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Average 401(k) Balance by Age

wenis

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,653
Lol. Well after being a contracted worker for many years and then being hired and ultimately being apart of a massive layoff, my 401K is pitiful and I’m back to contract work.

lol
 

BDS

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,179
This seems wild to me. I only have $3500 in my balance (and only $2000 is vested) but I've only had a job with a 401K for a year, and I'm in my twenties.
 

Doober

The Fallen
Jun 10, 2018
2,770
33, well above average. I've been steadily increasing my contributions from 7% to 13% since I started this job in 2010.

Also have a pension that will hopefully still be there 30 years from now, and I just recently started a mutual fund.

If all that ain't enough to keep me alive in retirement then well, it's been fun.
 

xyla

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,202
Germany
We don't have a 401k in Germany - is that how much you should safe until you retire to live off from then?
A year ago I started to invest in ETFs and I plan to do that for the next 30 years (not touching that until I'm like 10 years to retirenment and even then only if all hell breaks loose and the market collapses completely). No idea if that's gonna be enough to get me through the last 30 years.
With life ensurance and retirenment money from the state, I should get around 2k/month on top though.

This has been crawling around in the back of my head for some time now. No idea if I'm properly prepared to be honest.
 

tangeu

Member
Oct 27, 2017
655
Oh look, another reminder I'll never get to retire and will work until the day I die, without rest, without respite.

Thanks! I hate it.
 

Inkd

Member
Oct 27, 2017
87
US
I'm 33 and have just over double my annual salary in my TSP (401k equivalent). I also have just over my annual salary invested in Roth IRAs and other investment accounts.

I've had to scale back my contributions in the last couple of years due to kids and wanting to get their 529 college accounts started. I had an uneasy feeling about scaling back on my retirement, but these recommendations show that I'm well ahead of the game.
 

Xiaomi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,776
Early 30s, have no 401k, but more in savings/investments than the average. Sucks that I'm still not likely saving enough.
 

acheron_xl

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,795
MSN, WI
41. Don't have a 401k, will likely never have a 401k. Have $5 in savings. My retirement plan is 'die of a heart attack on the job'.
 

Netherscourge

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,264
I hate to say it, but my home is my retirement account.

I pretty much expect to have to sell my home when I hit retirement age and move into some little rental to live off my home sale profit, whatever it may be at the time.

I have a small IRA and I hope to get vested into a 401K at work soon, but I don't see myself having enough money saved up at 65 to get me through the end of my days without selling off my home.
 

Landy828

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,682
Clemson, SC
These figures seems extremely low.

I thought I was doing bad for my age but apparently I'm doing above average? Jesus Christ, we're so fucked is SS gets dismantled...
I'm working till I die if SS goes under.

Those seem low as shit. Or Americans are a lot poorer than I thought
Most Americans are WAY poorer than you probably thought. People around here would consider my wife and I "rich". We're not even close, and we barely have any savings. Wife has a 401k and one other small savings account. I have two SUPER low savings accounts, with barely anything in them. Sucks.

I do have $40k+ in land in my name and my brother's name we inherited, but the idiot won't agree to sale or develop it to make any money. We both have to agree and his stupid broke tail is "nostalgic" for the land, so he doesn't want to "mess it up".
 

daveo42

Member
Oct 25, 2017
12,114
Ohio
I'm ahead of the curve, at least based on people in similar age. Having twice my current income tho in 3 years? LOL
Doesn't help that the money I do have saved is pre-tax, so I'll get to pay out the ass when I eventually draw from it in 30 years.

It didn't help that within two years of contributing to a 401k, I lost most of the money I had put into it thanks to the recession. It wasn't much, but it was at least a few thousand dollars. I haven't started contributing to my 401k in my new role and am waiting on the new year as we are changing investment companies and I might be leaving the company in the next few weeks.
 
Jan 29, 2018
2,014
Like others have said those figures seem low to me. That article says you should have half hour salary saved in a 401k by age 30, but I've definitely read that the recommendation is to have the whole equivalent of your salary saved by 30.
 

Yaboosh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,303
We are at about 2.5x household income in mid 30s. We save a lot and i have issues with spending money i have to work on but i still think the sacrifices have been worth it.
 

pj-

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,091
My sister is almost 40 and has nothing saved for retirement. I talked to her about it recently and she was basically like "well it's too late to start now"

When she's old and has to live with me I'm going to be a dick about it and constantly remind her of all the times she took an uber instead of the subway
 

Pagusas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,490
Frisco, Tx
Between my wife and I we are pretty good on the 401k front, but not great. But our real estate holdings are way above average.
 
