How America Saves 2019: The retirement savings behavior of 5 million participants

June 11, 2019

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The 18th edition of How America Saves delivers a comprehensive analysis of the retirement savings behavior of 5 million participants in about 1,900 defined contribution (DC) retirement plans for which Vanguard provides recordkeeping services. Our data-rich report examines trends in how participants accumulate, manage, and access retirement savings.

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2019 edition highlights

  • Six of 10 Vanguard participants were invested in a professionally managed allocation at year-end 2018. The growing use of target-date funds continues to drive this trend.
  • In 2018, 9 of 10 plan sponsors offered target-date funds, covering 97% of participants in plans offering target-date funds. 52% of all Vanguard participants were invested in a single target-date fund.
  • At year-end 2018, 48% of Vanguard plans had adopted automatic enrollment and 61% of new plan entrants were enrolled via automatic enrollment.

Benchmarking by industry

With our Retirement Plan Comparison Tool, you can benchmark your plan against others in your industry using the data from How America Saves.

Our industry benchmark reports compare plans in eight industries with others in their category, as well as to the entire population of plans recordkept by Vanguard.

Ambulatory health care services
Architecture and engineering
Finance and insurance
Information firms
Legal services
Mining, oil, and gas extraction


  • All investments are subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.
  • Investments in target-date funds are subject to the risks of their underlying funds. The year in the fund name refers to the approximate year (the target date) when an investor in the fund would retire and leave the workforce. The fund will gradually shift its emphasis from more aggressive investments to more conservative ones based on its target date. An investment in target-date funds is not guaranteed at any time, including on or after the target date.