How much savings should I have?

You should start saving sooner than later, even if you are still in college

How much should you have saved throughout your life? This is a question you should be asking yourself sooner than later. According to a recent Bank of America survey, a surprising 16% of Millennials between the ages of 23 and 37 now have at least $100,000 saved for retirement. Some interesting stats below based on your age range:

Mean retirement savings between 50 and 55

$124,831

Median retirement savings between 50 and 55

$8,000

source: https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-15-419

The large gap between the mean and median savings is caused by wealthy individuals like Oprah, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. Their savings can offset a lot of accounts with balances of little to nothing. Compare that to the median number, which has 50% of the people below it and 50% above it. In this case, a billionaire will only balance out one person who has saved nothing for retirement.

How much savings should a 30-year-old have

How much you should have saved depends on how much you earn. Typically it would have to be one year of salary saved by the time you reach 30. The median salary for people aged 25 to 34 is around $40,000. It would seem the 16% of Millennials with $100,000 saved are ahead of the game, but it’s because that many of them also have higher than average incomes. The more you make the easier it can be to save $100,000.

How much to save as your grow older

Strive to accumulate 25% of your overall gross pay during your twenties. This can be a combination of savings, investments and retirement accounts. This number may be lower if you are paying down staggering student loan debt.

Factors such as your lifestyle and at what age you want to retire should also be pondered because they will also affect the amount you should have saved. Here are some benchmarks to shoot for.

Have at least one year of salary saved by the time you turn 30. If you make $100,000 per year, try and have $100,000 saved. For those just getting starting, put away 10% of your gross salary. To make this a little easier, you can include money you are using to pay down debt in this percentage. In terms of net worth, you can include money you put down on a house purchase but don’t include home equity unless you own rental properties or a second home.

Having two times your annual salary saved should be the goal of 35-year-olds. Four times your annual salary is the target for people who reach the ripe old age of 40. If you’re 45, try to have at least five times your salary saved. Gen X folks should have at least seven times their annual incomes saved by the time they are 50 years old. That jumps to 11 times their annual salaries at 60.

Again, these are just benchmarks. How much you will actually need to retire will depend on your lifestyle and if you have debt. Those who have paid off their mortgages and/or those who have pensions will need to generate less income from their other retirement assets to get by. On the other hand, if you love getting a new car every two years and are renting your apartment, none of those expenses are likely to drop much once you leave the work force. They will likely continue to rise over time. That means you will need more money to maintain your standard of living in retirement.

Conclusion

All of this is likely to make you cringe, but it is easier to accomplish than it sounds. With a little help from employer contribution matches and tax deductions, you will be on your way to financial independence before you know it.

The important thing is to get started if for no other reason than to lower your tax bill by opening a retirement account. Be sure to get every penny of your employer’s matching contribution. This is like free money from your boss. Growing a multi-million dollar net worth is actually easier than it sounds.