Have you prepared enough for retirement?
It’s a question on the minds of many Americans as they approach 60. The biggest fear among retirement savers is the possibility they will outlive their assets, according to a recent survey by research firm Cerulli Associates. Around 58% of savers reported this as their top fear and the number was even higher among those already retired.
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The best way to determine whether you have enough savings to last through your retirement is to work with a financial adviser; they can run simulation tests based on your assets and spending. In the meantime, you can look at how much other Americans spend in retirement. Just remember that national figures are just that — a general snapshot — so take them with a grain of salt as you weigh them against your own finances.
The median household income for Americans aged 65 and over was $50,290 in 2022, according to Census Bureau data. The bureau defines income as money coming in on a regular basis (exclusive of certain money receipts such as capital gains) before taxes and deductions.
Yet the average household income for Americans aged 65 and over was $75,020. This suggests that a small portion of retirees with high incomes pull the average up. For this reason, median income is often a more useful metric to measure yourself against than the average.
Keep in mind as well that some Americans work well into their 70s or delay taking Social Security up until they’re 70 years old to maximize their benefit.
Income by age group
Comparing yourself to every person 65-plus can also be less useful than zeroing in on people in your age bracket. To get a clearer picture of how you stack up against your fellow retirees, the annual median and average household incomes by age in 2022, according to Census Bureau data, are listed below.
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If you’re not retired yet, these numbers offer a good starting point for estimating how much you’ll need to save. Just remember to factor inflation into your calculations.
- 65 to 69 years: $59,430 median income, $87,860 average income
- 70 to 74 years: $55,990 median income, $79,920 average income
- 75 years and over: $41,060 median income, $62,470 average income
Savings by age group
Knowing how much you can expect to spend in retirement is key to determining whether you’ll outlive your savings — but the other factor in the equation is how much you’ve saved.
It can help to compare your savings to that of your peers to see how your retirement stacks up against the rest of America. Vanguard publishes data on account balances for employer-sponsored plans on their platform each year. In 2022, it recorded the following median and average balances by age group.
- Under 25 years: $1,948 median balance, $5,236 average balance
- 25 to 34 years: $11,357 median balance, $30,017 average balance
- 35 to 44 years: $28,318 median balance, $76,354 average balance
- 45 to 54 years: $48,301 median balance, $142,069 average balance
- 55 to 64 years: $71,168 median balance, $207,874 average balance
- 65 years and over: $70,620 median balance, $232,710 average balance
How to prepare for retirement
If you’re worried you won’t have enough money for retirement, it may be time to strategize with a financial adviser on how to either reduce retirement spending or increase your savings. The earlier you start to prepare, the better your chances of securing a comfortable retirement.