What Is The Average Amount In 401k At Retirement


So What’s The Importance Of The Average 401k Balance

Average 401k Balance at Age 60, June 2022 | Vanguard Data

To be honest with you, knowing the average 401k balance may not be of great importance to you. Instead, it’s just a benchmark that will help you know if you’re on the right track with your retirement savings. It’s all about measuring your savings with your fellow peers and using it to analyze your own situation.

Consider A Financial Advisor

Many people think financial planning is just for millionaires, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Financial advisors don’t just exist to help millionaires protect their assets. They also help everyday, working people grow their nest egg and plan for a comfortable retirement.

In fact, many of them find their highest job satisfaction in helping regular people become millionaires and retire on their own terms.

Learn more in our quick guide to Finding the Right Financial Advisor.

How Much Emergency Cash To Have On Hand

In addition to saving for retirement, it’s also important to get your finances stable from a short-term perspective so you do not have to dip back into money that you have put away for the long-term, Badeau says.

Aim to save three to six months’ worth of living expenses in a liquid cash account. You should think of that as an emergency fund to keep you afloat if you were to lose your job, Badeau says.

It may seem overwhelming to try and save so much at one time, but it’s OK to start small. Set achievable goals by saving one month at a time, and eventually work your way up to your desired balance.

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Average 401 Balances Dont Reflect All Retirement Savings

Theres another key fact to remember when looking at average 401 balances. They do not reflect total retirement savings, says David Stinnett, principal of Vanguard Strategic Retirement Consulting.

Participants may also have other savings accounts, such as individual retirement accounts , retirement accounts at previous employers or spousal accounts, not to mention additional retirement income sources like real estate, pensions and Social Security. All of these assets combined determine a persons retirement readiness.

K As A Retirement Vehicle By Age 60

The Rise Of 401(k) Millionaires: Living Large In Retirement

The 401k is one of the most woefully light retirement instruments ever invented. Give me a pension that pays 70% of my last years salary for the rest of my life over a 401k or IRA any time! At least with the 401k, anybody can contribute.

The average 401k balance as of February 2022 is around $125,000 according to Fidelitys 12 million accounts, thanks to an incredible rise in the S& P 500 since 2009. Were at new record highs and the S& P 500 is now up close to 200% since the depths of the financial crisis.

Even so, $125,000 is an incredibly low amount given the median age of an American is 36.5. Further, the median 401k amount is closer to only $28,000. As an educated reader who is logical and believes saving for retirement is a must, Ive proposed a table that shows how much each person should have saved in their 401ks at age 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 60, and 65.

We stop at 65 because you are allowed to start withdrawing penalty free from your 401k at age 59 1/2. Meanwhile, I pray to goodness you dont have to work much past 65 because youve had 40 years to save and investment already!

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What Is The Average 401k Balance For A 65 Year Old

$ 216,720 $ 64,548

How much money does the average person have in their 401 thousand when they retire? The average balance of 401 is $ 106,478, according to Vanguards 2020 analysis of over 5 million plans. But most people dont save that much for retirement. The median 401 balance is $ 25,775, which is a better indicator of what Americans have saved for retirement.

Average 401 Balance At Retirement

Many U.S. workers retire by the time they reach 65. Vanguard’s data shows the average 401 balance at retirement to be $255,151, while the median balance is $82,297.

For retirees following the 4% rule, the average balance would produce just $10,206 in annual retirement income, while the median would provide only around $3,291. Even when combined with Social Security, this may not be sufficient to provide a comfortable income in retirement.

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How Much Could Your 401 Grow

The earlier you start investing in your 401, the easier it is to build a hefty balance thanks to compound earnings.

When you invest money, your investments earn money for you. This can be reinvested so you then have a larger pool of assets earning returns. Your money can grow exponentially. That’s why Albert Einstein was famously quoted as describing compound interest as the “eighth wonder of the world.”

The chart below shows how much $1,000 invested in your 401 could turn into by age 67, depending on when you make your $1,000 investment and assuming an 8% average annual rate of return.

Table by author.
$354,569 $195,076

Higher earners need more money saved for retirement because, in most cases, they are used to a higher standard of living. They will need their retirement investment accounts to produce sufficient funds to maintain their lifestyle after their paychecks stop.

Many workers contribute a set percentage of income to their 401, such as 10%. With this percentage-based approach, higher earners inevitably invest more for retirement each year than their lower-earning counterparts.

