How America Saves 2021

Fearless decisions. Better outcomes.

The research you need to make decisions that support your participants' most aspirational retirement visions.

Real data powered by

40 Years

of retirement plan experience

Real data powered by

20 Years

of How America Saves

4.7 Million

participants achieving real results

Data integrity that empowers

You can only trust data when you know for certain it’s deep, transparent, and thorough. Because it’s real.

Get inspired about the decisions you make to help your people and business experience better outcomes.

For 20 years, How America Saves has reflected the reality of what’s possible in retirement investing. Our 2021 analysis delivers unbiased participant data derived from 1,700 plans and nearly 4.7 million participants, revealing progress over time.

After all, it’s all about helping participants achieve their retirement vision.

Meet the experts

Meet Jeff as he shares how the research data is shaping his take on how to improve participants' outcomes.

As the lead author of How America Saves, Jeff brings a wealth of experience in effective retirement plan design and participant behavior analysis.

Watch our latest webcast to see what our top retirement experts have to say about emerging retirement plan trends.

Jeff Clark

​Lead author of 

How America Saves 2021

How America Saves: 20 years of retirement plan progress

Explore the shifts and innovations that have helped our plan sponsors achieve higher participation rates, better asset allocation, and greater access to financial advice.

2021 Top insights


Moving beyond enrollment to boost retirement saving

Incorporate automatic retirement plan features beyond automatic enrollment—already used by a majority of plans—to increase the likelihood participants will achieve retirement financial well-being.

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64% of retirement plans with 1,000+ participants offer managed account advice


growth in the past 6 years.


Delivering value in calm and troubled waters

Consider an advice option to help participants find retirement savings and spending success, regardless of market conditions, through portfolio, financial, and emotional value.

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Providing a home to help set participants up for success

Make your plan a retirement destination. Give participants a chance to achieve better retirement outcomes by staying in the plan and help them avoid the pitfalls of going at it alone.

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Finding the right balance

Review your plan’s loan and withdrawal strategies, taking care to understand the trade-offs that come with access to retirement savings.

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Insights to Action

How America Saves has been influencing retirement plan design for 20 years. And we can say proudly and definitively that 401(k) plans are designed better today than ever before. Our Insights to Action supplement translates undeniably trustworthy data into a clear path forward to better plan design.

Real data.

Real industry stories.

Plan design is complex work, but it’s important. The good news is you never need to go at it alone. We’re sharing our expertise and data across industries to give you the confidence to design better plans for your people.

Uplifting financial well-being for over 40 years

Research that spreads financial well-being.

You care deeply about financial well-being for your participants. So do we.

That’s why we’ve committed to publishing How America Saves for more than 20 years—purely unbiased research based on real plan data.

We’re proud to promote progress for plan design and the financial health of both people and business.

Press inquiries

How America Saves is a trusted source for comprehensive retirement plan data. Contact our PR team to speak directly with an expert.

Unless otherwise noted, all data comes from Vanguard, as of December 31, 2020, as reported in How America Saves 2021.

 All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest. Advice services are provided by Vanguard Advisers, Inc., a registered investment advisor, or by Vanguard National Trust Company, a federally chartered, limited-purpose trust company.