By Paul Martino

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People are putting more money away for retirement.

With the stock market soaring, 401(k) plans are soaring, too.

But there’s one other factor that’s brought 401(k) plans to record levels: workers are saving a lot more.

“I think it’s a good sign,” financial advisor Robert Fragasso said. “It signifies that people are realizing that they have to depend on themselves, their own efforts.”

Fragasso said a 401(K) is a great way to avoid taxes and take advantage of companies that match your investment.

“The old-fashioned pension plan has pretty much gone away,” Fragasso said.

A survey by Fidelity Investments found that 401(k) balances rose 17 percent last year to an average of $112,000.

That’s an all-time record.

Even more significant, the survey found workers are contributing an average of 8.9 percent of their income to their 401(k).

That’s another record, and it’s tax-free money.

The hard part is getting started.

“You start with what you think you can put away today. Before you know it, you’ll find your ability to raise it,” Fragasso said.

Fraggasso said if your employer doesn’t offer a 401(k), you can invest in an individual retirement account.