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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.
» Learn more: See additional 2023 retirement account statistics
Average retirement savings balance by age
Based on data from the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances — the most recent version of that survey — the median retirement savings for all families is $87,000. The average retirement savings by age is:
Average retirement savings balance amount
Source: Federal Reserve Board
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Median retirement savings balance by age
A little fine print: Because averages can be heavily skewed by outliers — in other words, the savings of over- and underachievers in each group — we’ve also included median balances in the breakdown below.
The median can often provide a more representative number than the average, and you’ll notice that the median numbers are quite a bit lower than the averages. (All data is from the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances, unless otherwise noted.)
It’s also worth noting that both figures include only those who have retirement holdings — there are many people of all ages who do not.
A 2023 NerdWallet study found that 60% of Americans don’t have a retirement-specific account.
Median retirement savings balance amount
Retirement savings by age
Average household retirement savings: $49,130
Median household retirement savings: $18,880
Let’s start with the youngest group. In the Survey of Consumer Finances, 50% of families headed by someone under age 35 had retirement accounts — meant here to include IRAs, Keoghs and certain employer-sponsored accounts such as 401(k)s, 403(b)s and thrift savings accounts.
Of the families in this age group who have retirement holdings, the average value of those holdings is $49,130, and the median value is $18,880.
» Dive into this article about how much to save for retirement
Ages 35 to 44
Average household retirement savings: $141,520
Median household retirement savings: $45,000
Nearly 62% of households headed by someone of this age range had retirement accounts, according to the data.
The average and median values of this group’s retirement holdings are significantly higher than those of the under-35 set. These are strong earning years alongside peak spending years. Particularly for those who have kids, dollars may be stretched around paying for child care, saving for college and saving for retirement. If you’re looking to increase those retirement savings, an IRA can be a great way to do it.
» Learn how to open an IRA
Ages 45 to 54
Average household retirement savings: $313,220
Median household retirement savings: $115,000
The oldest members of this group are about a decade from what’s considered the standard retirement age. About 62% of households headed by someone this age have retirement holdings, according to the survey.
These can be high earning years, especially for men, who see earnings growth until age 55, according to 2023 compensation study from research firm PayScale. The company’s found that women top out over a decade earlier, at 44.
Ages 55 to 64
Average household retirement savings: $537,560
Median household retirement savings: $185,000
These are baby boomers, and the oldest among them are knocking on retirement’s door — just a couple of short years from Social Security’s definition of full retirement age (Ranges from 65 to 67, depending on your year of birth). About 57% of households headed by a baby boomer have retirement holdings.
Ages 65 to 74
Average household retirement savings: $609,230
Median household retirement savings: $200,000
The bulk of these households include someone who is in retirement, or at least of retirement age. As a result, many are at the stage when they are probably spending, rather than accumulating, savings. According to this survey, 51% of this age group have retirement accounts.
After this point, average and median retirement account values begin to fall, as does the percentage of people who have retirement accounts. For households headed by someone age 75 or older, the median value of retirement holdings is 130,000, with an average holding of $462,410.
What is the average and median retirement savings?
The average retirement savings for all families is $333,940 according to the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances.
Taken on their own, those numbers aren’t incredibly helpful. There are a variety of decent retirement savings benchmarks out there, but how much money other people have isn’t one of them. Even breaking the numbers down by age won’t give you a great picture of where your own finances should be. After all, age is just one factor in how much you should save for retirement — and not everyone who is the same age will retire at the same time.
But retirement savings balances do tend to increase with age, as they should — the closer you are to retirement, the more you should have stashed away. (If you've been struggling to fund retirement accounts, our guide on how to save money may help.)
» Check out our retirement planning guide if you need to rework your game plan
What do these numbers tell?
The headline here: Most people aren’t saving enough for retirement and are entering retirement with too little stashed away.
According a 2023 Fidelity report, Americans on average have saved only 78% of the amount they'll need in retirement, and 52% of U.S. households may not be able to pay for essential expenses in retirement.
That’s just one reason why the average retirement savings isn’t a benchmark. If you use these numbers as your guiding star, you’ll likely be in the same state as most of the country: unprepared for retirement.
How much you should have saved, and how much you should be saving, have nothing to do with where others your age stand. It has everything to do with your income, planned retirement spending, expected retirement age and life expectancy.
If you want to find out how much you personally will need to retire, a retirement calculator can help. And if that calculator tells you you’re behind? An IRA is a good place to start catching up, and if you have more concerns about your retirement progress, a financial advisor or robo-advisor can help.
» Find the best IRA account for you