Retirement savers who hold accounts with Fidelity Investments are socking away money like never before, despite—or maybe even because of—the continuing world pandemic, the company announced today.

The firm's quarterly retirement analysis found that, for the second quarter, average retirement account balances increased to record levels for the third consecutive quarter. In addition, Fidelity's surveys found that savers reduced their 401(k) loans and reported reduced levels of stress and anxiety.

“The pandemic is clearly fueling a shift in how Americans prioritize their work, health, personal lives and financial well-being, so it’s encouraging to see a continued improvement of retirement savings rates and individuals expressing more feelings of hope and fewer feelings of stress,” Kevin Barry, president of workplace investing at Fidelity Investments, said in a prepared statement. “As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, we’ll continue to support employers, and their employees, with the tools and information they need to keep their retirement savings on track.”

Fidelity's report was based on data taken from more than 30 million IRA, 401(k) and 403(b) retirement accounts custodied with the company, as well as investor surveys.

The average IRA balance for the second quarter was $134,900, a 4% increase from last quarter and a 21% increase from a year earlier. The average 401(k) balance was $129,300, up 4% from the previous quarter and 24% from 2020. The average 403(b) balance was $113,300, up from 6% last quarter and 24% from last year.

Fidelity said that one of the more notable trends in the data is that younger baby boomers in their late 50s are increasing contributions to their retirement accounts. "A record 18.2% of baby boomers made a 'catch-up' contribution to their 401(k) in Q2, with 58% of boomers making the maximum catch-up contribution of $6,500 by the end of last year," the report said.

Baby boomers with an IRA increased their average contribution amount by 17% from a year ago, to $3,570, while the total number of IRA contributions among boomers increased 57% from a year ago. The average 403(b) contribution rate for baby boomers increased to 10.9% in the second quarter.

The average 401(k) employee savings rate reached a record 9.3% in the second quarter, Fidelity said. "Over the last year, more than one in three (38%) of 401(k) savers have increased their savings rate, while only 7% of workers have decreased their 401(k) savings rate since Q2 2020," the report said. "More than half of Gen Z workers (54%) increased their 401(k) savings rate over the last year, while 43% of millennials have increased their savings rate since Q2 2020."

Among the other findings from the report:

• The percentage of outstanding 401(k) loans remained at a record low. Less than one in five (17.5%) individuals had an outstanding loan from their 401(k) in the second quarter, a record low percentage.

• Fewer individuals are making changes to the asset allocation within their 401(k). Only 5.3% of 401(k) savers made a change to their asset allocation in Q2, the lowest percentage since the fourth quarter of 2019. Of the 401(k) savers that made a change to their allocation, 80% only made just one change in the quarter.