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SmartAsset: Average Retirement Savings for Married Couples by Age

A recent study from the career experts Zety says that 40% of respondents fear retirement more than death. And almost nine in 10 responded that their biggest retirement fear is not having enough income. For married couples, planning retirement for two people can be complicated. How much they will need will depend on their financial circumstances. Here’s a breakdown of the average retirement savings for couples by age.

A financial expert could help you create a financial plan for your retirement needs and goals.

What Are Average Retirement Savings By Age?

Unfortunately, many Americans aren’t putting enough money away for their future. In fact, 25% of Americans have no retirement savings at all according to a report from PWC. And among those who haven’t saved enough for retirement, EBRI research estimates that households as of January 2020 saved $3.68 trillion less than what they should have in their retirement accounts.

Another study by Vanguard calculated the average 401(k) balances by age. The table below breaks down average and median balances by age group:

401(k) Balances By Age Group
Age Average 401(k) Balance Median 401(k) Balance
<25 $6,718 $2,240
25-34 $33,272 $13,265
35-44 $86,582 $32,664
45-54 $161,079 $56,722
55-64 $232,379 $84,714
65+ $255,151 $82,297

On average, someone under age 25 is saving less than $7,000, while someone between ages 55 and 64 averages just over $232,000. This data breaks down individual balances by age group, but for married couples, targets will differ depending on the couple’s age, household income and whether there is a sole earner or dual income.

Retirement Savings Benchmarks for Married Couples

SmartAsset: Average Retirement Savings for Married Couples by Age

Financial experts say that a couple aged 60 with a dual income of $75,000 per year should have seven times their household income in their retirement account. This multiplies to a total of $525,000 saved. Conversely, a couple aged 65 with a sole earner bringing in $75,000 per year should have saved seven and a half times their household income, which adds up to $562,500 in their retirement account.

The table below breaks down savings targets based on data assumptions made by the investment management firm T.Rowe Price. In parenthesis you will see how many times over your current household income you should have:

Household Income Married, Dual Income at Age 55 Married, Dual Income at Age 65 Married, Single Income at Age 55 Married, Single Income at Age 65
$75,000 $412,500 (5.5x) $675,000 (9x) $337,500 (4.5x) $562,500 (7.5x)
$100,000 $600,000 (6x) $1 Million (10x) $500,000 (5x) $850,000 (8.5x)
$150,000 $975,000 (6.5x) $1.575 Million (10.5x) $900,000 (6x) $1.500 Million (10x)
$200,000 $1.300 Million (6.5x) $2.200 Million(11x) $1.400 million (7x) $2.300 Million (11.5x)
$250,000 $1.700 Million (7x) $2.875 Million (11.5x) $1.875 Million (7.5x) $3.125 Million (12.5x)

Why You Should Not Rely on Social Security Alone

As of January 2022, retired couples who receive Social Security benefits collect an average of $2,753 per month. This amount equates to what you could get with a minimum wage job. So, for many American couples, this might not be sufficient to maintain their lifestyle once they enter into their golden years.

On top of that, many older Americans are carrying more debt, which will eat into their Social Security income. So when you’re creating a retirement plan as a couple, financial experts will advise to assess your financial situation and make adjustments accordingly.

Regardless of your income level, mapping out your financial situation is a smart way to prepare for retirement. This big picture perspective will help you be more intentional with how much money you are putting into your retirement savings and avoid a possible income gap later in life if your needs outpace your savings.

Bottom Line

SmartAsset: Average Retirement Savings for Married Couples by Age

When looking at the average retirement savings for married couples by age, the data is sobering. Even if you save more than the recommended amounts and plan to apply for Social Security benefits, you may still not have enough to live the life you desire in retirement. Financial professionals often treat retirement savings as a destination with several checkpoints along the road. While some experts recommend you save at least one year’s worth of your household income by the time you reach age 30, it doesn’t hurt to save even more.

When you are ready to retire, it’s a good benchmark to strive for at least 9x to 11x your household income in savings. But because your needs will vary as a married couple, you will need to assess your financial situation and make adjustments accordingly. A good rule of thumb is to save between at least 10% and 15% of your household income each year.

Tips to Help You Save for Retirement

  • According to the Federal Reserve, 60% of those with self-directed retirement accounts are not confident about their investment decisions. If you’re one of them, why not hire a financial advisor? 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.
  • Counting on Social Security benefits alone likely won’t provide full support for your current lifestyle. But, benefits can definitely help with your living expenses in retirement. SmartAsset’s Social Security calculator will help you estimate how much of a benefit you can expect.
  • And, if you want to figure out whether you are saving enough for retirement, SmartAsset’s free retirement calculator can help you determine how much you will need.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/Geber86, ©iStock.com/SrdjanPav, ©iStock.com/Doucefleur

Ashley Kilroy Ashley Chorpenning is an experienced financial writer currently serving as an investment and insurance expert at SmartAsset. In addition to being a contributing writer at SmartAsset, she writes for solo entrepreneurs as well as for Fortune 500 companies. Ashley is a finance graduate of the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t helping people understand their finances, you may find Ashley cage diving with great whites or on safari in South Africa.
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