Average Retirement Savings

I was recently reading a study I found on Vanguard where the average amount saved for retirement by age was noted. Granted this study was from 2014, but I still thought it was relatively shocking just how low the numbers were for my Millennial generation, which are individuals born between 1982-2004 and also referred to a “Gen Y” or “Generation Y”. In fact, I sadly think the numbers are very low for all age ranges and generations. This report goes to show that people are simply not saving much for retirement.

I want to bring this back to my Millennial generation and our lack of saving for retirement. I’ve read in other publications that my Millennial generation is known to be savers, much more so than Generation X or Baby Boomers. But this study from Vanguard disputes that on the surface and is based on empirical research, as this study is based on employer retirement plans (and their participants) managed by Vanguard, and amounts reflect the average balance per account. I say on the “surface” because my Millennial generation hasn’t had much time for compound interest to work in our favor like generations 10, 20, 30 years older than us. But these numbers are still very low for Millennials.

Let’s examine the below numbers more closely from a Millennials standpoint. As stated earlier, a Millennial is one who is born between 1982-2004, meaning in the year 2014 when this study by Vanguard was conducted, a Millennial ranged in age from 32-10. Based on this study we’re only examining a small portion of Millennials, those between the ages of 25-32 in 2014. Either way you slice it, the numbers stated below for those age 34 and below are rather low.

Average Retirement Savings by Age

Average retirement savings by age
Source: Vanguard, How America Saves 2014. This study examined employer retirement plans (and their participants) managed by Vanguard. Amounts reflect the average balance per account.

This chart shows average retirement plan account balances by age as of 2014.

  • For people under age 25, the average account balance was $3,865.
  • For people age 25 to age 34, the average account balance was $21,524.
  • For people age 35 to age 44, the average account balance was $54,054.
  • For people age 45 to age 54, the average account balance was $103,269.
  • For people age 55 to age 64, the average account balance was $154,421.
  • For people age 65 and over, the average account balance was $176,696.

Average Retirement Balance for a Millennial?

Millennials, how does your current retirement balance compare to the aforementioned “average” retirement balances Vanguard is reporting on?


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