John Hugh DeMastri on October 17, 2022
Pension plans and 401(k)s are forecasted to take trillions in losses this year, with their purchasing power hit further by the impact of inflation, according to estimates from Heritage Foundation economists.
The average 401(k) plan held roughly $135,000 at the start of 2022 but has since decayed to around $101,000 according to economists Stephen Moore and E.J. Antoni, who first published these estimates in a New York Post op-ed. The pair estimate that pension plans have lost roughly $4 trillion in assets year-to-date, declining from $27.8 trillion in assets to just under $24 trillion for a roughly 15% decline in overall value.
Deficit spending “has caused the current inflation which in turn is prompting the Fed to raise rates hard and fast,” said Antoni in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “That is putting the market into a tailspin.”
The economists’ estimates for 401(k) plans closely mirrored the results reported by investment firm Fidelity, which reported a roughly 20% decline from $131,000 at the start of the year to $104,000 at the midpoint of 2022. Over the same time frame, pension assets have declined from $27.8 trillion to $26.3 trillion, a roughly 5.5% decline, the Federal Reserve reported September.
The estimate comes as inflation continued to beat investor expectations in September at 8.2% year-on-year, more than four times the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. Food prices remained significantly elevated, growing 0.8% on a monthly basis from August, and 11.2% on a yearly basis.
Americans are $4,200 poorer today than when Biden took office.
And if this hit to your monthly budget isn’t enough, now you have to consider another 12.7% loss in buying power with the rise in prices of all good.
— Heritage Foundation (@Heritage) October 11, 2022
The pinch has resulted in the effective purchasing power of a typical $101,000 401(k) to fall to approximately $96,000, Moore and Antoni estimated. The impacts of inflation have also been seen in consumer spending, which fell relative to inflation in September.
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