Oct 27, 2017
789
Start as early as you can...don't make the mistake i did and blow it off. Didn't start mine until just a few years ago and i kick myself everyday for it.
 

Pwnz

Member
Oct 28, 2017
7,099
Places
These figures seems extremely low.

I thought I was doing bad for my age but apparently I'm doing above average? Jesus Christ, we're so fucked is SS gets dismantled...
They are extremely low. I think most people can't or won't save anything meaningful, and then there's the minority of those that do which is why the averages and medians are so different.

SS won't get dismantled because all of the people at the median are going to be half the voting base.
 

Chixdiggit

Member
Oct 31, 2017
801
Can somebody explain to me why the huge difference between Median and Average? Doesn't make sense to me that it would be that different.
 

Piston

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,119
I am above the average in the age range above me and above the median for all of them. Contributing 15% and almost maxing it out each year and with employer profit sharing I go over the typical max (but that doesn't count towards my individual contributions). Part of me wants to slow down and start investing more in accounts that I don't have to wait almost 40 years to access without penalty.
Can somebody explain to me why the huge difference between Median and Average? Doesn't make sense to me that it would be that different.
Pretty obvious, there are people who have multiple millions saved up that skew up the average. The median takes into account how many people have have none or close to none.
 

Umbrella Carp

Member
Jan 16, 2019
2,287
There will be like...12 disastrous economic crashes before I am old enough to be eligible for this. I won't see a cent of my 401k.
 

El_TigroX

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,613
New York, NY
Not where I need to be, but making up for time. The Great Recession stopped me dead in my tracks for a few years just trying to stay afloat. So I didn’t start when I should have. But I also have additional investments now and a IRA, so I’m doing better.
It’s so frustrating though... for years, worked at a place that contributed nothing
 

ascii42

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,150
Those numbers are a bit alarming to me, but hopefully at least a good chunk of the older people also have a pension.
Like others have said those figures seem low to me. That article says you should have half hour salary saved in a 401k by age 30, but I've definitely read that the recommendation is to have the whole equivalent of your salary saved by 30.
I've also heard whole salary by 35. Trying to come up with a target at 30 is tricky because the amount of your 20s spent working varies from person to person. Also, your salary can increase considerably in that time period.
 

Yaboosh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,303
I feel like a stand-alone 401k number is useless. Should just be total investments.
 

tokkun

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,624
Seems hard to ever get at equity when you have to live somewhere.
Not really. It's fairly common for people to sell their house and buy a smaller place or rent in their retirement. People don't need a 4-bedroom house once the kids have moved out, and they may not want to deal with the maintenance as they get older. Some people will also move in with relatives or to a retirement community if they have difficulty living on their own.

In any case, you would agree that it is not accurate to say that a person who rents and has $50K in their 401K is better off than someone who owns a $300K home and has $25K in their 401K, right? That's my point. In the US there is a big culture around home ownership as part of the "American Dream", so it is usually the case that people will invest in a home before they start putting money into a 401K or an IRA.
 

reKon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,557
The timing of this post is perfect, I was just wondering what percent I should be doing. I’m at like 5% but I will up it closer to 8% now.
It should be at least 10% to 15%. Does your company offer matching? If so you have to do what you need to get that - no excuse.

When I started at my company, I did 13% (would have done more but you know, student loans). I think a few years later, I started getting the company match which got me an a additional amount to get me to at least 15% which what I was targeting at the very least.

A year ago I refianced student loans to a low rate so I've focused on just maxing out my retirement accounts since which doesn't leave me with much left over.

Why am I doing this?

Because contributing as much as possible as early as possible will literally save you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the long run and get you to retirement earlier.

To do what I did for the first few years did take a lot of sacrafice. No vacations and controlling spending like I was still a college student. But doing this means that I can contribute a lot less in the future and still be OK due to the forces of compound interest and understanding my annual spending. This is how people basically generate wealth who didn't start with anything.

I do understand that my starting salary was relatively good for someone at 23, but it's not like I was making engineer or software developer money. Had 70K+ of student loan debt I had to get started on eliminating.

Through this whole process I tracked spending and now understand that disregarding student loans, my annual spending is like 30K to 35K a year while living comfortably. I could push this down further down too if I really tried, at the expense how maybe not living as comfortably. I think I have a few advantages here though (in Chicago - slightly expensive, but also don't need a car).

Doing the math, if I was locked to 50K a year, I would be able to save at least 10% and more once student loans were paid off. There are people in the US who have become millionaires on 50K salaries just by living within their means contributing at an early age. I can't stress enough how important this is.

