Alongside the fast-diminishing defined benefit pension system and the financially shaky Social Security program, the essential third leg on the proverbial "retirement stool" in the United States is made up of defined contribution plans — among which the 401(k) stands out as by far the largest and most widely adopted plan type.

In fact, as noted in a big new 401(k) plan benchmarking report published by Judy Diamond, total assets held in 401(k) plans now stand near $7 trillion, while the 403(b) market only passed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2021.

Judy Diamond, a business unit of BenefitsPro's parent company, ALM, annually refreshes its industry rankings of employer-sponsored plans through an examination of every active 401(k) plan in the country. The goal of this research is to provide an objective, data-oriented view of different industries, how their collective 401(k) plans are performing, and how that compares to other industry groupings.

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John Manganaro

John Manganaro is a senior reporter for ThinkAdvisor. His coverage focuses on all things retirement, with a special emphasis on the perspective of financial planning professionals and family wealth managers. Before joining ThinkAdvisor in 2022, John was a reporter and editor at PLANADVISER Magazine, and earlier in his career his coverage of the Pennsylvania Legislature regularly appeared in premier metropolitan newspapers including the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. He can be reached via at [email protected], on X at @manganaro_news, and on LinkedIn at