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Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: December 2021 Observations

December continued 2021’s trend of light trading among 401(k) investors, according to the Alight Solutions 401(k) IndexTM. On average, 0.01% of balances were traded daily—in line with the monthly average for the past year.  Over 80% of days saw investors favoring fixed income over equity.

December observations:

  • On average, 0.01% of 401(k) balances were traded daily.
  • 18 of 22 days favored fixed income funds.

The Alight Solutions 401(k) Index statistics for the month of December:

Index statistics


2021 YTD

Total transfers as percentage of starting balance



# Fixed days

18 (82%)

137 (54%)

# Equity days

4 (18%)

115 (46%)

# Above-normal days1



Inflows and outflows during the month of December:

  • Trading inflows mainly went to stable value, bond, and money market funds.
  • Outflows were primarily from target date2, company stock, and large U.S. equity funds.

Asset classes with most trading inflows in December

Percentage of inflows 

Index dollar value ($mil) 

Stable value funds



Bond funds



Money market funds



Asset classes with most trading outflows in December

Percentage of outflows 

Index dollar value ($mil) 

Target date funds2



Company stock



Large U.S. equity funds



December investment portfolios:

  • After reflecting market movements and trading activity, average asset allocation in equities increased from 70.3% in November to 70.7% in December.
  • New contributions to equities decreased from 69.7% in November to 68.3% in December.

Asset classes with largest percentage of total balance at the end of December

Percentage of balance 

Index dollar value ($mil) 

Target date funds



Large U.S. equity funds



Stable value funds



Asset classes with most contributions in December

Percentage of contributions 

Index dollar value ($mil) 

Target date funds



Large U.S. equity funds



International equity funds



Returns for common indices


2021 YTD

Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index



S&P 500 Index



Russell 2000 Index



MSCI All Country World ex-U.S. Index (net)



1. A “normal” level of relative transfer activity is when the net daily movement of participants’ balances, as a percent of total 401(k) balances within the Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™ equals between 0.3 times and 1.5 times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months. A “high” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement exceeds two times the average daily net activity. A “moderate” relative transfer activity day is when the net daily movement is between 1.5 and 2 times the average daily net activity of the preceding 12 months.

2. Target date funds also include the amounts in target risk funds. The amount in the target risk funds is less than 10% of the total.

Related Insights

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: July 2022 Observations

401(k) plan investors were light traders in July, according to the Alight 401(k) Index™. There were no above-normal trading days as Wall Street posted its best month since November 2020.

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™

Monthly and quarterly Alight Solutions 401(k) Index Reports

Alight Solutions 401(k) Index™: Full Year 2020 observations

In 2020, 401(k) investors were busy traders out of equities as stocks were falling and slowly returned to them after their rebound.