I know someone here is going to reply and tell me that 50K is a lot of money and I'm not being reasonable here. One thing to note is that this is 50K in Chicago, which might 40K elsewhere in the US where the cost of living is cheaper.
 

Yaboosh

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,303
Not really. It's fairly common for people to sell their house and buy a smaller place or rent in their retirement. People don't need a 4-bedroom house once the kids have moved out, and they may not want to deal with the maintenance as they get older. Some people will also move in with relatives or to a retirement community if they have difficulty living on their own.

In any case, you would agree that it is not accurate to say that a person who rents and has $50K in their 401K is better off than someone who owns a $300K home and has $25K in their 401K, right? That's my point. In the US there is a big culture around home ownership as part of the "American Dream", so it is usually the case that people will invest in a home before they start putting money into a 401K or an IRA.
Oh certainly it’s better to have equity than not. That’sa big thing we are missing is any sort of property investment or home ownership. I just feel so much more flexible not having one. My wife is the big earner and she works in health care. That makes me nervous to assume her money train will continue ten+ years down the line so we’ve avoided buying a house in an elevated market. That plus we would have to live in the burbs.
 

Endaeias

Member
Jan 11, 2018
302
These figures seem extremely low.

I thought I was doing bad for my age but apparently I'm doing above average? Jesus Christ, we're so fucked is SS gets dismantled...
The problem is that the average American doesn't exactly start off in positions that pay well enough to start investing in their 401(k). On top of that, I would assume that the majority of Americans do not even have any contributions to their 401(k). Then you get into the territory where many employers are not matching even 1% of an employee's contribution to their 401(k). On top of that, you do have annual limits on your contributions to your 401(k) (based on age - but most never hit this cap unless they're in a well-paying position, to begin with).

But the TL;DR is: Yes, we're pretty fucked if Social Security gets dismantled. The majority of Millennials and even their parents are not necessarily in the best financial state to take care of themselves in their elderly years. Considering how much money goes into Social Security per check for those with decent salaries (anywhere from $400-5,000 for those in my age range), it would be disastrous if it were dismantled.
 

reKon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,557
I honestly think that there's no way social security will just be eliminated.

Do you all have an understanding of how this is calculated and what take for a program like this to just disappear.

What I do think is feasible and will happen is that the benefits that we receive from SS go down 60% to 70% from what we have today.
 

FliXFantatier

Master of the Reality Stone
Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
4,262
Los Angeles
I honestly think that there's no way social security will just be eliminated.

Do you all have an understanding of how this is calculated and what take for a program like this to just disappear.

What I do think is feasible and will happen is that the benefits that we receive from SS go down 60% to 70% from what we have today.
Which in effect is as good as eliminated. Who is supposed to be able to scrounge by on 30% of what SS is now?
 

reKon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,557
Which in effect is as good as eliminated. Who is supposed to be able to scrounge by on 30% of what SS is now?
60% to 70%**

And yes people would just be more screwed, but this is still income and can still really help with supplementing someone living off a 401K.

I agree that it's a good approach to assume that there will be none, but I don't see this as ever being a thing that happens. I'm prepared either way.
 

snacknuts

The Fallen
Nov 1, 2017
2,963
I'm 40 and slightly above average for the 60-69 group. I could not start saving for retirement until I was 30 and I still don't save as much as I would like because I have been working to aggressively pay off my student loans (undergrad + grad school). I will have that monkey off my back in about a year. I currently put 8% of my salary into retirement and my employer contributes 15% of my gross wages.
 

compo

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,694
I'm above the median for my age group, which I guess is reassuring, because I thought I was behind by quite a bit. But damn, those numbers are all extremely low.
 

Kill3r7

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,012
Those medians are brutal and paint a ghastly picture for people’s futures since pensions were mostly phased out.
Agreed. Those totals seem incredibly low. To the point where they are giving people a false sense of security and accomplishment. Incredibly dangerous for people in the upper age brackets.
 

lt519

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,570
I'm doing good and my wife has caught up the past few years after getting a late start. In-line with the suggested amounts for a comfortable retirement. We put a heavy priority on our 401's and our kids 529's. We're both maxing out 401's each year and are putting $3k a year into each kids 529 which just got started this year.
 

Octodad

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,657
We are little behind and playing catch up, but it's justifiable because of graduate school.

On track on retiring at 65 with higher payout than our current combined salaries. Or we'll retire early if nothing goes wrong in the next 30 years (which is might).