Cash Balance Retirement Plan Market Soars 32% While 401(k) Growth Slows

Tax deferral and the need to catch up on retirement savings drive record-setting growth, more than doubling industry projections

LOS ANGELES--()--Kravitz today released the 2015 National Cash Balance Research Report, showing a 32% increase in new plans for the most recent year. The number of new Cash Balance plans continues to far outpace other sectors of the retirement plan market. In contrast, the number of new 401(k) plans increased just 3% despite positive economic trends and steady job growth.

There were 12,721 Cash Balance plans active in 2013, the most recent year for which complete IRS reporting data is available. This 32% year-over-year increase more than doubled industry projections of 15% growth. Cash Balance plans continue rapidly replacing traditional defined benefit plans; they now make up 28% of all defined benefit plans compared with just 2.9% in 2001.

“For business owners seeking to maximize tax deferral and catch up on delayed retirement savings, Cash Balance plans are an excellent fit,” said Dan Kravitz, President of Kravitz. “These plans are also very appealing to employees, and often help companies attract top talent in today’s highly competitive hiring market.”

Also known as “hybrid” plans, Cash Balance plans combine the high contribution limits of traditional defined benefit plans with the flexibility and portability of a 401(k).

Key findings from the 2015 National Cash Balance Research Report:

  • Small businesses drive Cash Balance growth: 89% of Cash Balance Plans are in place at firms with fewer than 100 employees.
  • Cash Balance assets approaching $1 trillion: companies contributed $35.8 billion to Cash Balance plans in the most recent year, for a total of $952B in Cash Balance assets nationwide.
  • Companies more than double contributions to employee retirement savings when adding a Cash Balance plan: the average employer contribution to staff retirement accounts is 6.3% of pay in companies with both Cash Balance and 401(k) plans, versus 2.8% of pay in firms with 401(k) alone.
  • Recent IRS Cash Balance regulations allowing broader investment options are driving growth: the ‘Actual Rate of Return’ option and other new investment choices approved in the 2010 and 2014 Cash Balance regulations are making Cash Balance plans even more popular.
  • Regional concentration: California and New York account for 23% of all new Cash Balance plans followed closely by Illinois and Ohio. Minnesota is a new regional powerhouse with close to 50% year-over-year growth in new plans.

These and many other highlights of the 2015 National Cash Balance Research Report will be discussed in an upcoming Cash Balance Outlook 2015 webinar led by Dan Kravitz on Thursday, September 17 at 10 a.m. Pacific. Registration is free and open to anyone interested in learning more about Cash Balance Plans.

Download the 2015 National Cash Balance Research Report:

Register for the Cash Balance Outlook 2015 webinar:

For more information, call Dan Kravitz at 818-379-6162 and visit

About Kravitz: Since 1977, Kravitz has brought its clients the latest in design, administration, and management of corporate retirement plans. The company designed its first Cash Balance Plan in 1989. Today Kravitz administers over 1,200 plans, including more than 550 Cash Balance Plans, helping over 150,000 people retire successfully. Headquartered in Los Angeles, Kravitz has offices in New York and Chicago with satellite offices in 11 other states. Visit


Kravitz Inc.
Daniel Kravitz, President

Release Summary

Kravitz released the 2015 National Cash Balance Research Report, showing a 32% increase in new Cash Balance retirement plans for the most recent year, far outpacing 401(k) plans.


Kravitz Inc.
Daniel Kravitz, President