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Average Retirement Savings by Age

A graph showing the average retirement savings by age.

When it comes to figuring out if your retirement savings are enough, there aren't many easy answers. Add in the habit of comparing your savings with coworkers, friends and family, and it gets even more difficult to find clarity. It can be hard to know if you're on track with your average retirement savings or falling behind.

One way to identify if you're on pace is to look at average retirement savings by age. There are plenty of guidelines and advice on saving for retirement, which can help you get on track — but they don't always tell the whole story.

You know your situation may be different from your neighbors and friends. However, it can be helpful to compare your numbers with what the average person has in their savings. To help you get started, we've pulled some key information, including the average worker income from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics1 and the Federal Reserve2, plus some experts' savings recommendations3.

Retirement Savings When You're in Your 20s

Suggested savings: A common recommendation at this age is to have the equivalent of your annual salary saved by the time you're about to turn 30. The median income of someone in their early-20s is approximately $33,000. Aim to have that amount in retirement savings by the end of your 20s.

According to U.S. News & World Report4, those under 25 have an average of $5,419 in their 401(k)s.

Average retirement savings for 25-34

In your 20s, you're just starting your career — and your fully independent adult life. You have decades until retirement, which means you have time to learn about personal finance, save for retirement and pay off debt. In particular, reducing student loan debt is a common goal for people in this age group, as carrying significant debt can impact the ability to save down the road.

At this stage of life, having anything saved is better than nothing. Build your budget and stick to it.

Retirement Savings When You're in Your 30s

Suggested savings: Guidelines often recommend having three times your annual salary saved by 40. The median income for a 35-year-old is approximately $48,000, which means having $144,000 saved for retirement.

Average retirement savings for 35-44

Here's where you can start seeing the recommended numbers diverge from reality. Many Americans struggle to save for retirement, but there are steps you can take to help reverse course. In your 30s, focus on boosting your 401(k). If your employer offers matching contributions, take advantage of them by contributing enough to maximize your employer's match. Continue to focus on paying down debt and review your budget.

You have a long horizon to retirement, so you have plenty of time to leverage compound interest to potentially grow your investments (though growth cannot be guaranteed due to market fluctuations).

Retirement Savings When You're in Your 40s

Suggested savings: Having six times your annual salary saved by 50 is recommended. The median wage for employees at 45 is approximately $58,000. So, when you're in your late-40s, you'd want to aim to have around $348,000 in retirement savings.

Average retirement savings for 45-54

Most people hit their peak salary somewhere in their late 40s to early 50s. Now is when it becomes important to budget carefully. Get your expenses under control and increase your savings rate long before you enter your 40s, so you don't find yourself in a position of having to catch up.

In your 40s, focus on maximizing your 401(k) and retirement saving contributions.

Retirement Savings When You're in Your 50s & Beyond

Suggested savings: The general guidelines recommend having eight times your annual salary saved by 60. The median income for a 55-year-old is about $57,500, which means having $460,000 saved for retirement. The average savings for those 55-65 is $197,322.

Average retirement savings for those over 65

Your "official" retirement age is usually defined by when you're eligible to receive full Social Security benefits. For most people right now, that's between the ages of 65 and 67, depending on when they were born. Retirement is right around the corner. Now is the time to review your savings strategy and portfolio allocation. You might want to start rebalancing your portfolio to reduce potential risks and maximize your long-term savings.

MORE How Much Do I Need to Retire at 50?

By the Time You Retire

The suggested savings guidelines say you need about ten times your annual salary in savings as you reach your full retirement age. The median salary of a 65-year-old is $54,000 per year — which means you'd need approximately $540,000 saved if you want to retire at 65.

If you're not on track right now, don't panic. The most important thing is to be aware and begin to focus on what you can control. You can start taking actions to help impact your financial situation positively — and perhaps even beat the average retirement savings by age in the decades to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the best time to start your retirement planning?

It’s never too early to begin your retirement planning. The sooner you start saving, the more wealth you can accumulate for your retirement, which could easily last 20 years or more. Here are some important reasons to start preparing for retirement now.

How much savings does a couple need to retire?

That answer depends largely on your current standard of living and what kind of retirement lifestyle you hope to enjoy. Being a couple and having two people’s income and savings give you certain financial advantages over single people. Figuring out how much you need to save as a couple to retire involves several important considerations.

What are the downsides of waiting to start retirement planning?

Remember there is always a cost to waiting when it comes to saving for the future. Taking advantage of compound interest and retirement savings accounts like a 401(k) or individual retirement account (IRA) can make a big difference in what you can potentially save over time. Learn more about the cost of waiting and how you could catch up to achieve your retirement goals.
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1 "Employment Situation of Youth — Summer 2020." Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 7 Feb. 2023, www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf

2 Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. (2019). Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households. Retrieved from https://www.federalreserve.gov/publications/files/2019-report-economic-well-being-us-households-202005.pdf.

3 "Savings by Age." CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/select/savings-by-age/. Accessed 7 Feb 2023.

4 (U.S News & World Report, 2018). "Are Your Retirement Savings Ahead of the Curve?."

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Information provided is general and educational in nature, and all products or services discussed may not be provided by Western & Southern Financial Group or its member companies (“the Company”). The information is not intended to be, and should not be construed as, legal or tax advice. The Company does not provide legal or tax advice. Laws of a specific state or laws relevant to a particular situation may affect the applicability, accuracy, or completeness of this information. Federal and state laws and regulations are complex and are subject to change. The Company makes no warranties with regard to the information or results obtained by its use. The Company disclaims any liability arising out of your use of, or reliance on, the information. Consult an attorney or tax advisor regarding your specific legal or tax situation.