Average Retirement Savings by Age (2024 Update)

Curious about the average retirement savings by age and how yours measure up? This piece provides a straightforward look at what the typical retirement savings look like across different life stages. By offering benchmarks and contextual insights, you’ll gain a clearer perspective on retirement planning without the overwhelm—no matter if you’re decades away from retiring or just a few years out.

Hat tip to Western Southern who supplied this information.

Retirement Savings Account Values by Age

  • Starting retirement savings early is crucial, and even small contributions can grow due to compounding interest, with the median for under 35 at $13,000.
  • By the time individuals reach their 40s and 50s, they often fall short of recommended retirement savings milestones, highlighting the importance of maximizing contributions during these prime earning years.
  • While Social Security benefits are a key retirement income source, personal savings are essential to supplement them, necessitating a savings strategy that adapts to individual circumstances and leverages tax-advantaged accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s.

average retirement savings by age

Navigating Retirement Savings in Your 20s

Young woman reviewing retirement savings on a laptop

An early start to retirement savings can provide a significant advantage. The average retirement savings for individuals under 25 is approximately $5,236, and for those aged 25-34, it is around $30,017. Now, these numbers may seem daunting, especially when you’re just starting your career and possibly dealing with student debt. But remember, even small contributions can grow dramatically over time, thanks to the power of compounding interest.

For those in their 20s, the challenge is often finding a balance between repaying debts, like student loan debt, and saving for retirement. The median retirement savings for those under age 35 is $13,000, suggesting that many are trying to strike this balance. Engaging a financial planner at this stage can be beneficial, as they can guide you through this important phase of your financial journey, paving the way for future success.

Setting Financial Milestones in Your 30s

Financial milestones chart for individuals in their 30s

As you step into your 30s, chances are you’re more established in your career, earning a higher income than in your 20s. This is a crucial decade for retirement savings. Fidelity suggests aiming to have three times your annual salary saved by age 40, which means that someone earning $75,000 annually should have around $225,000 saved for retirement.

However, the actual situation frequently tells a different story. The average retirement savings for the 35-44 age group is $97,020, while the median savings is $60,000, significantly lower than the recommended milestones. To reach these goals, it’s critical to save at least 15% of your income and have a financial plan for paying off debt. Considering you still have time to rebound from any market downturns, this could be an opportune moment to be more assertive with your investments and aim for a higher average retirement savings balance.

Fortifying Your Future: Retirement Planning in Your 40s

Middle-aged couple discussing retirement planning

Entering your 40s, retirement might seem distant, but this decade is vital for securing your future. By age 50, you should aim to have approximately six times your salary saved for retirement. This would ensure a level of financial security in your future years. However, the current average retirement savings for individuals aged 45-54 is $179,200, suggesting that many are falling short of this goal.

During these high-income years, it’s important to make the most of contributions to your 401(k) and other retirement savings accounts. Understanding the significance of account balance growth over time can help you appreciate the long-term value of consistent retirement contributions. It’s not just about the amount you save, but also about giving your money the time to grow.

Also make sure to check out retirement tips from retirees.  They shed light on things they’ve learned so you can use their experience to your advantage.

Preparing for the Golden Years: Savings Strategies for 50s and Beyond

Person in 50s reviewing retirement savings plan

Approaching your 50s, it becomes imperative to focus on your retirement savings. Fidelity recommends having six times your annual salary saved by age 50, with the goal of eight times the salary by age 60. However, the average 401(k) balance for people in their 50s is approximately $558,740, suggesting that many may fall short of these targets.

To help catch up on retirement savings, individuals 50 and older can take advantage of higher contribution limits, such as the $30,500 total allowed for 401(k) plans, including catch-up contributions. Additionally, at this stage, it’s important to revisit your savings strategy and prepare for potential challenges like inflation, escalating medical costs, and longevity. Remember, retirement planning isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it kind of deal – it requires ongoing attention and adjustments.

The Retirement Countdown: What You Need at Retirement Age

Retirement age individuals enjoying leisure activities

As you near retirement, it becomes necessary to refine your savings objectives. To maintain your current lifestyle in retirement, it’s recommended to save 10 times your income by age 67. So, if the median salary of a 65-year-old is $54,000 per year, you should aim to have approximately $540,000 saved.

Securing a comfortable retirement demands dedication, patience, and intelligent financial decisions. Remember, these figures are just guidelines and your personal circumstances may require more or less. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a financial professional to ensure you’re on track to achieving your retirement goals.

Maximizing Social Security Benefits

Alongside your personal savings, Social Security benefits constitute a significant part of your retirement income. As of December 2022, the average retired worker receives $1,680 a month in Social Security benefits. This underlines the importance of additional retirement savings to supplement these benefits.

Several strategies can help you optimize your Social Security benefits. One way is increasing earnings through raises or side jobs, as benefits are calculated based on earnings, up to the annual taxable earnings cap. Understanding full retirement age, which varies by birth year, can also help you avoid permanent reductions in benefit amounts.

Also worth noting is that Social Security benefits may be taxed if the combined income surpasses specified limits. Working for at least 35 years is critical for maximizing Social Security benefits, as benefits are based on the 35 highest-earning years. Spousal benefits also allow a lower-earning or nonworking spouse to claim up to 50% of the higher earner’s benefit at full retirement age, optimizing a couple’s combined income.

IRA Insights: Boosting Your Retirement Reserves

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) present an additional opportunity to augment your retirement savings. For 2023, individuals under age 50 can contribute up to $6,500 to their individual retirement account, while those over age 50 can contribute up to $7,500. This is over and above your 401(k) contributions, making it a valuable tool to build your retirement nest egg.

