Financial Rubbernecking – Part 3: Retirement Accounts

Retirement savings comparison

How do your retirement savings stack up? Are you accumulating retirement assets faster than your peers?

This is the third posting in a series exploring these types of questions. (See Part 1 – Income; See Part 2- Net Worth)

Every three years I look forward to the latest Federal Reserve Board’s Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) to remind us how wealth is distributed in the United States.

Retirement Savings

Today we look at the average value of people’s tax-advantaged retirement accounts (IRA, 401(k), thrift savings account, etc.) across the country.

The chart below provides a point of comparison on how much others are socking away for retirement by age group.

But here is an important caveat – this data only captures the 51% of households that have a retirement account. Meaning 49% of households have no retirement savings in a tax-advantaged account, although they may have a pension (i.e., a defined benefits plan) from their employer.

If you include households without retirement accounts, at a value of zero, it cuts the value shown below roughly in half for the true average savings within each of the age cohorts.

value of retirement accounts by age

* only includes households that have at least one retirement account (percent with an account varies by age group, but averages 51% overall)

Sources: Federal Reserve, 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances.


Road to Retirement

Wondering if you are on the right path to a comfortable retirement? Are you saving enough relative to your expected retirement expenses?

Check out a couple of other articles that address these questions and target savings goals.

Roadmap to Retirement: Fire or FRA


How Much Wealth Should You Have by Age 45?


Full report on the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances

Financial Rubbernecking – Part 2: Net WorthSavings Bonds – Inflation Hedge Series

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