Looking To Retire? Here Is What Inflation Has Done To Your 401(k)

(Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Daily Caller News Foundation logo
Will Kessler Contributor
Font Size:

Americans’ retirement savings have been hit hard by sky-high inflation under President Joe Biden, culminating in thousands of dollars in losses per person, according to a new report from the Committee to Unleash Prosperity.

When both declining real stock indexes and high inflation are taken into account, the value of Americans’ 401(k)s declined on average $33,200 in real terms, or 24.8%, since Biden took office in January 2021, according to the report. The losses follow declines in real purchasing power due to high inflation, which has also led to inflation-adjusted losses in major stock indexes that 401(k)s are tied to. (RELATED: Biden Pours Billions Of Taxpayer Dollars Into California’s Floundering High-Speed Rail Project)

The average 401(k) retirement plan, owing to real stock declines, has lost around $17,000 since Biden first took office in January 2021, or 12.7%, equating to losses of around $1 trillion cumulatively for Americans when accounting for additional investment, according to the report. From the first quarter of 2021 to the third quarter of 2023, the major stock indexes DIJA, NASDAQ and S&P500 have declined 12.5%, 3.1% and 7.0%, respectively, in inflation-adjusted terms.

Inflation reached a peak under the Biden administration in June 2022 at 9.1% year-over-year, slowly decelerating to its current yearly gain of 3.2% for October, far higher than the Fed’s 2% target. Americans’ 401(k)s have lost around $16,200 since Biden took office, just from inflation-linked depreciation.

The amount in pension funds for Americans increased by $500 billion since Biden first took office, but due to inflation, it has declined 12.1% in real terms, equating to around a $3.3 trillion loss, according to the report. Retirement accounts relying on bond markets are especially hard hit, following exceptionably poor performance under Biden, particularly in 2022, which was the worst year for bonds since 1928.

Americans’ savings overall have taken a hit following the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a recent decline in consumer spending, which accounts for around 70% of gross domestic product. Americans collectively held $768.6 billion in savings in October, less than the over $1 trillion held in May and even further from the nearly $6 trillion Americans held in April 2020.

The rate at which Americans are pulling prematurely from their retirement savings has also seen a recent spike, with Bank of America reporting a 36% increase year-over-year in hardship withdrawals for 401(k) plans, according to the report. Vanguard noted an all-time high in the withdrawals as well.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact