The average retirement age in the US varies by state. But, by and large, the typical retirement age range falls somewhere between 60-70. Usually, men retire a little later than women.
The country’s current state of affairs hasn’t made anything easier, particularly saving money. According to the Pew Research Center in 2020, a third of Americans had to dip into savings or retirement funds to pay bills. It’s even worse for low-income families.
If you’re panicking, take a deep breath. I mean, I’m panicking too, but we can all start taking steps to ensure our financial future.
Average Retirement Savings By Age
According to a survey from the Federal Reserve, the average amount of retirement savings varies widely depending on your age. Looking at consumer finances from 1989 to 2019, here was the average breakout of retirement savings by age group:
- < 35: $30,170
- 35-44: $131,950
- 45-54: $254,720
- 55-64: $408,420
- 65-74: $426,070
In terms of savings goals, it is recommended by the personal finance company SoFi that you should have equal to the amount of your current salary saved by the time you are 30. At 40, it’s recommended to have three times your annual salary in savings. 50-year-olds should have six times their salary, and at 60, the recommendation is to have eight times your annual salary. By 67, experts recommend savings ten times your annual salary.
What If I’m ‘Behind’ Or Have No Savings At All?
Despite the recommended savings, Americans typically don’t have that much saved, if anything. In fact, a report released in 2019 by the U.S. Government Accountability Office outlined that 48% of Americans over 55 didn’t have anything saved for retirement. The data for younger Americans doesn’t look any more promising.
There’s a difference when it comes to gender and retirement savings, too. “In terms of gender, on average women have about $23,000 in retirement savings; men have $76,000. Fewer than 50% of women say that saving for retirement is a priority for them, as opposed to 62% of men,” according to research from SoFi.
It’s important to note that women typically make less than men in the workplace. Plus, some women leave the workforce to care for children and spend less time contributing to their personal retirement funds, which further can put them behind.
While it might seem like you’re falling behind in the savings game, it’s very common to have less than the recommended amount saved. It’s also common to feel stressed about catching up.
What Women In Their 40’s And 50’s Should Focus On When Saving For Retirement
Being in midlife presents unique benefits and challenges when it comes to finances. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers earn the most between the ages of 34 and 54. If you started saving later in life or weren’t able to save much when you were younger, taking advantage of increased earnings in midlife to contribute to retirement savings could be a strategy for some.
For mothers in their 40’s or 50’s, the daunting costs of your child’s college education can be a tempting reason to cut back or lapse completely on retirement savings. On top of that, if you have parents that are now requiring more help or medical assistance, the instict to put your family first can become overwhelming. While every situation is unique, the first step should be seeking the advice of a financial planner. They can assist with creating or reviewing estate plans, as well as formulating strategies to tackle all your specific saving and spending needs.
For those getting closer to retirement themselves, it can be all too easy to assume the strategies you set up earlier in life is still serving your future goals and current situation. While checking in frequently with a financial planner to ensure your strategies are on track is always a good idea, it never hurts to take a look at what lifestyle or savings changes can be made to get you where you would like to be.
If you’re over 50, the IRS allows catch-up contributions to 401ks and IRAs. According to a study from the Center for Retirement Research, once parents are empty-nesters, retirement savings rarely increase. While you very well may be supporting a child outside the home, it could be a good strategy to reroute those extra funds spent on the kids to your retirement. Speaking of, if your children have moved out, now might be the time to downsize your home or move to an area without a heavy focus on a good school district. A good retirement strategy should focus both on boosting savings and controlling costs.
At the end of the day, feelings of “it’s too late” or “where would I start now” are very common, but it shouldn’t prevent a retirement savings strategy altogether. Having conversations about finances, even if they may be stressful, are all too important. If married or in a long-term relationship, speak with your spouse frequently. If you have children or parents that need assistance, speak to them and those family members involved to formulate a plan. And regardless of your circumstances, seek out a professional who can give you guidance on budgeting and savings.