The median retirement account balance in a typical American working-age household dropped to $2,500 in 2014, down from $3,000 in the previous year, according to a study from the National Institute on Retirement Security. 

The insitute said that, by its calculation, nearly 40 million households have no retirement savings. At the same time, the value of 401(k) retirement savings accounts and IRAs hit a record high of $11.3 trillion at the end of 2013.

The news is perhaps most dire for those closest to retirement: median retirement account balances for pre-retirees was $14,500, with 62 percent of Americans aged 55 to 64 having saved less than one year of their annual income, it said.

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Nick Thornton

Nick Thornton is a financial writer covering retirement and health care issues for BenefitsPRO and ALM Media. He greatly enjoys learning from the vast minds in the legal, academic, advisory and money management communities when covering the retirement space. He's also written on international marketing trends, financial institution risk management, defense and energy issues, the restaurant industry in New York City, surfing, cigars, rum, travel, and fishing. When not writing, he's pushing into some land or water.