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Average 401(k) Balance by Age

Octodad

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,658
You're not alone and discussing retirement on the internet is often an exercise in flexing one's wealth or misery. There are lot of assholes on the internet that will basically make it sound like you should just kill yourself if you didn't start your IRA at age 18 or 20 or whatever.

The medians in the OP tell the story about where we're actually at in society in saving for retirement. All these planners and such say you need to have millions of dollars saved up and that's just not going to be the case for 90% of society. I get that we're in a "fuck boomers" mindset politically right now but taking care of the elderly is going to be a major issue as fewer people retire with pensions or adequate retirement plans and more and more people retire with insufficient savings.
I think it's important to understand how important it is to save for retirement. I also think it's important to recognize that many people struggle to save anything. That said, if you're 35 you're far from hopeless. You can easily invest soon and be ok. I hate the despair people try to burden people with who didn't save in their 20s. The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago, the second best time is today.
 

nel e nel

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,631
Do you mean a Roth IRA? Some people make too much for one. Some people can't afford to even get to the employer match.
No, individual IRAs which almost anyone can set up.
You blatantly said if all you do is have a 401k you're fucked.

Then you said if you had a IRA you'd be good.

That's makes no sense regardless of if I'm in the minority.

If I just had a 401k and put $19,000 a year in it I would be doing amazing. Not "fucked."
I mean if you want to read the thread with a lack of nuance that’s great. But again, you are in the minority being able to save 19k a year as was already stated in the OP.

Sixty somethings (Age 60–69)
Average 401(k) balance: $195,500
Median 401(k) balance: $62,000
Contribution rate (% of income): 11.2%
 

twentytwo22

Member
Oct 25, 2017
559
Thirtysomethings (Age 30–39)
Average 401(k) balance: $42,400
Contribution rate (% of income): 7.8%

Not mid-way through my 30s yet but I'm above the average. I contribute 9% to my 403(b). I've got a Roth rolling, as well.
 

Octodad

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,658
No, individual IRAs which almost anyone can set up.


I mean if you want to read the thread with a lack of nuance that’s great. But again, you are in the minority being able to save 19k a year as was already stated in the OP.
I'm not trying to have a lack of nuance. But putting money in an IRA vs. a 401k is not going to make a difference depending on the situation and may be tax disadvantaged depending on their situation. IRAs are not magical or better than 401ks. I would argue that saying "if all you have is a 401k, you're fucked." Is the statement that lacks nuance.

I think I get what you're saying, but I want to make sure people here are getting confused financially.
 
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Darren Lamb

Member
Dec 1, 2017
231
I regret not putting more in my 401k when I was earlier in my career, but I think I always got the full match at least, and I've got a decent thing going now. I just turned 30 and have about 75% of my annual salary in retirement accounts and another 30% in cash savings. Every paycheck I contribute 10% in my 403b, my employer gives me another 10%, and I put another 5% in my high yield savings
 

Beren

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,769
I have nothing invested and no money with which to invest in things. Hurray!
 

night814

Member
Oct 29, 2017
6,951
Pennsylvania
I have a 403b retirement plan because I work for the county home and I'm way up in the 30-39 range, like 3.5x as much so that feels good. Contributing 12% for the first 8 years I worked there definitely helped.
 

StillEdge

Member
Oct 29, 2017
144
I'm not a financial expert, but I understand this stuff pretty well. If you want to PM me I can give you a basic run down.

Basically it works like this though.

If you have a 401k or 403b (it's basically the same) at work you can contribute up to $19,000 ($19,500 in 2020) to it per year. This money is put in there before taxes, so no taxes get taken out. You can't touch it until you retire. When you do take it out at retirement, it will be taxed, but at the income you're making then (which is likely less).

A lot of employers match up to a certain amount. So if they match an amount, you should at least put that in. Not only are you not getting taxed, but you're getting instant doubling of your money from an employer.

A Roth IRA is an account you can put money in after taxes. You can put $6,000 a year into it. You put this money in after tax. But! When you retire, you don't have to pay taxes on it. So as it accrues, all of the money that it makes won't be taxed when you take it out.

So the basic idea is this:

401k - give at least what your employer matches because that's instant doubling of your money.