What Is The Average Retirement Savings By Age

Average 401k Balance by Age 65 | PLUS # of “401k millionaires”

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The desire to know how you’re doing in relation to your peers is natural, and it may help kick-start more progress or give you a feeling of satisfaction. Just remember that no matter how the numbers make you feel and what the average retirement savings by age is, this info may not be the best measure of whether you are on track for retirement.

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How Much Do You Need To Retire

How much money youll need to retire will vary from person to person depending on different factors such as how long you expect to live, where you live and the investment returns you expect to earn. Estimating your annual expenses is a big factor in knowing how much youll need during retirement because these are the costs youll need to cover with your savings.

How much money do you need to pay your bills each month? Multiply this figure by 12 for an annual estimate and then multiply the total again by 30 in case you live another 30 years. This rough calculation doesnt take into consideration investment earnings or inflation, but it offers a ballpark of your future needs. Be sure to include healthcare expenses in your calculation.

Another popular method is known as the 4 percent rule. This method calls for withdrawing no more than 4 percent of your retirement account balance in any given year to help make it last for the duration of your retirement. Some advisors think this approach isnt conservative enough, but it can help provide a rough guideline for what youll need to save. Take the amount youll need each year and multiply it by 25 to arrive at the savings youll need.

Average Retirement Savings By Age

Based on data from the 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances

  • Under 35: $30,170

  • 55-64: $408,420

  • 65-74: $426,070

A little fine print upfront: Because averages can be heavily skewed by outliers in other words, the savings of over- and underachievers in each group weve also included median balances in the breakdown below. The median can often provide a more representative number than the average, and youll notice that the median numbers are quite a bit lower than the averages.

Its also worth noting that both figures include only those who have retirement holdings there are many people of all ages who do not. In 2019, only about half of families owned any kind of retirement account.

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How Much Savings Do Retirees Have

Despite increases to retirement savings contributions, most households do not have sufficient retirement savings. According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, based on 401 and IRA account balances, 92 percent of working households fall short of retirement savings targets for their age and income.

401 accounts are the most common retirement savings account that the majority of retirees rely on for retirement income. Below is a table breaking down the average 401 account balance by age group in 2019.

Age Group

What Is A Good Retirement Income Per Month

The 401k has been a disaster for most Americans: Only 44 percent of ...

According to the 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average household of 65 and over spends $ 48,885 a year, which is about $ 4,000 a month.

What is a good retirement income?

With that in mind, you should expect to need about 80% of your pre-retirement income to cover the cost of living in retirement. In other words, if you earn $ 100,000 now, you will need about $ 80,000 a year after you retire, according to this principle.

What is the average monthly retirement income?

KEY RELATIONS. The median retirement income for the elderly is about $ 24,000 however, average incomes can be much higher. On average, seniors earn between $ 2,000 and $ 6,000 a month. Older retirees usually earn less than younger retirees.

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The Benchmarks For Those Closer To Retirement

The range gets wider as you get older, so we also provide more detailed estimates for people approaching retirement. This helps someone find a realistic target based on income and marital status, which affect Social Security benefits.

A Closer Look at Savings Benchmarks Later in Your Career

Savings Benchmarks Later in Your Career

11x 13.5x

Assumptions: See Savings Benchmarks by AgeAs a Multiple of Income above. Dual income means that one spouse generates 75% of the income that the other spouse earns.

Case Study Three On Why Her 401k Is Low High Income Burnout

Susie is 34 years old, single and makes $150,000 + bonus as a VP at an investment bank based in San Francisco. Shes been working for 12 consecutive years out of college. In between years 10 and 12, Susie took a 1.5 year hiatus to become a baker during the financial crisis.

She was burned out and wanted to try something new. But, after spending $25,000 for tuition, missing out on 1.5 years worth of income, and getting screamed at while making only $10 an hour, she realized being a baker at a restaurant was not for her. If Im going to get yelled at making $10 an hour, I might as well make a lot of money! Susie joked.

Susie has about $150,000 in her 401, 50% higher than the current median according to Transamerica. However, given she didnt earn any money for 1.5 years and paid a lot for tuition. Susie is also about $50,000 light based on my guide. Susie was only contributing about 10% of her pre-tax income to her 401 for her entire career because she didnt want to tie her money up beyond the company match.

