Getty Images / BartekSzewczyk

As workers get older and continue on their career paths, in theory, their 401K should reflect that and go up. So, the average and median amount of money that people have in their 401Ks end up being a factor of how long they’ve worked (their age). It’s also, of course, a factor of how much money they make and put into their 401Ks. So, have you ever wondered if you have more or less in your 401K than most people your age?

Let’s get into retirement details. According to Fidelity, “The age you plan to retire can have a big impact on the amount you need to save, and your milestones along the way,” they state on their website. “The longer you can postpone retirement, the lower your savings factor can be.” They add that if you delay saving, your savings will take a longer time to grow.

Also, if you’re wondering how much money you need to retire comfortably, that really is different for everyone. You have to look at how you want to live in your retirement. Do you want to have lots of extra money to travel? Or, would you rather retire earlier with less and live a less elaborate lifestyle?

According to Citizensbank.com, you want to have enough money to make up 60% to 100% of your pre-retirement annual income. “This rule of thumb aims to maintain a quality of life similar to the one you enjoy immediately prior to retirement, while keeping in mind the realities of different budget levels per line item, like lower work-related and housing costs likely offset by higher healthcare costs,” they explain. They also say that “becoming a ‘millionaire’ is still an impressive financial milestone, but $1 million today doesn’t go nearly as far as it did in 1980, when $1 million had the same buying power as $3.1 million today.”

Now, let’s get into the question at hand. How does your retirement savings hold up to those in your age group? Here are some details from Vanguard.

  • Under 25 years old

    In this age group, the average 401K balance is $5,236 and the median is $1,948. You’re obviously just getting your feet wet in investing. Some people fresh out of high school or college probably don’t have anything in their 401Ks at this point.

  • Between 25-34

    In this age group, the average 401K balance is $30,017 and the median is $11,357. This is significantly higher than the under 25 age range. But, it’s definitely not enough to retire on. So, keep grinding.

  • Between 35-44

    In this age group, the average 401K balance is $76,354 and the median is $28,318. Notice the big difference between average and median. Obviously, with the median, that means half of people in that age group have less than $28,318 and half have more.

  • Between 45-54

    In this age group, the average 401K balance is $142,069 and the median is $48,301. This is another one where the average and median are very different. Half of people in that age group have less than $48,301 and half have more.

  • Between 55-64

    In this age group, the average 401K balance is $207,874 and the median is $71,168. Some people “early retire” in this age group. But, only if you have enough cash. People with pensions are sometimes able to retire in this age group. Also, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62.

  • 65 and older

    In this age group, the average 401K balance is $232,710 and the median is $70,620. Since you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as age 62, many people do choose to retire when they hit 65.

  • The average and median 401(k) balance by age

    So, there you have it, the average and median 401K balance by age. The stats are from Vanguard’s “How America Saves 2023” report, which offers data on the average and median 401K account balances by age. Find the full report here.

    Happy Senior Old Retired Couple Walking Holding Hands on Beach at Sunset

    Getty Images / dmbaker

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