After that (if you can)

Roth IRA - $6,000

After that (if you can)

401k - Maximum ($19,000 of our own money in 2019)

After that (if you can)

Your own stock investments

The only disclaimer is if you make more than $194,000 (or $203,000 in 2020) as a household you can't use a Roth legally.
Alright fam. I think I fixed it. Should be past the average for 20-29 in like a year. I was only contributing 4% doubled that to a nice 8%.
 

Studge

Member
Oct 25, 2017
669
Oh neat, I'm 36 and my balance is right in between the fortysomething and fiftysomething average amounts. I contribute 10% and my employer contributes 6%.
 

Fuhgeddit

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,241
28, have 32k in my Rollover IRA. Hard to save money to be honest. Feel like I’m working paycheck to paycheck and my wife wants to have a kid some time next year.
 

reKon

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,557
28, have 32k in my Rollover IRA. Hard to save money to be honest. Feel like I’m working paycheck to paycheck and my wife wants to have a kid some time next year.
create an annual budget so you understand the typically costs that are hitting you

download the app personal capital and/or mint (I prefer personal capital) and add all your accounts so you can track your actual expenses

once you have this knowledge and power you will be able to know exactly where you can cut costs and save towards a goal (balance retirement saving and saving for baby)
 

Fuhgeddit

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,241
create an annual budget so you understand the typically costs that are hitting you

download the app personal capital and/or mint (I prefer personal capital) and add all your accounts so you can track your actual expenses

once you have this knowledge and power you will be able to know exactly where you can cut costs and save towards a goal (balance retirement saving and saving for baby)
probably video games andalways eating out
 

mhayes86

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,394
Virginia
These always seem to say something different. I've seen twice your salary, and with this it's a static number. According to this, I meet above average for my 401k, and just started maxing it out this year.
 
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Aquavelvaman

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,767
Never been with a company that matched, and the 401k options I have aren’t great. Maxing out my Roth IRA has done well for me though, as well as a taxable brokerage account.
 

Watevaman

Member
Oct 30, 2017
204
I had a retirement account at my last job. Current job has a pension. I don't have anything personal right now. Is there any guide out there to 401k vs IRA or whatever and how the hell to get started if your job doesn't set one up? Figure I should be putting some money away.
 
Oct 27, 2017
6,645
I had a retirement account at my last job. Current job has a pension. I don't have anything personal right now. Is there any guide out there to 401k vs IRA or whatever and how the hell to get started if your job doesn't set one up? Figure I should be putting some money away.
You can only have a 401k through a job. You can set up a traditional or Roth IRA through investment companies, such as Vanguard and Charles Schwab. They make it as simple as possible on their websites.
 

Octodad

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,658
These always seem to say something different. I've seen twice your salary, and with this it's a static number. According to this, I meet above average for my 401k, and just started maxing it out this year.
These averages aren’t really good, it’s just what they are.

it should be waaaaay higher.
 

Instro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,800
I just turned 30, and I am a little below the average for that age range. I wish I had more in there really, but theres been a lot of big life events over the last several years that have been priority for my savings rather than increasing 401k contributions. I also wish I had got in on my company's stock purchase program much earlier as well, but I did at least start doing that a couple years ago.
 

Coolverine

Member
May 7, 2018
277
I just turned 30, and I am a little below the average for that age range. I wish I had more in there really, but theres been a lot of big life events over the last several years that have been priority for my savings rather than increasing 401k contributions. I also wish I had got in on my company's stock purchase program much earlier as well, but I did at least start doing that a couple years ago.
yeah, employee stock purchase programs are another great thing. anyone here who works at a place that offers it, you need to also jump on this. I've done it at three companies I've worked for, current job offers it too.
 

Bumrush

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,208
Just took a new job so my old 401Ks have been converted to IRAs. Sorry if I missed it, but would that skew the analysis?
 

shazrobot

Member
Oct 28, 2017
409
31 - 1k.

Job just started offering recently. Small businesses struggle to offer these services so I feel pretty blessed.
 

SapientWolf

Member
Nov 6, 2017
3,183
I tell all the new guys to invest in their 401k like I'm some kind of stock market evangelist. You can't beat exponential growth.