The Standard & Poor's 500 Index has returned more than 200 percent since March 2009, the start of what's now the second-longest bull run in history.
Yet retirement savers and mom-and-pop investors haven't seen such big gains. While 401(k) plan balances have bounced back since their lows seven years ago, most Americans still fall woefully short of the savings they'll need to last them through retirement.
Back in 2007, people in their 60s had average 401(k) balances of about $120,000. That figure plunged to about $90,000 in early 2009, and climbed back to more than $150,000 by the end of 2015, according to data from Fidelity. For most, that's still significantly short of the recommended account balance for people on the brink of retirement: Eight to ten times your final salary.
"Frankly, if you have only about $100,000, you aren't going to be able to retire," said Brooklyn, N.Y.-based financial planner Mark Sallinger. "While some expenses will wane, and you might no longer have kids or a mortgage to pay for, health and medical costs are going through the roof."
Indeed, although Americans of all ages have seen their retirement accounts recover since the financial crisis, average balances suggest even younger people are behind on reaching the recommended targets of one times salary by age 30 and three times salary by age 40.