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Determine Your Best Savings Rate

Given the many variables, it may help to consider general rules of thumb to determine savings levels and percentages. Saving 10% of one’s annual pre-tax salary, for example, has generally been considered an adequate saving percentage. However, because people are living longer and don’t want to run out of money in their eighties or nineties, a savings rate of 15% or even higher has been proposed.

A higher rate can also benefit those who didn’t start saving in their 20s and are now trying to catch up. Employers generally do match some of what their employees contribute to a 401, which can help in getting to a double-digit annual percent.

In terms of estimating market returns, real returns on U.S. stocks have averaged around 7% over the past century. Real bond return levels have been much lower at 2%, while returns on short-term funds have been around 1%.

Clearly, any asset growth will have to rely on stocks and a diversified portfolio of similarly risky assets such as venture capital, real estate, or private equity.

A common rule regarding asset mix is that the percentage an individual should invest in bonds is equal to their current age. Although this allows for a gradual progression to living off interest income at retirement, there is little need for a 20-year-old, who has many decades to ride out stock market volatility in pursuit of real returns, to have even 20% invested in bonds.

Americans In Their 20s

What is a 401k? | by Wall Street Survivor
  • Average balance: $10,500
  • Contribution rate: 7%

Seven percent? That wont get the job done. Time plus compound growth are the two most powerful forces in wealth building. And when youre in your 20s, those two forces are on your side!

The reality is, the earlier you start investing, the better! Even just five years can make a huge differenceand that determines when you can or should retire.

So, in your 20s, even if youre not earning much yet, build a strong financial foundation. Get out of debt. Build your emergency fund. As soon as youve done that, start investing 15% of your income in retirement. After all, what looks like a little now will look like a whole lot more as you get closer to retirement!

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So How Much Retirement Savings Do You Need To Retire Comfortably

As we noted earlier, it can be quite difficult to determine exactly how much you may need to retire comfortably. This is perhaps why there are a lot of things that go into planning for your retirement. The problem is, most Americans are not prepared for retirement, especially when looking at the financial side of things. Remember, planning for retirement doesn’t necessarily revolve around having a given amount of money. Instead, it’s all about having enough to live comfortably in retirement.

Again, we all have what might constitute living comfortably and this may differ from one individual to the other. With that in mind, the amount of money you require to retire comfortably isn’t as easy as it may seem. Generally, it’s been suggested by retirement experts that you may need about 80% of your working days’ salary to live comfortably in retirement.

You should, therefore, have a retirement budget that’s mainly based on the type of lifestyle that you want to lead in your post-working career. This should form the basis of your plan but you should consider things such as:

  • âUnexpected medical expenses
  • Other expenses such as entertainment and travel

Average 401 Balance By Age

Retirement savings grow with compound interest, which means account balances increase with time. Like other types of retirement accounts, money saved in a 401 grows like a snowball, with interest earning interest on itself. The older you are, the more time you’ve had to build up your savings.

Note: In 2022, employees can contribute up to $20,500 in their 401. Employees over 50 can contribute an additional catch-up contribution of $6,500.

With compounding interest, the earlier money is put into an account, the more opportunity it has to grow, and the greater the possible returns. In retirement accounts like 401s, building retirement savings early means a greater opportunity for growth.

Here’s the average amount people have saved for retirement by age group, according to Vanguard’s data.



While a large disparity in savings exists, women often need greater retirement savings than men to retire comfortably. Women tend to live longer and could therefore need more long-term care than men, which could require greater spending in retirement.

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Review Your Contribution Rate

The more you contribute to your 401k, the more growth you could see. If you havent checked your contribution rate recently, it may be a good idea to calculate how much youre saving and whether you could increase that amount. At the very least, its a good idea to contribute enough to qualify for the full employer matching contribution if your company offers one.

As noted above, if your plan offers automatic yearly increases, take advantage of that feature. Behavioral finance studies have shown repeatedly that the more you automate your savings, the more you save.

Case Study Eight Black Swan Events Like A Global Pandemic

The Rise Of 401(k) Millionaires: Living Large In Retirement

Who would have forecasted a global pandemic that caused months of lockdowns in America and around the world? The S& P 500 sold off by 32% from peak to trough in March 2020, and many people panicked and sold some stock. Its understandable since the previous recession saw a 55% drop in the S& P 500.

In addition, who would have thought the S& P 500 would rebound so quickly and surge far beyond its pre-pandemic highs so quickly? You just never know, which is why its good to stay invested for the long run.

Today, there are more 401 millionaires than ever before because the stock market is at an all-time high. But capital preservation is important.

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