Investing Fundamentals

Average Net Worth By Age: How Do You Stack Up?

Updated on September 18, 2020 Updated on September 18, 2020
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average networth by age

The average American family’s net worth is $692,100. How does that number compare to yours? This post breaks down the average net worth by age group. If you want to discover how secure your financial future looks, you’ll love this post. Let’s get started.

Get out your calculator and see how you stack up against your peers. What is your net worth?

What Is Net Worth?

Knowing your net worth is one of the most important aspects of personal finance. It’s one of the best indicators we have to see if we are on target to meet our goals.

Whether you want to be debt-free, buy a home, pay for your children’s college, or retire, you need to be on target.

Net worth is a way to see what’s holding you back. It’s a powerful indicator of your financial health.

Net Worth Calculation

To calculate your net worth, subtract the total value of your debts (aka liabilities) from the total value of your assets. Simply put, assets minus liabilities. You might have a positive net worth or a negative net worth.

Not really into math?

We know someone who will do the math for you for free. Personal Capital will give you a holistic view of your net worth, compare yourself to others’ average net worth in your age or income bracket, and track progress towards your goals.

Personal Capital

Budget like a business and focus on your cash flow. In addition to their budgeting software, they have an awesome suite of tools to help you optimize your investments. Did we mention it's free?

What Does Net Worth Include?

What are your assets? Do you estimate how much every possession you own would be worth if you sold it? If you owe money on your house or car, are those assets or liabilities?

Assets

  • The market value of your investment accounts, including individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and even advanced platforms like Betterment or Fundrise
  • The market value of your retirement savings in all retirement accounts. Include ones that charge penalties for early withdrawals like 401ks and IRAs
  • The value of your home, rental property, or vehicles
  • Cash value of your checking accounts and savings accounts.
  • Items of significant value including artwork, antiques, or jewelry.

Liabilities

  • Mortgages on your primary residence and rental properties
  • Car loans and auto loans
  • Student loans
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Back taxes
  • Medical debt
  • Liens or judgments against you

What Gets Measured Gets Managed.

Now that you know what your net worth is, what should it be? The numbers are different for everyone because there are a lot of variables involved, but there are some general yardsticks that you can measure your numbers against.

Median vs. Mean Net Worth

Mean net worth is the average number of all the net worths. The median is the number that falls in the middle (or the middle value of the mean).

Here is the mean and median net worth by age. Remember, the mean is skewed by the nation’s super-wealthy, so don’t freak out.

For example, if you’re comparing the mean net worth of people in their 50’s, Jeff Bezos (valued at $121 billion) gets included along with the average American.

The median net worth of the average U.S. household is $97,300, while the mean is $692,100.

But the overall figures are just one indicator.

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What’s a Good Net Worth at 30?

The average net worth for families in the U.S. under the age of 35 was $76,200 while the median net worth was $11,100.

networth-by-age-30

Maybe you had jobs as a teen and through college, but now you started your grown-up career and may have student loan debt, so it can be hard to start building net worth.

Your goal at this point in your life is to have half of your salary saved by age 30.

If you’re making $40,000 a year, that’s $20,000. It sounds impossible, but you have a few years to get there, and it’s easier than you think.

You may not have had a budget while you were in college. If not, now is the time to make one. A budget will tell you what’s coming in and going out each month.

It will show you where you are wasting money that would be better spent paying off debt or investing for your future.

Invest Your Money to Build Wealth

Now that we’ve established your budget and your student loan debt has a low-interest rate, you need something to do with that extra money. It’s time to invest.

Every day that passes before you start investing is money lost. There is no magic involved in investing, but there is a secret ingredient, time.

Typically we recommend people under 30 invest in the Golden Butterfly Portfolio.

Golden Butterfly Portfolio

This portfolio is a modified version of the Permanent Portfolio with one additional asset class. This is done to incorporate some of the characteristics of a few other notable lazy portfolios.

What you do in your 20's can lay the foundation for your entire financial life.

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Even small amounts of money invested now will grow exponentially because of the power of compounding interest.

The best places to start investing are brokerage firms like Vanguard, robo-advisors like Betterment, and your 401k if your employer offers one.

Betterment might be the easiest because there is a low bar to get started, no minimum, you need to know nothing about investing, and the fees are low.

If you aren’t contributing to your 401k, that’s next. One of the reasons people don’t invest is because they don’t pay themselves first.

They have good intentions; whatever money is leftover at the end of each month, they will start investing. But too often, there is no money left and investing is delayed.

When you participate in your 401k, the money is taken out of your paycheck before you see it, and you can’t spend what you can’t see.

