It’s been said that life is an accumulation of moments, each of which are unique and teach us about ourselves and the world around us. Each of these opportunities allow us another chance to grow both as individuals and as professionals, filling each day with new potential.
Possibly the most tangible measurement of that growth is how much earn and grow financially as we age. Every two years, the Federal Reserve does a survey of both how much people earn at different age groups, but also how much they are worth.
If you’ve ever wondered how your financial life compares to the national average, this data will give you the insight you are looking for.
Here’s the average net worth of Americans by age group.
What Is Net Worth?
Net worth in personal finance is best described as the total amount of assets you own, minus the liabilities you owe.
It’s extremely important to measure your net worth since you get to understand your financial well being at close range.
If you want to evaluate the progress towards your personal goals, you need to take note of metrics that have an effect on your finances, which we’ll look at in a moment.
How Important Is Your Net Worth, And What Is It Used For?
Your net worth helps determine your current financial health and learn any possible money pits. Nonetheless, your net worth doesn’t reflect a true account of your current standard of living.
You may own high net worth assets but lack cash or have huge debts. Knowing your net worth makes you conscious of what to really spend on. You can make an insightful decision on whether to make a purchase using cash or credit card.
If you have a positive net worth, that’s enough motivation to set foot on your next financial goals. It’s quite considerably, one of the most accurate ways to measure your wealth against your peer group.
Most investment banks will also need to assess your net worth before approving you for a loan.
How Do You Calculate Your Net Worth?
To determine your net worth, you need to add up all your assets which include:
- Cash in your checking accounts and savings accounts.
- The market value of your personal moveable property
- High-value possessions such as jewelry, antiques, or paintings.
- The market value of your family home or rental properties.
- The current value of your investment portfolio which includes stocks, mutual funds, treasury bills, ETFs, or even Indices.
- The market value of your retirement benefits accounts, including IRAs, 401(K)s, employee stock ownership plans(ESOP), and trust funds.
While calculating the market value of properties such as vehicles or machines, you’ll need to set a depreciation provision. The value for artworks and homes, on the other hand, tend to appreciate.
Once you get the sum total of all assets, the next step is to deduct your liabilities. Common liabilities include:
- Student loans
- Credit card balances
- Auto loans
- Payday loans
If your assets exceed your liabilities, you have a positive net worth. Contrastingly, if your liabilities are more than your assets, this simply means you have a negative net worth.
Regardless of the outcome, your net worth only gives an overview of your current financial health. This can change gradually in the future, so you might need to repeat this exercise, say, once a year or semi-annually.
Average Net Worth: Ages 35 And Under
Building Wealth for the Future
Average Net Worth: $76,200
Median Net Worth: $11,000
Average salary: $56,400/year
Young professionals are the earners of the next generation, and use their young age to build the skills they need to succeed. While college degrees and education can help, actual workforce experience and networking helps them get to the next step in life.
Because they are only at the sunrise of their careers, this group on average has a lower total net worth, and a lower median income. As of 2016, the median young professional household only had a value of around $76,200. This is commiserate with their income, which came to an average gross of $56,400.
Average Net Worth: Ages 35 to 44
Building Value Towards Future Prosperity
Average Net Worth: $288,700
Median Net Worth: $59,800
Average salary: $97,100/year
With over 10 years of experience in the workplace, this age group is starting to build their assets, purchase homes, and invest towards their future goals. This is the time where savings goes beyond an account, and grows into retirement funds like 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts.
In this age group, the median grows to $288,700, which is around the median price of a home in the United States. The average salary grows for this group as well, climbing to $97,100 annually.
Average Net Worth: Ages 45 to 54
Increased Focus on Wealth Before Retirement
Average Net Worth: $727,500
Median Net Worth: $ 124,200
Average salary: $131,400/year
The once “young professional” is now in the middle of their career, and have the intelligence and leadership to lead industries, or start businesses of their own. This is the point where that leadership also influences their personal finances, and they start to make better decisions about their long-term financial health.
The Federal Reserve says heads of household in this age group have an average net worth of $727,500. This is a total sum of all their accounts, not cash on hand. This includes real estate value, investment accounts, and their retirement holdings. Their average income now sits around $131,400 annually.
Average Net Worth: Ages 55 to 64
Sunset on a Career
Average Net Worth: $1,167,400
Median Net Worth: $187,300
Average salary: $141,300/year
By this age, professionals are starting to think about what they intend to do after their careers are over. This is where the wealth they have been building comes into play, as they prepare to draw from it to cover their daily expenses.
Within this time span, Americans hit their peak value and earnings. the average individual net worth was $1,167,400 across all assets. At the end of their careers, the average individual also earns a salary of $141,300.
Average Net Worth: Ages 65 to 74
The Golden Years
Average Net Worth: $1,066,000
Median Net Worth: $224,100
Average salary: $106,000/year
Reaching retirement age is sometimes called the “Second childhood,” because of the newfound freedom from their working obligations. While some will close out their careers, others will enjoy the time to explore new hobbies, and visit new destinations.
This age span is where Americans start drawing from their savings, and start to see their value decline. The average net worth was $1,066,000, while the average income dropped to $106,000 annually.
Average Net Worth: Ages 75+
Creating a Legacy
Average Net Worth: $1,067,000
Median Net Worth: $264,800
Average salary: $77,100/year
Thanks to modern medicine and healthier diets, we are living longer and more fulfilling lives. This is why it’s important to build long-term wealth: A strong nest-egg lets people take their worries away from day-to-day expenses and plan for their legacy with the next generation.
At the end of our lives, Americans have an average net worth of $1,067,000. Even though they may no longer be working, the average income for this age group for those who do continue to work is $77,100 annually.
Mitigating Factors That Change Net Worth
Because America is the land of opportunity, there is no one direct path to creating value. However, there are lot of different factors that may be able to help shape success over time.
For instance, those who have at least some college education statistically grow more value over time compared to those who don’t. Americans who only get a high school diploma have an average net worth of $249,600. Individuals who get some college education but fall short of a degree have an average net worth of $340,600. And if they complete their college degree, their net worth jumps to $1,511,100.
Owning a home also has a significant impact on building personal wealth. According to the Federal Reserve, those who rent or live with others have an average net worth of around $91,100. Homeowners have significantly more wealth, with an national average of $1,034,200.
How Can I Grow My Average Net Worth?
Growing average net worth is a marathon, not a sprint. There are no easy ways to grow rich overnight. Through better understanding your relationship with money and savings, it’s possible to improve your finances and truly save for the future.
Start by growing your understanding of financial literacy. In their survey, researchers for the Federal Reserve discovered that there was a noticeable gap in what people think they know, and how much they know. Those who said they had high financial literacy had less accurate test scores than those who claimed they knew very little.
Understanding how to handle debts, income, savings and investments are all tools you can use to create a budget, save money and pay down credit cards. Through handling and balancing all these items, it’s possible to grow wealth and ultimately live the life you strive for.
Michelle Obama once said: “Success isn’t about how your life looks to others. It’s about how it feels to you.” Through applying this wisdom to your finances, you too can create long-term wealth, and improve your net worth over the ages.