SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Third quarter data for defined contribution plans administered by MassMutual shows that, combined, Gen X and Gen Y participants now account for 55% of the company's participant count, compared to 41% of Baby Boomer participants. Baby Boomers still control the lion's share of assets at 61%, with the combined Gen X/Gen Y group holding 31% of all defined contribution plan assets on MassMutual's platform. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100927/NE72118-a ) The percentage of MassMutual's total participant assets in age-based and risk-based options reached an all-time high during the third quarter of 2012, accounting for 26.6% of total defined contribution plan assets under management, which is well above the industry average. Gen Y participants (born between 1982 and 1995) led with 49.8% for the quarter vs. Gen X (born between 1965 and 1981) at 29.8% and Baby Boomers at 22.6%. Significantly, Gen X participants had the highest allocations in equities at 45.6% for the quarter ended September 30, compared with Gen Y savers at 32.2% and Baby Boomers at 38.4%. Women continue to favor age-based investments far more than risk-based options – in fact, more than 2.5 times as much – at 72% vs. 28% respectively. Men remain more evenly divided on their preferences, with approximately 52% in age-based vs. 48% in risk-based investments. Average account balances for women grew 3.92% for the quarter vs. 4.17% for men, reflective of the generally more conservative investing profile of women. In terms of account balances, the gender gap continues to close, albeit at a slow rate. Average account balances for women now trail those of men by 38.4%, a slight improvement over a high of 40.5% in late 2010. "Not surprisingly, Gen Y savers are taking full advantage of asset allocation investment options," says Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual's Retirement Services Division and chairman and CEO of MassMutual International LLC. "We are so pleased to see that younger generations appear to understand the importance of starting early to save for retirement," says Sarsynski. MassMutual's percentage of participants who initiated loans in the third quarter (1.7%) was at its lowest level in four years and is significantly lower than the industry average. "We strive to educate participants that taking a loan from the 401(k) can have negative consequences and should be a last resort. We are very pleased that their behavior indicates they are grasping this message," adds Sarsynski. MassMutual serves approximately 1.6 million participants. For more information regarding MassMutual Retirement Services, please call your retirement plan professional or contact MassMutual at 1-866-444-2601.