effect that’ll have on our economy, on our families, our communities, and across the world where you are free to serve and use the blessings you’ve been given by God. I believe that because I believe you have God-given talents and abilities to share with the world.

If there are a thousand people financially free, think of the ripple effect it will have on our economy, families, communities, and the world where you can be free to serve and use the blessings you have from God. Click To Tweet

You’re probably not using it to the fullest because you are trapped financially in survival mode or thriving with a great income, but you’re not at the point where you have time freedom either. You can have it all. It’s not a too-good-to-be-true scenario. It’s reality. I’ve lived it. I have clients that lived it. It’s time for you to live the same. Go and make it a wonderful and prosperous week so you can make it a prosperous life by taking action now. Make it a great day.


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