Recommended Retirement Savings by Age – Are You Above Average?

Are you above average or do you have some catching up to do when it comes to saving for the future? Let’s find out!!


think and grow rich

Think and Grow Rich

by Napoleon Hill

⏱ 16 minutes reading time

🎧 Audio version available

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No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to start putting money aside. Yes, retirement may seem distant right now– and yes, a lot of challenges may slow or even halt your progress. Having a milestone set for each decade, or stage of your life, can help you set clearer goals and motivate you to get started right away

Before you get started on a retirement savings account, there is one thing experts advise you do first that is absolutely essential– and that is to have at least three months’ worth of expenses saved before you officially get started saving for retirement.

Some experts say saving at least six months’ worth of living expenses is even better. So sit down and map out how much you spend on rent, mortgage payments, transportation, insurance, utilities, food, debt, and other bills. Then, go ahead and multiply that number by three to six, depending on how much you want to save up. That’s how much you need to get started.

This money is hopefully never going to see the light of day, unless a catastrophic event happens that requires extra cash or prevents you from having an income for an extended amount of time. It’s inevitable that life will throw you curveball or two — a financial curveball at least. This money will save the day.

Now, a part of being an adult– or rather, a responsible adult– is having an ironclad retirement plan in place. The first step is figuring out the answer to this crucial question: how much do you need to retire? Depending on the individual, their income, and the lifestyle they lead and the lifestyle they plan to lead in retirement, that answer is going to vary dramatically.

How do you start saving? It’s easy. If you can’t figure out where to start, here is an easy first step. See how much you need to save by age. This is going to help you create crystal clear retirement goals and stay on track.

You never know. You might be an overachiever already! Check out these stats by the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which show the median retirement savings by age in the United States.

According to this survey, by the time Americans reach their 20s, they have about $16,000.

By their 30s, they have $45,000.

By their 40s, they have $63,000.

By their 50s, they have around $117,000.

And by the time they reach their 60s, nearing the retirement age, they have saved around $172,000.

Which one of these categories do you fall under? How much do you have saved up in comparison to the median?

It could be helpful to think in terms of percentages or multiples of your salary to see how much you should be accumulating at various stages of your life. Focus on what’s coming next.

This is the gist of it. The same survey suggests that by the time you reach your 30s, you should have 1-2 times your annual salary stashed away.

Let’s say you’re 35 years old, and you’re making around $45,000 a year. That means you should have around $90,000 saved up in your retirement accounts. This is twice the median and average of what most people have saved– why you should aim towards being above average is something that we’ll explain in a minute, so stay tuned!

Now, by the time you’re in your 40s, you should have 3-4 times your annual salary safely stored in a savings account.

By your 50s, that number should rise to 6-7 times your annual salary.

By your 60s, you should have 8-10 times your annual salary.

Let’s break it down further. And you know what? Let’s go all the way to your 20s. During this time, saving for retirement may not feel like a pressing matter. You probably have student loan debts, unstable jobs, and some of the biggest challenges when it comes to savings. But did you know that numerous surveys have found that people in their 20s are actually taking the lead for contributing to retirement plans?

The previously mentioned Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies believes that millennials have median retirement savings around $23,000.

If you plan to follow the above mentioned formula of having one year’s worth of salary saved up by age 30, you really should get started during your 20s. If you’re 25 years old, aim to have 25% to 50% locked away.

Recommended Retirement Savings By Your 30s

This brings us to the recommended retirement savings by age 30!

The tried and true recommended retirement savings by the time you reach 30 is to have the equivalent of your annual salary saved. If you earn $50,000 per year, you should have $50,000 saved up.

Recommended Retirement Savings By – Under 35

How to determine if you’re above average? The average household retirement savings for people under 35 is usually $30,170. Meanwhile, the median household retirement savings is $13,000.

This is because, unlike your 20s, your financial situation begins to dramatically shift in your 30s. You might be earning drastically more. And life starts throwing curveballs in the form of higher expenses, such as marriage, children, and mortgages. This makes saving for retirement more difficult, especially when you have your emergency fund to think about.

Recommended Retirement Savings Between 35 and 44

Let’s jump ahead to ages 35 and 44. This time is the underrated golden years. This age bracket currently holds the oldest of the millennial generation and the youngest of Generation X. And over half of this particular age range has a retirement account.

You’re probably in your peak earning years. You probably have less debt. And if you have children, they have passed their most expensive stage– that is, if you don’t plan to contribute to their college funds. This, of course, will affect your ability to save for retirement.

In this age bracket, the average household retirement savings are $131,950 and the median household retirement savings are $60,000.

Recommended Retirement Savings Between 45 and 54

Here, the average household retirement savings are around $254,720 and the median household retirement savings are $100,000.

This age range currently includes part of Generation X and those a decade away from the standard retirement age. According to the SCF, a little over half of the previous group had retirement holdings. This group has about 58% of households headed by someone with retirement accounts.

Recommended Retirement Savings Between 55 and 64

The baby boomers and those about to retire are included in this group. For those between the ages 55 and 64, it’s been found that the average household retirement savings are around $408,420 and the median household retirement savings are $134,000.

Recommended Retirement Savings Between 65 to 74

Now we’ve reached the group that includes people who are retired and those of retirement age. At this point, you’re spending more than you’re saving. According to the SCF, the average household retirement savings here are $426,070 and the median household retirement savings are $164,000.

The SCF also found that in households headed by someone past this age range– that is someone 75 or older, then the average holding falls to $357,920 and the median value of retirement holdings is $83,000.

And there you have it! Are you above average or do you have some catching up to do? Don’t worry. There is always time to catch up. Remember, it’s never too late or too early to saving for retirement.

Want some helpful tips if the idea of saving for the future seems daunting? What if we told you that saving around $20 a week leads to saving over $1,000 a year? That means if you save three dollars a day, you’re set to live a comfortable life on a beach somewhere in your 60s. That also means you don’t actually need all that much money to start prepping for the future.

Another tip that a lot of people swear by is automation. Automation is setting up a direct deposit from your checking account, which will automatically transfer the money into your savings. And hey, before you know it, you’ll have hundreds of thousands of dollars saved and you’ll be tanning in a Miami beach under the sun with all the time in the world ahead of you!


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