90+ k for average 401k?

pretty surprising. I was expecting it to be lower

For the record, that's a Fidelity report showing the average balance of 401(k)s held by Fidelity, not some government report of

*all *401(k)s.

It's interesting to compare

to Vanguard.

- The average Vanguard 401(k) is $101,650 vs. Fidelity's $91,300 (and Vanguard's numbers are a year older than Fidelity's, so the gap is likely even larger now)

- But the average Vanguard 401(k)

*yearly contribution* is only $8,327 vs. Fidelity's $9,670.

Could those four simple data points be the most-complete evidence ever of the superiority of Vanguard's low-cost approach? End up with more, even if you contribute less?

Maybe there are simple demographic reasons that explain the difference (perhaps Vanguard's clientele skews older), but it's more fun to assume that it's just Vanguard kickin' ass!

For further evidence of Vanguard's ass-kicking, they are nice enough to provide both the mean average AND the median average 401(k) balance. The median is $31,396, significantly lower than the mean, as expected.

And yeah, sorry johnny, you're gonna lose this one. "median average" is totally valid, and while not necessary ("median" would have sufficed) I appreciate the extra bit of language precision. Particularly since, as galliver points out, definitional precision is rather important to this particular discussion. Think about it, if "average" was sufficient to refer to "arithmetic mean" and only "arithmetic mean", then why do we even have the word "mean"?