Retirement Savings: A Comprehensive Guide to Average American Savings by Age

How much should you tuck away for the golden years? Looking at the average retirement savings by age can offer a starting point. But remember, everyone’s journey is unique. Factors like your lifestyle, income, and goals matter just as much. Moreover, the financial market can be unpredictable, throwing your plans out of the window. For instance, a 2022 study by Allianz Life found that 54% of Americans have reduced or paused their retirement savings due to inflation. 

So, while it’s good to be informed about average savings, always remember that it’s your financial health and long-term goals that determine how you go about it. This article will explore the average retirement savings in America by age, highlighting critical factors like personal income and market trends. Get insights to refine your financial planning, whether starting or reassessing your goals. Let’s begin.

Average Retirement Savings by Age 

Let’s closely examine how Americans are fairing when it comes to building savings for their senior years. Statistics from the 2019 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) — the most recent report — show the median retirement savings for all American families amounted to $65,000. Here’s a breakdown of the numbers for average savings by age:

Federal Reserve SCF Data

Age RangeAverage Retirement Savings 
Under 35$30,170
Ages 35 – 44$131,950
Ages 45-54$254,720
Ages 55-64$408,420
Ages 65-74$426,070

Median Retirement Savings by Age

Before we dig further into the age-based savings trends, we must address a few important details and nuances. Averages, while informative, can sometimes be thrown off by those who are either saving far more or far less than most in their age group. The median, in contrast, gives us a number that better represents the middle ground. So, to provide a more balanced view, we’ve also included median balances in our analysis.

Median values can often offer a more accurate representation of the typical savings within a group, and you’ll observe that these median figures tend to be lower than the averages. 

It’s important to mention that both the average and median calculations consider only those who hold post-career phase nest eggs – there are individuals of all age brackets who don’t.  In 2019, roughly half of families had some form of after-work years account.

A more recent study by NerdWallet in 2023 revealed that 60% of Americans do not maintain a dedicated retirement account.

Age RangeMedian Retirement Savings 
Under 35$13,000
Ages 35 – 44$60,000
Ages 45-54$100,000
Ages 55-64$134,000
Ages 65-74$164,000

Retirement Savings by Age Groups 

Let’s break down the average savings for retirement by age – from early earners to near-retirees. 

Image credit: Unsplash

Under 35

Average Amount Per HouseholdMedian Amount Per Household

To get started, let’s examine millennials’ retirement averages. According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, about 45% of households headed by people under 35 have post-work life accounts. These accounts can take various forms, including IRAs, Keoghs, and employer-sponsored plans such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s, and thrift savings plans.

Ages 35 to 44

Average Amount Per HouseholdMedian Amount Per Household

This age group includes older millennials and the youngest members of Generation X. Notably, the data shows that more than half (56%) of households headed by people in this age group have reserves for their senior years.

Compared to the younger under-35 demographic, this cohort’s average and median data show significant growth. These middle years often bring increased financial responsibilities, from mortgage payments to college tuition for the kids. It’s a crucial time to balance saving for your sunset years and addressing immediate financial needs. 

If you want to increase your nest eggs, you should consider an IRA, a powerful tool for post-active work-life planning. 

Ages 45 to 54

Average Amount Per HouseholdMedian Amount Per Household

In the late 40s and early 50s, part of Generation X, individuals increasingly focused on planning for their later life. A significant 58% of households in this demographic have after-work years reserves. 

Notably, for men, these can be high-earning years – according to a study by research firm Payscale —with income rising until age 55, while women tend to top out earlier, at 44.

Ages 55 to 64

Average Amount Per HouseholdMedian Amount Per Household

As we zero in on the 55 to 64 age group, we find the baby boomers, many of whom are on the cusp of retirement.  Within this demographic, 54.5% of households boast funds set aside ensuring readiness for the future.

