Average net worth statistics by age: How do you compare?

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JANUARY 16, 2023

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Net worth can be determined by calculating the difference between your assets (what you own, like a home or retirement account) and liabilities (or debts), and it can widely range depending on salary and age.

But when the U.S. is facing inflation and an uncertain economy, net worth expectations may not realistically match up to ideal figures. Many people feel behind on their retirement savings, but 30 percent of those that do haven’t changed their contribution amounts year-over-year, according to Bankrate data.

Knowing what net worth looks like for others can help you get started on growing your savings. Here’s how the average net worth has looked over the past several years.

Key Bankrate insights on Americans’ net worth

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    • 55% of working Americans feel behind on their retirement savings.
  • 16% of working Americans in 2022 contributed less to their retirement than they did in 2021.
  • 24% of working U.S. adults who contributed the same or less to their retirement savings in 2022 compared to 2021 said stagnant or reduced income held them back from saving more.
  • 54% of working U.S. adults who contributed the same or less to their retirement savings in 2022 compared to 2021 said that inflation/higher costs of living kept them from saving more.
  • 53% of U.S. adults have delayed a major financial milestone due to the state of the economy (e.g., inflation, rising interest rates, recession fears, market volatility, etc.).
  • 64% of millennials (ages 26-41) have delayed one or more financial milestones due to the state of the economy.
  • 21% of Gen Zers (ages 18-25) put off buying a home due to the state of the economy.
  • 64% of non-homeowners say that affordability is keeping them from owning a home.
  • 26% of those who currently have, or who have previously had, student loan debt for their own education put off saving for retirement because of this debt.
  • 30% of millennials (ages 26-41) who have/had student loan debt for their own education put off buying a house because of this debt.
  • 12% of baby boomers (58-76) who have/had student loan debt for their own education put off buying a house because of this debt.

At-a-glance: Median net worth trends in the U.S.

Both the median and mean net worth increased for Americans between 2016 and 2019, according to the Federal Reserve. Net worth decreased in the period between 2007 and 2010 during the Great Recession, but has increased since, up 18 percent between 2016 and 2019 to a latest median net worth of $121,760.

This is how the median family net worth has changed over the past 10 years:

Source: The Federal Reserve

Note I: Figures are in 2019 dollars.

Note II: The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances is held every three years; the latest available data is from 2019 and was published in 2020. Because of that, this data is from before COVID-19. Data from the 2022 study will be published in late 2023.

Average net worth in the U.S. by age

Net worth generally increases over time as assets grow in value and you purchase a house or pay down debt. You can calculate your own net worth by examining your assets and liabilities.

This is how both the mean and median net worth change over time for Americans of different age groups.

Age 35 or less

Average net worth Median net worth
$14,000 $76,340

Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve

Note: Bankrate lists both the mean and median net worth. Because very wealthy individuals skew the mean, the median might be a more reasonable “average” indicator of Americans’ net worth.

At age 25 and under, an average young adult may have only recently started contributing to their 401(k) and may not have bought a house yet, which is why they tend to have a lower net worth than their older neighbors. Pre-tax median income for those younger than 35 was $48,600 in 2019, the lowest of any age bracket, according to the Fed. Those between 25 and 34 had an average 401(k) balance of $33,272 at the end of 2020 and a median balance of $13,265. As of 2021, only 38.3 percent of homeowners were under 35, according to Bankrate.

Younger people have less in some assets than older generations did at their age. Millennials, many at age 38 or under in 2019, had an average of $162,000 in assets, less than Gen Xers their age in 2001, according to the St. Louis Fed. However, millennials had slightly more in retirement account balances: $15,500, versus Gen Xers’ $13,600.

Those 35 and under are one of the only working-age demographics whose net worth hasn’t increased over the past years, falling 6 percent between 2016 and 2019, according to 2019 Fed data.

Age 35-44

Average net worth Median net worth
$437,770 $91,110

Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve

As people reach 35 to 44, usually a decade into their working life, they may consider major life changes like starting a family or a business. They may also be paying off the last of student loan debt or credit card debt.

At this stage, it sometimes becomes more attainable to consider purchasing major assets like a home. Because of that, the net worth of this demographic largely grows due to net housing wealth, according to the Fed. According to Bankrate, 62.1 percent of those between 35 and 44 owned a home in 2021.

People 35 to 44 saw the largest increase in net worth between 2016 and 2019, seeing a median increase of 44 percent and a mean increase of 42 percent. Pre-tax median income for those between 35 and 44 was $74,300 in 2019, according to the Fed.

Age 45-54

Average net worth Median net worth
$833,790 $168,800

Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve

By their late 40s, many working people have achieved peak earnings at their jobs or at their own businesses. With that age sometimes comes shifting priorities: parents of older children consider paying for their college and other postsecondary education, and some people may start to spend more on health care as they age.

Also, many adults between 45 and 54 have been investing and diversify their types of savings, especially those with higher incomes. With that, their net worth grows. This demographic made a median income of $77,800 in 2019, according to the Fed, the highest of any age bracket.

Though the 45 to 54-year-old demographic was not the only group to have their net worth increase since 2016, this demographic saw a large increase, from a median of $131,930 in 2016 to $168,800 in 2019.

Age 55-64

Average net worth Median net worth
$1,176,520 $213,150

Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve

Those between 55 and 64 made a median income of $63,600 in 2019, according to the Fed. Investments made in one’s 20s have begun to see major returns several decades later. A $100 investment in the S&P 500 from the beginning of 1990 is now worth about $2,147.89 by the end of 2022, according to the Data Foundation.

After 55, people may begin to slow down at work before some begin to retire at 62, though many will still likely work past 62. As of 2020, 9.8 million adults 65 years or older were either working or still actively looking for work, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living.

People 50 to 64 had the largest amount in retirement accounts or other assets of any age demographic in 2019, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Those accounts will likely have increased in value over the years, and they’re about to be used in retirement.

Age 65-74

Average net worth Median net worth
$1,215,920 $266,070

Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve

Those people that are preparing to retire have the largest net worth of any age, thanks to years of assets increasing in value.

Many people this age or older also have assets that boost their net worth: 80 percent of people 65 or older own a home and 70 percent have retirement assets, according to the CBO. Meanwhile, only 51 percent have non-mortgage debt.

Families with heads of household 65 or older tend to have non-retirement financial assets, or assets other than a house or retirement accounts, as their largest source of wealth, according to the CBO.

Age 75 or higher

Average net worth Median net worth
$958,450 $254,900

Source: Survey of Consumer Finances, the Federal Reserve

Those 75 or older tend to be retired; their incomes dip as a result. This age demographic made a median income of $42,600 in 2019, a decrease from 2016, when they made $82,000. As the oldest group of people retire, they begin dipping into their savings, decreasing net worth.

This is the age demographic that saw the largest decline in both median and mean net worth since 2016, according to the Fed, as their median net worth dropped 10 percent since 2016 and their mean net worth dropped 14 percent.

Bottom line

The mean and median net worth listed here is not a required number to retire or live comfortably, and it may not be possible for many people to achieve, especially when inflation squeezes people’s savings. Every retirement plan is different, and one person’s goal may look very different than another’s.

It’s possible to take small steps towards increasing your net worth for the future, regardless of your income. Paying off high-interest debt and increasing your retirement contributions, such as how much you contribute to your 401(k), can be attainable ways to set yourself up for the future.

Methodology


Courtesy/Source: Bankrate