Even better, does your employer offer matching? If they do, that is free money. Even if you have credit card debt, contribute enough to your 401k to be eligible for the match.

If you want to discover more about investing, we designed a whole blueprint to guide you through the process. You will never again have so few expenses and responsibilities as you do now. Take advantage of that.

Reaching Your Goals

We like Personal Capital because it’s easy to use and free.

To get started, all you have to do is attach your bank and credit card accounts, and they do the rest. It pulls those transactions into the program so you can see everything in one place.

Next, you can set up your budget. You can dive deep by setting up lots of different categories, but if you’re just starting, it’s okay to cover the basics like housing, utilities, and food.

If you find that you keep going over budget in specific categories, you can break them down further like groceries, dinners out, lunches out, convenience store snacks until you see where the problem is.

quicken-alternatives-personal-capital

No idea how your budget should break down?

Use the 50/30/20 Budget Rule

There are tons of different formulas, but we like 50/30/20 because it’s simple. 50% of your income goes to fixed expenses like rent and utilities, 30% goes to variable costs like food and entertainment, and 20% goes to your financial goals, saving, or paying off debt.

Live like a college student for as long as you can, whether that means staying at home with mom and dad for a few extra years, living with roommates, or keeping your cheap college apartment.

When your housing and utility costs are low, you can tackle the student debt you have. You also may need to consider taking on a side hustle to make some extra cash.

If you have student loan debt, what is the interest rate? If it’s higher than 3-4%, you might consider refinancing.

Even a 1% decrease in interest rates can save hundreds or thousands of dollars over the life of a loan.

You can shop for rates with Earnest or negotiate the amount of your debt with National Debt Relief. They negotiate with your creditors to reduce what you owe and help you be debt-free faster.

If you’re lucky enough not to have student debt, you can use this time to build up six months worth of expenses for a fully-funded emergency fund. Once the emergency fund is in place, you can start investing.

What’s a Good Net Worth by 40?

The average net worth for families between the ages of 35 and 44 was $288,700, and the median was reported at $59,800.

The Federal Reserve Board’s triennial Survey of Consumer Finances is set to publish its latest findings in late 2020 for the period between 2016-2019.

Your goal in your 30’s is to have twice your yearly salary saved by age 40. If you’re now making $75,000, you should have a net worth of $150,000 when you’re a 40-year old.

networth-by-age-40

You may find yourself financing life on credit cards due to increased demands for your money. Spouses, homes, and children require more attention.

If you have credit card debt, it is going to be a struggle to stay on target. The average APR on a credit card is in the mid-teens, but it can be much higher.

If you just pay the minimums each month, you are never going to pay this debt off, and it will continue to drag down your net worth.

You need to attack this debt immediately. Don’t just throw money at these balances without a plan.

To pay off credit card debt efficiently, you can use the snowball or the stack method. Both have pros and cons, so read the specifics and decide which is best for you.

You and your spouse also need to look at income and expenses.

If the kids are in private school, you’re taking expensive vacations, you bought way more house than you can afford, and you’re driving new cars but don’t have any savings, something must change.

Your investing needs to become a little more sophisticated than it was in your 20’s.

Invest In Your Retirement

You should also be maxing out your 401k and opening an IRA (or Roth Ira) as well. If you have children, you may want to consider a 529 college savings plan, but not to the detriment of your retirement.

They have a lot longer to pay off student loans than you have to save for retirement.

If you have dependents, you need to buy life insurance. Health IQ rewards healthy people with lower premiums.

You also need to make a will and include who would get custody of your minor children in the event you and your spouse were to die.

What Should Your Net Worth Be at 50?

The average net worth for Americans between the ages of 45 and 54 is $727,500, and the median is at $124,200. By age 50, your net worth should be four times your salary.

average net worth by age 50

If you make $100,000 a year, your target is $400,000. The good news is, this is likely to be the time in your career where you are earning the most money you will ever make.

You should assess your current position every year or two. Are you getting what you’re worth? What are other people in similar jobs getting?

When was your last raise? How much was it? It’s been shown that those who loyally stay at a company for more than two years make 50% less over their careers than job hoppers.

Loyalty is not rewarded. Your only commitment is to yourself.

Even if you’re happy where you are, you should always be on the lookout for a better opportunity. Attend networking events and stay plugged into new developments in your industry.

Grow Your Passive Income

It’s also a good time to start looking for ways to create a passive income stream. You now have more working years behind you than you have ahead of you, and you need to find ways to have money coming in after you’ve stopped working.

Rental property is our favorite form of passive income, and if you do it right, owning a rental property can be a completely hands-off experience.