Ages 65 and Up

Average Amount Per HouseholdMedian Amount Per Household

Most of this age set comprises individuals who are either retired or have reached their sunset years. Consequently, many find themselves in the phase where they are likely using their savings rather than adding to them. So, what is the average savings of retirees? The survey reveals in households led by individuals aged 75 or older, the median value of post-work-life assets stands at $83,000, with an average holding of $357,920.

The data also shows that 48% of individuals within this age group maintain funds for their elderly years. Subsequently, as we move beyond this stage, the average and median values start to decline, accompanied by a decrease in the proportion of people holding reserves. 

Interpreting the Average and Median Retirement Savings

While these figures provide valuable insights into retirement savings, it’s important to remember that they aren’t comprehensive benchmarks for everyone. Each group’s median and average retirement fund should serve as a reference point but should not dictate your savings goals. Instead, view them as a starting point for more personalized financial planning. Your retirement savings journey is influenced by many factors, as below. 

  • Income: High earners may have the capacity to save more, but everyone must live within their means and allocate a portion of their income towards retirement.
  • Planned Spending in Later Life: Think about the lifestyle you want during after-work years. Do you envision lavish vacations or a simpler, more frugal lifestyle? Your late adulthood spending habits will influence how much you need to save.
  • Planned Age to Quit Active Career Life: Some individuals choose to retire early, while others work longer.  Retiring early typically requires a more significant nest egg to support a more extended retirement period.
  • Life Expectancy: Planning for longer golden years requires more savings. Consider your family’s health history and other factors that may impact your longevity.

Image credit: Unsplash

Challenges and the Way Forward

The most striking takeaway from the data on retirement balance by age is that, for most Americans, the nest egg they are building may not be sufficient to maintain their desired lifestyle in retirement. According to a 2023 Fidelity report, Americans have only saved 78% of what they’ll need for after-work life, and a startling 52% of households might face difficulties covering essential expenses during their golden years.

While it’s valuable to glimpse the stats on average retirement by age, relying solely on these numbers can lead to unpreparedness for later years. Your financial situation is unique, and it’s essential to tailor your post-career phase plan accordingly.

So, what steps can you take to ensure you are confidently budgeting for the future? Here are a few key recommendations:

  • Use Retirement Calculators: Retirement calculators can help you estimate how much you need to save based on your income, planned retirement age, and expected expenses. They can provide a personalized roadmap to reach your retirement goals.
  • Seek Professional Financial Advice: Consulting with a certified retirement planning advisor can be instrumental in creating a robust retirement plan. Financial experts like Interactive Wealth Advisors can help you navigate the complexities of investments, tax strategies, and retirement accounts, ensuring your plan aligns with your unique circumstances.
  • Prioritize Saving: Regardless of age, it’s never too early or late to start good savings strategies for your post-career life. Consider automating your contributions to retirement accounts, such as a 401(k) or IRA, to ensure consistent savings over time. If you are in your late 60s, remember that your savings can help sustain your current lifestyle. The average savings for retired couples should also be sufficient to address medical costs throughout retirement, which can amount to approximately $315,000 per couple.
  • Diversify Your Investments: A diversified investment portfolio can help manage risk and potentially boost your returns over the long term. Speak with a financial advisor to advise you on Investment trends and help you build a stock of intelligent and tactical investments. 


Understanding the landscape of savings average by age is an essential starting point for assessing your financial journey. While the figures presented here shed light on where many Americans stand, they should not be your sole financial compass. Personalized planning is the key to financial security in your later life.

Your path to retirement is as unique as your fingerprint. It’s shaped by income, planned spending, expected retirement age, and even your life expectancy. So, don’t let average numbers dictate your financial path. To bridge between your current and desired position, use retirement calculators, seek professional financial advice, prioritize savings, and diversify your investments. Your financial future is in your hands – make it secure and comfortable.

Interactive Wealth Advisors is a Registered Investment Advisory firm in the State of Oregon and Washington. The Adviser may not transact business in states where it is not appropriately registered, excluded or exempted from registration. Individualized responses to persons that involve either the effecting of transaction in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made without registration or exemption.
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