The two main types of IRAs are Traditional and Roth. Each type offers different tax advantages and contribution rules. In a Traditional IRA, contributions are made with pre-tax dollars which reduce taxable income for the year they are made, and are taxed upon withdrawal. On the other hand, Roth IRA contributions are post-tax and withdrawals are tax-free during retirement. Both types have their advantages, and the choice between them depends on your current income, tax bracket, and expected future income.

401(k) Balances and Benchmarks by Age Group

Your 401(k) probably ranks as one of your key retirement savings instruments, especially if your employer generously matches your contributions. The average 401(k) balance varies by age, with those under 25 having an average balance of $5,236, rising to $232,710 for Americans aged 65 and over. Understanding your retirement savings balances, particularly your 401(k) balance, can help you plan better for your future.

Employer-sponsored retirement plans play a crucial role in retirement savings. Here are some key statistics:

  • The average employer 401(k) contribution is 4.5%, with a median employer contribution of 4%.
  • Employees typically have to contribute an average of 6.8% of their pay to receive an employer match.
  • The average employee contribution is 7.4% of their pay.

These numbers highlight the importance of employer-sponsored retirement plans in helping individuals save for their future.

These figures underscore the importance of taking full advantage of employer contributions, often referred to as “free money.” It’s also worth noting that your 401(k) balance reflects not only contributions but also investment returns, and the power of compound interest can significantly boost your savings over time.

A Closer Look at Median Retirement Savings

While averages are often touted in discussions around retirement savings, median figures offer a more accurate reflection of the financial readiness of the majority of Americans. For instance, median retirement savings by age in the U.S. are:

  • $18,880 for under 35
  • $45,000 for 35-44
  • $115,000 for 45-54
  • $185,000 for 55-64
  • $200,000 for 65-74
  • $130,000 for those 75 or older

These median figures underscore the substantial wealth disparities in our society, as they fall significantly short of average savings. This suggests that a substantial portion of the population has retirement savings far below the average figures, potentially facing a retirement income shortfall. This makes it all the more crucial to start saving early, contribute consistently, and take advantage of all available retirement savings tools.

Crafting a Custom Retirement Roadmap

Every person’s retirement journey is distinctive, and their retirement roadmap should reflect this uniqueness. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work when it comes to retirement planning. It’s important to consider individual financial concerns such as health care costs, lifestyle desires, and effective debt management.

To ensure retirement planning success, focus on controllable factors such as investment choices and savings rates, and regularly update your retirement roadmap to align with changes in your life and the market. Consulting a financial advisor is crucial for creating and maintaining a financial plan that increases the likelihood of reaching your retirement savings goals. They can provide holistic financial planning advice, including legal or tax advice, often overlooked by many individuals, helping you navigate the complexities of retirement planning.

Investment Strategies for Every Life Stage

Investment strategies hold a significant role in expanding your retirement savings. The primary goal of investing is to make your money work for you. Diversification across asset classes is key to a balanced portfolio, with options like mutual funds, ETFs, and target-date funds simplifying asset allocation decisions.

As you approach retirement, you should consider the following investment strategies:

  1. Shift your investment focus from growth to preservation.
  2. Gradually decrease your stock allocation in favor of bonds and cash.
  3. Consider factors such as inflation and market volatility that can erode your investment value.
  4. Emphasize the necessity for strategies that offset these economic challenges.

Remember, the power of compound growth demonstrates that consistent, long-term investment can multiply initial contributions substantially over time.

The Role of Pensions and Other Income Sources in Retirement

While personal savings and Social Security are paramount, pensions and other income streams also contribute significantly to retirement income. However, pensions have become less prevalent, with only 30% of older Americans receiving income from a pension.

For those lucky enough to have a pension, it can provide a meaningful contribution to retirement income, with the median annual income from pensions being $15,730 for individuals age 65 and older in 2022. However, with the decline in pensions, it’s become even more essential for individuals to take a proactive approach to their retirement savings, leveraging IRAs, 401(k)s, and other investment vehicles to secure a comfortable retirement.

Summary

Understanding your finances and planning for retirement may seem overwhelming, but with the right knowledge, tools, and guidance, you can navigate this journey successfully. Starting early, contributing consistently, diversifying investments, and taking full advantage of employer matches and other retirement savings tools are key strategies to build a substantial retirement nest egg. Remember, a comfortable retirement isn’t just about how much you save – it’s about how wisely you save and invest.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does the average 65 year old have in retirement savings?

The average 65 to 74-year-old has a little over $426,000 saved for retirement. This includes money in retirement accounts like 401(k) plans and IRAs.

How much money do most people retire with?

The average retirement savings varies by age: those 55 to 64 have an average of $408,420, while those 65 to 74 have $426,070 saved. Median figures show 65 to 74-year-olds have a median of $164,000, with those 75 and older having $83,000 saved.

What is a good retirement savings by age?

A good retirement savings goal is to have three times your annual salary saved by age 40, six times by 50, and eight times by 60, according to general guidelines. However, it’s important to consider your retirement age and desired lifestyle. (Adapted from answer 1 and 3)

How can I maximize my Social Security benefits?

To maximize your Social Security benefits, work at least 35 years, increase your earnings, understand full retirement age, and consider spousal and dependents’ benefits. By doing so, you can ensure you receive the highest benefit amount possible.

What is the difference between a Traditional and a Roth IRA?

The main difference between a Traditional and a Roth IRA is that a Traditional IRA involves pre-tax contributions and taxes upon withdrawal, while a Roth IRA involves post-tax contributions and tax-free withdrawals during retirement. Choose based on your current and future tax situation.

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Tim Schmidt

About 

Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who has covered retirement investing since 2012. He started IRA Investing to share his expertise in using his Self-Directed IRA for alternative investments. His views on retirement investing have been highlighted in USA Today, Business Insider, Tech Times, and more. He invested with Goldco.