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Americans' 401(k) savings dropped by 28 percent in 2008

Among 2.7 million employees eligible for 401(k)investment plans, the median rate of return last year was minus 28.3 percent.

From 2007 to the end of 2008, the average 401(k) balance studied by Hewitt Associates fell from $79,600 to $57,200.

According to a report released today, 44 percent of employees who invested in 401(k)s lost 30 percent of more of their savings last year.

A fortunate 11 percent were able to break even or record a portfolio gain.

But employees kept the faith, Hewitt said.

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