How are Americans’ 401(k)s doing? Just check Twitter.
In what many will see as the latest sign of investor euphoria — and of our society’s oversharing epidemic — sharing your 401(k) balance on social media seems to have become a thing.
Meet a Reddit user going by the name “Subject—Beef.” He wrote that he has contributed $308,000 to his 401(k) since 1995, and posted a detailed rundown on his yearly contributions and resulting balance of $1,007,375.50.
“I strived to become a 401(k) millionaire someday, and this week, thanks to years of consistent savings and a long bull market, that goal has come to fruition, at the ripe age of 45,” the post reads.
Or, meet another Reddit poster “EquativeFib,” whose 401(k) account has $475,000 in it. He also shared that his total investments are worth $2.2 million.
With the Dow Jones Industrial Average
and the S&P 500 index
hitting record after record since President Trump’s election, the question “How’s your 401(k) doing?” has become a staple in his speeches at campaign-style rallies and fundraisers. And 401(k) balance shoutouts have become a staple among his supporters — and detractors — on Twitter
401k returns last year. Thanks #MAGA pic.twitter.com/hFlIBnNKC5
— StableGenius707 (@Gallucci707) January 19, 2018
Faced with evidence of incompetence, he says ‘check your 401K’. I did. Here are my results. In Trump’s first year, US stocks lose to International by 16%. The rally is international. Global. America is second. #FactsMatter pic.twitter.com/YEN2KlLioY
— geek writer (@thatgeekwriter) January 22, 2018
It’s worth noting, however, that for every person bragging about his or her fat retirement portfolio, there are hundreds more who have none at all. Only about 54 million American workers put money into a 401(k) plan in 2015, according to the Investment Company Institute, while 150 million were employed in that year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Sharing financial information on Twitter, Reddit and Facebook
may not be anything new — there are many pages on Reddit dedicated to traders crowing about their latest trades and finance-oriented groups on Facebook where people post their money questions, concerns and goals (MarketWatch’s Moneyist group being one of them).
But the outpouring of 401(k) celebrations comes at a time when many market watchers are wondering if investor euphoria is getting out of hand, and if average investors are ignoring the many warning flags and risk factors on the horizon.
Americans seemingly are feeling more confident in the economy than they have in years. Data out today show consumer spending climbed 0.4% in December, capping off the biggest increase in household buying since 2011. Soaring stock prices and the best labor market since the turn of the century is giving households confidence to spend more money.
Meanwhile, the savings rate has been on a steady decline for years, potentially indicating that Americans are spending beyond their means.
More people reportedly are willing to withdraw from their 401(k) accounts as much as $20,000 to $40,000 to fund dream vacations or home improvements, according to the Washington Post. Of course, most financial advisers strongly recommend against taking a loan out on your 401(k). By some estimates, someone in his or her 20s borrowing $10,000 today could end up losing $380,000 (or $2,000 a month) in retirement.