In fact, Andrew started investing in real estate using turnkey rental properties, documented the entire process, and created a course on how he did it.

His experience provided him and his family with a generous passive income stream.

Rental Properties for Passive Investors

Our proven, data-driven approach to building a portfolio of income-producing rental properties that perform in the long-term.

You can see the course here.

If you want to invest in real estate without having to own a property, invest with Fundrise. Fundrise is an e-REIT and similar to investing in an ETF like Betterment.

If you still owe on your mortgage, it’s time to focus on getting that paid off.

What Should Your Net Worth Be at 60?

The average net worth for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 is $1,167,400, and the median is at $187,300.When you reach 60, your net worth should be six times your yearly salary.

average net worth by age 60

What Will Your Retirement Look Like

Currently, the maximum you can contribute to a 401k is $19,500 per year, and for an IRA, it’s $6,000. However, once you reach age 50, those numbers increase.

The max for a 401k is $26,000 per year and $7,000 for an IRA. Now is the time to max these out to the increased limits.

You should start thinking about what you want your retirement to look like. Are you going to downsize your home because you’re now an empty nester?

You won’t be tied to a location for your career, do you want to move to a new place, perhaps an area with a lower cost of living than where you are now?

Do you want to continue to work in some capacity, perhaps part-time or as a consultant? Is there a career you would like to pursue in the second half of your life now that money is less of a consideration? Perhaps you will want to go back to school.

You don’t have to make any decisions, but you should start planning what you want your post-working life to look like.

Your asset allocation needs to change to reflect your shortened investing horizon. Shift your allocation away from stocks toward less-risky bonds.

Get the Correct Insurance Coverage

Medical debt is the most significant cause of bankruptcy in America, and 40% of those who filed, for this reason, had health insurance. Do you have enough coverage?

If you don’t already have disability insurance, now is the time to investigate it. If you were unable to work, disability insurance could replace that lost income. How is your health?

Do any close relatives have chronic or genetic diseases?

Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of things like home health aids, so if you think you will want to stay in your home as long as possible when you can longer do daily things like cooking or bathing for yourself, buy long-term care insurance.

Net Worth by Retirement

The average net worth between the age range of 65 and 74 is $1,066,000. However, the median net worth is $224,000. When you are ready to retire, you should have ten times your final salary saved.

average net worth by age retirement

Now you have to make some final decisions about the things we were considering above; will you move to a smaller, cheaper home, perhaps a condo or apartment, so you aren’t responsible for upkeep?

Use the 4% Rule

You can use the 4% rule to get your final retirement number. You can safely withdraw 4% of your savings every year for at least 30 years without running out of money.

If you plan to live on $60,000 a year, you need to have $1.5 million saved by the time you retire. Is that ten times your final salary?

Do you want to move to a new part of the country or move abroad? If you’ve lived in an urban area for your career, there are places where your dollar will go further.

Are you going to continue to work in some capacity? At what age do you want to start taking Social Security?

You should update your will. Your children are grown, and you know how they’ve turned out.

Maybe there is one black sheep you can’t leave a lump sum of money too, and you need to put it into a trust. If you have grandchildren, you may want to set up a trust for them as well.

If you haven’t done it already, you need to make arrangements for your medical care.

Who will have power of attorney in the event you are unable to make a personal or financial decision? What kind of measures should be taken to save your life?

Do you want to be on life support? Pre-planning and pre-paying for your funeral can take a lot of strain off your family at what will already be a tough time.

None of these are pleasant things to think about, but once you have them in place, you don’t have to think about them again. And you can enjoy the retirement you have worked so hard for.

Milestones

Don’t feel bad if your net worth is not where it should be. Financial situations differ. We’ve given you plenty of ideas to help you get there. And the numbers are individual to all of us.

Some of us plan to live in areas where the cost of living is low while others will remain childfree (which frees up about a quarter of a million dollars).

Some of us will inherit money from our parents while some will marry rich!

Even though these numbers are guidelines, you should track your net worth and see how you measure up. If you’re behind, determine how much you’ll need to catch up.

It’s never too late to get your financial house in order. Start today, not tomorrow.

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Candice Elliott - Senior Editor Candice Elliott is a substantial contributor to Listen Money Matters. She has been a personal finance writer since 2013 and has written extensively on student loan debt, investing, and credit. She has successfully navigated these areas in her own life and knows how to help others do the same. Candice has answered thousands of questions from the LMM community and spent countless hours doing research for hundreds of personal finance articles. She happily calls New Orleans, Louisiana home-the most fun city in the world.
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