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Image shows a jar labeled "Emergency Fund" with cash bills in it. SmartAsset takes a closer look at average savings by age group.

If you have enough money, putting some kind of savings aside for both short- and long-term goals is important. After covering general expenses for your daily or monthly budget, an emergency fund could help you prepare for short-term costs such as unforeseen medical, auto, travel and other bills. Long-term savings can, of course, be used towards things that are less of an emergency, like planning for future vacations, buying a car or a home, and retirement. A financial advisor could help you create a financial plan for these goals. Let’s take a look at how you compare with the average savings by age group in 2021.

Savings Recommendations vs. Reality

Image shows calculators sitting next to stacks of coins with small plants growing out of them. SmartAsset takes a closer look at average savings by age group.

The first thing to remember when thinking about savings is that the capacity to save is a very important factor. While the typical recommendation is to have three to six months’ worth, many Americans simply don’t have the ability to squirrel that much away. Recommendations can give you a good sense of a ballpark, but the reality for each person or household will by no means look the same as the others. Situations can vary based on factors that are individual (a life event or adjustment of one’s daily needs) and/or large-scale (such as national or world events).

Savings by Age Group

In the same way that spending broadly varies by generation and age group, average savings figures do too. The below data is based on the 2019 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances and figures reference what is referred to in the survey as “transaction accounts.”

Age Average Savings Account Balance
35 and younger $11,200
35 – 44 $27,900
45 – 54 $48,200
55 – 64 $57,800
65 and older $60,400

The youngest and oldest age groups will of course have the most variation within them. The youngest cohort, after all, includes minors who are unlikely to have much savings at all, and the oldest includes retired folks who are working their way through their savings. A central habit to remember and perhaps start building at a younger age is to start an emergency fund and save as much as possible, before other responsibilities and expenses (such as rent and insurance) start to kick in.

When thinking about saving for more long-term financial goals such as retirement, average amounts also vary by age group. Based on the data from Federal Reserve report, retirement savings increase with each age group and can often become more aggressive as the traditional retirement age approaches (when it could also be time to think about catch-up contributions to an account). Average savings sometimes drops over time after age 65.

Multiple Income Streams Can Help You Save

If you have the capacity to do so, there are many ways to set aside some money for an emergency fund or other savings account – and it’s never too late. Depending on schedules and ability, a variety of other sources of income can be available to you. These include getting a part-time job or opening a business.

Saving is different from investing, which is another option to consider as an income stream. While investing is riskier than saving and serves a different purpose, it can help you grow some savings without having to actively work at a job to earn them.

Bottom Line

Image shows stacks of coins next to a piggy bank. SmartAsset takes a closer look at average savings by age group.

Average savings account balances depend on many factors, including age. Age may sometimes affect how much experience you have, how much you make and what your expenses might be. Multiple income streams, including investing, can help you save more.

Tips for Navigating Your Savings

  • Need help finding a financial advisor? SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors in your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • Budgeting benefits everyone. Another way to make sure your money covers all your bases is to plan ahead. A good start is to take a good look at how you’re allocating your money. Our free budget calculator can help you spend just what you need in certain parts of your life and still feel like a million bucks.

Image credits: ©iStock.com/designer491, ©iStock.com/arthon meekodong, ©iStock.com/Khanisorn Chaokla

Nadia Ahmad, CEPF® Nadia Ahmad is a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF®) and a member of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW). Her interest in taxes and grammar makes writing about personal finance a perfect fit! Nadia has spent ten years working as a seasonal income tax assistant, researching federal, state and local tax code and assisting in preparing tax returns. Nadia has a degree in English and American Literature from New York University and has served as an instructor/facilitator for a variety of writing workshops in the NYC area.
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