When it comes to retirement savings you may have started your career not thinking about saving and investing very much. For many people saving for retirement only starts to become a reality later on when they start seriously thinking about their future and what they’ll do in 30-40 years when they retire. When they realize just how much money they’ll need to retire, saving and investing becomes a priority.
For me in my twenties I wasn’t making a ton of money, and I also had the attitude that a lot of new grads have. I wanted to live and enjoy life, pay off my student loans and worry about saving for the future later on when I was making a better income.
Unfortunately far too many people never move on to that next step where they start saving as much as they can for retirement, they just continue in the cycle of paying off debt and living for today. Tomorrow can worry about itself.
So with so many people not saving for the future, what is the average retirement savings for people in the United States?
Retirement Savings Are Low
A recent survey found that 48% or workers of all ages had less than $10,000 in savings for retirement. That’s a scary thought, that almost half of workers as a whole haven’t taken their future financial stability seriously and started saving more for retirement.
If you ask how many workers had less than $25,000 in retirement savings, 60% of workers answered in the affirmative. 70% had less than $50,000 and 80% less than $100,000. Even of those 55+, 60% of them had less than $100,000 saved.
With numbers like those it’s not hard to guess that the average retirement savings for different age groups aren’t doing that well, even for those who are getting pretty close to retirement.
Workers Today Less Likely To Have Saved For Retirement
Employee Benefit Research Institute released a Retirement Confidence Survey last year, and it gave some pretty interesting feedback as to how likely people are to have saved for retirement versus in the past:
Overall, workers of today are statistically less likely to report they have saved save for retirement than workers of 10 years ago. However, this difference occurs primarily among those ages 25–34. Workers ages 35–44 and 45–54 are statistically just as likely as workers of the same age 10 years ago to say they have saved for retirement, while workers ages 55+ are more likely to have saved than their counterparts 10 years agoAlthough workers ages 55+ are more likely than younger workers to say they (and/or their spouse) are currently saving for retirement, 33 percent of workers age 55 and older are not currently saving for that purpose.
Average Retirement Savings By Age Group
As a group workers today are less likely to have saved for retirement. But that’s not the whole story. Just how much they’ve saved on average is pretty dismal.
Let’s look at the average retirement savings for the different age groups:
- Workers under 35: Have barely $6,000 in savings.
- Workers aged 35-44: Have roughly $22,500.
- Workers ages 45-54: Have saved just under $44,000.
- Workers aged 55-64: Have approximately $65,000 in savings.
- Aged 65 and over: Have saved about $56,000.
Those numbers are pretty depressing when you really look at them. Those under 35 have essentially nothing – on average only $6,000. The other age groups all have anywhere from $22,500-56,000 saved on average. That’s nowhere near enough to fund the retirement that most people expect to have.
How Much Retirement Savings Should You Have?
- At what age will you retire?: What age do you plan on retiring? In order to retire earlier than normal, you’ll need to be saving more than normal.
- How much will you need in retirement?: How much of your pre-retirement income will you need in retirement? Most advisors give a range of somewhere between 65-80% of your pre-retirement income should be sufficient to get by on.
- What other sources of income will you have in retirement? Social Security? Pension? Part time job? Rental property?
- What is your life expectancy? How long do you think you’ll live in retirement?
- Factor in the inflation rate: When figuring out how much you’ll need to retire, don’t forget to figure in the inflation rate. So if you need 70% of your pre-retirement income, you’ll need to not only have 70% of that income – but 70% of it after figuring in inflation. Right now that’s a 3% or so annual inflation rate, but who knows where it will be in the future!
- What time horizon do you have? How old are you now and how much time do you have until retirement? The older you are when you start, the more you’ll need to contribute to reach your goals.
If you’re older when you start saving for retirement you may need to start thinking about maxing out your contributions every year in order to save as much as you can. Either way, it’s time to get started if you haven’t already!
Here’s a detailed retirement calculator to help figure out just how much you’ll need to save for retirement based on the criteria I mentioned above, as well as others. Start saving now and beat the average!
So once you’ve figured out just how much you’ll need for retirement, it’s time to bump your retirement savings into high gear.
So when all is said and done, how do you stack up against the average retirement savings for your age group?
Last Edited: 22nd April 2013