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Average Savings by Age

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.

Average 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 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances and figures reference what is referred to in the survey as “transaction accounts.”

Average Savings by Age Group
Age Average Savings Balance
35 and younger $11,250
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. You can also take advantage of catch-up contributions at this time. In then after age 65, average savings sometimes drops over time, which is somewhat normal for those in retirement.

Why Saving Is Important

Perhaps the most important financial goal for any American is the prospect of retiring as soon as they can financially sustain it. But along the way to retirement, you’ll need money set aside for other important things, such as your children’s college tuition, a home, a car, vacations and much more.

The key to all of this is saving money for the future. While this can be easier said than done, failing to do so adequately could have a major effect on your quality of life, especially later in life. Remember, though, there are many tried-and-true strategies out there that can help you set aside funds for you and your family’s future.

Strategies for Saving More

Average Savings by Age

The most basic form of saving comes from budgeting. While this might sound like an obvious point, make sure you have this step of the saving process complete. Itemizing all of your purchases into a collective budget can help you find where you’re overspending. Once you identify those areas and make a change, you can redirect those funds into your savings.

Some other simple ways to save money include getting a part-time job, starting a side hustle or full-on starting a business. Although these are totally viable options, they’re not necessarily a real option for many Americans. If you have kids, already have multiple jobs or have any other extenuating circumstances, then these may not be viable options.

Perhaps the most powerful tool for long-term saving is investing. Investments can include anything and everything, from opening a CD to buying real estate to purchasing a few stocks of your favorite companies. The reason investing is potent for long-term savings is because of compound interest, which allows your money to continually grow on top of itself.

The choice of which investments you should go with depends on many factors, the most important of which is your risk tolerance. This principle is a representation of how nervous or undeterred you are in regards to investing in riskier things, like stocks. Understanding what kind of investor you are will allow you to focus on certain types of investments.

For instance, if you’re young and years away from retiring, you may be much more willing to risk your money on the stock market based on the assumption that higher returns could be attainable. On the other hand, someone who’s near retirement might want to steer clear of riskier investments and instead focus on safer things like bonds or CDs. Lastly, a middle-aged person with a family might fall somewhere in between these two extremes.

Regardless of where you land on the spectrum of risk tolerance, investing your money through a brokerage account or financial advisor can have major benefits over the long term.

Savings Recommendations vs. Reality

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. However, 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).

Bottom Line

Average Savings by Age

Average savings account balances depend on many factors, including age, income, your legal status and more. Age may sometimes affect how much experience you have, how much you make and what your expenses might be. Therefore it should come as no surprise that those who are older generally have more in the bank than their younger counterparts. Multiple income streams, including investing, starting a business or working with a financial advisor, can help you prepare for the future.

Tips for Navigating Your Savings

  • Managing your savings, investments and life in general can be quite difficult. A financial advisor can help you get your money matters in order. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve 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.
  • 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. SmartAsset’s 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/arthon meekodong, ©iStock.com/damircudic, ©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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