Saving for retirement is crucial during our working years. It’s a big part of ensuring that you have enough money for retirement. To that end, how much do you need in retirement savings at different ages?
This can be a tricky way to see if you are financially on track. If the goal is set too low, there is the risk of being overconfident and undershooting how much you will really need. If it’s set too high, then people may become discouraged and not do anything. The bottom-line is that retirement savings goals at different ages need to be practical and realistic.
In this article, we will look at simple target retirement savings goals at five key ages: 25, 35, 45, 55, and 65. That will span exploring how much the average American has saved for retirement at these ages, and how much you might want to have saved at those points. We will also go over some things to consider with your financial planning as you get closer to retirement.
A Quick Word on Typical Retirement Savings by Age
How much do people have saved up at various ages? To answer this question, we looked at data taken from the Survey of Consumer Finances, which is put out by the Federal Reserve. This data covers the average retirement savings and median retirement savings by age group.
Average retirement savings are a glimpse into how much that people have typically saved at various age groups. However, averages can also be skewed by outliers — by the undersavers and the oversavers in each group. Because of that, median retirement savings are also included for each age group.
How Much Do Americans Have Saved for Retirement at Different Ages?
Here is a quick breakdown of average and median household retirement savings for different age groups. It’s helpful as a starting point to see where people are typically at in different points of their retirement financial progress.
Under Age 35
- Average retirement savings for household: $30,170
- Median retirement savings for household: $13,000
As we can imagine, retirement savings aren’t terribly high at this point. These numbers are relatively low due to the early stage of people’s careers and other financial obligations.
- Average retirement savings for household: $131,950
- Median retirement savings for household: $60,000
Those in their mid-30s and early 40s tend to have more financial stability than in their 20s. These amounts reflect this, thanks to higher earning potential and better financial management.
- Average retirement savings for household: $254,720
- Median retirement savings for household: $100,000
These amounts reflect the wide variation that people in their 40s can make in individual life choices, career paths, and earning tracks depending on the jobs they have held. The 50s are when career-earning years tend to peak.
- Average retirement savings for household: $408,420
- Median retirement savings for household: $134,000
By this point, retirement is nearing. Your retirement savings have had time to grow in value, and your contributions to your retirement account(s) over the years will have added up. If you need to make catch-up contributions so that you have enough income for retirement, now is the time to do so.
- Average retirement savings for household: $426,070
- Median retirement savings for household: $164,000
Age 25: Getting Started
At the age of 25, retirement may seem distant, but it’s the perfect time to start investing. Compounding growth can be of huge benefit to early savers. In fact, starting at this age may mean that you might be able to save less in later years due to your money having more time to grow. So, it can be really beneficial to begin ramping up now.
The average American in their mid-20s may not have substantial retirement savings due to competing financial priorities like student loans, rent, transportation, or job-related spending. Entry-level salaries can also make it hard to sock money away when much of your income is going toward monthly expenses.
Retirement Savings Goal at Age 25: Financial experts recommend having at least one year’s worth of salary saved by age 30. If you earn $50,000 annually, your goal should be $50,000 in retirement savings by 30. This may seem ambitious, but the earlier you start, the easier it is to reach this milestone.
Age 35: Building Momentum
By age 35, finances should be more stable and your career more established. It’s a good time to scale up your retirement savings efforts and take advantage of any qualified workplace retirement plans, such as a 401(k).
If you are maxing out your contributions to your workplace retirement plan, then explore additional ways to build up savings. IRAs and Roth IRAs are other options for accumulating more retirement money for later years.
Retirement Savings Goal at Age 35: By age 35, you should aim to have saved at least twice your annual salary for retirement. If your annual income is $60,000, your retirement savings goal should be $120,000 by age 35.
Age 45: Mid-Career Milestone
As you reach your mid-40s, your financial responsibilities may include mortgage payments, children’s education, and other life expenses. While these financial obligations will take your attention, saving for retirement shouldn’t be ignored.
You are getting closer to your peak earning years. This is the time to take advantage of your higher earnings and still having some time for your retirement savings to grow.
Retirement Savings Goal at Age 45: By age 45, financial experts recommend having at least four times your annual salary saved for retirement. If you earn $80,000 annually, your goal should be $320,000 in retirement savings by age 45.
Age 55: Nearing Retirement
As you move into your mid-50s, retirement comes into sharper focus. You are well-placed to assess your retirement readiness and make any needed changes to your savings and investment strategies.
Retirement Savings Goal at Age 55: By age 55, you should aim to have at least six to seven times your annual salary saved for retirement. If your annual income is $100,000, your goal should be $600,000 to $700,000 in retirement savings by age 55.
Age 65: Retirement on the Horizon
By age 65, retirement is typically just around the corner, and it’s crucial to have a clear plan in place. Hopefully you have built up a sizable nest egg so that you can have a financially comfortable lifestyle in retirement.
But of course, it’s not just about how much you have saved for retirement. At this stage, how much income will you be able to generate from your retirement investment holdings? What if you don’t yet quite have the funds to generate the retirement income that you will need?
If that is the case, consider delaying retirement and working for a longer period, if you can. It would give you more time to build up retirement funds, more opportunity for your savings to grow, and fewer years for you to have to fund in retirement.
Retirement Savings Goal at Age 65: By age 65, the general rule of thumb is to have saved at least ten times your annual salary for retirement. If your annual income is $120,000, your goal should be $1.2 million in retirement savings by age 65.
Don’t Focus on Just the Savings When Near Retirement
In your working years, the focus is on saving money and growing your funds in value. As you near retirement, financial priorities change. It’s more important at that stage to protect the financial resources that you have and determine how you will create reliable income streams from them. After all, you want enough income to support your desired lifestyle throughout your retirement years.
Here are some essential steps to consider as you approach retirement:
Evaluate Your Savings: Take a close look at your retirement savings and assess whether you have reached your savings goals for your age. Near retirement, that starts with charting out what your income needs and spending in retirement will probably look like. If you haven’t reached your goals, consider making catch-up contributions to your workplace retirement plan and personal retirement accounts, like IRAs.
Budgeting and Lifestyle Choices: Create a detailed retirement budget to determine how much income you will need. Make decisions about where you will live, travel plans, and other lifestyle choices that can impact your expenses.
Social Security Planning: Understand your Social Security benefits and the best time to start claiming them. Delaying benefits can lead to higher monthly payouts.
Pension and Other Income Sources: If you have a pension or other income sources, factor them into your retirement income plan. Ensure you understand how these income streams work and when they will become available.
Healthcare Costs: Estimate your healthcare costs during retirement and explore options for health insurance coverage, such as Medicare or private insurance. Don’t forget about long-term care expenses, which are separate from medical costs and not really covered by Medicare.
Investment Allocation: The question of how much market risk that your investment holdings carry becomes more important as you get closer to retirement. Depending on your current risk profile, you may want to adjust your investment portfolio with that risk exposure. Consider shifting towards more conservative investments and financial instruments to help protect your nest egg.
Professional Guidance: Retirement income planning is complicated. Consult a financial advisor or retirement planner to help you navigate the complexities of retirement, income planning, capital preservation, and to optimize your financial strategy.
The Bottom-Line on Setting Retirement Savings Goals
At every point of your working years, saving for retirement is crucial, and the earlier you start, the better off you will be. As we have seen at ages 25, 35, 45, 55, and 65, the average American’s retirement savings varies significantly. Still, those average and median retirement savings at different ages can be useful guidelines for general savings goals.
As you near retirement, the focus shifts from accumulating savings to creating a reliable income stream. Proper planning, budgeting, and financial guidance are important steps in working to secure your financial future during retirement. By addressing these factors near retirement, you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing you have enough retirement income to support your preferred lifestyle.
Remember, it’s never too late to start planning ahead and taking steps toward a secure retirement lifestyle. There are many pieces to put together, and if you would like professional guidance in sorting everything out, many experienced and independent financial professionals are available here at SafeMoney.com.
You can connect with someone by visiting our “Find a Financial Professional” section and requesting a complimentary, initial appointment with someone. Feel free to ask any questions on your mind and discuss your goals, concerns, and situation at this point. Should you want a personal referral, please call us at 877.476.9723.