The Average Net Worth of Americans: Where Do You Stand?

I absolutely love using the calculators at There are so many cool ones that I use frequently. They have one for housing prices, cost of living comparison, retirement needs, saving for college, etc. I actually just stumbled across one for the average net worth of Americans. All you have to do is enter in your age and current salary and it give you two charts. The first chart shows you the average net worth of individuals in your age group. The second chart shows you the average net worth of individuals in your income range. I’m not sure how helpful the second one would be since it compares the salary against any age. If I am making $50,000 as a 22 year old, of course someone making $50,000 as a 50 year old will have a larger net worth than me (I hope they do). Anyway, here are the averages for different age groups:

Under 25










65 and Over


Where do you stack up against these numbers? Personally, we are no where near the average for our age group. I mean we are not even in the same zip code. I imagine that has to do with the fact that we both used a lot of student debt to earn our degrees and we own no real estate.

Do you think these numbers reflect the recent turmoil in the stock market? The calculator did not have  a certain date on it (i.e. “this chart is based on the 2000 census”). However, I hope that it takes into account the recent decline. The net worth of individuals should be much higher than these averages. You should strive to be much higher than these averages.

420 thoughts on “The Average Net Worth of Americans: Where Do You Stand?

  1. Jeff@StretchyDollar

    Woo! We’re above average for our age group! It’s not that hard when you’re in the “under 25” group though. I don’t think they realistically reflect recent economic trends, but I do think that they are somewhat accurate of when they were put together.

  2. Mike

    These averages are depressingly low, but then, I look at myself and realize that I’m right there. The 55-64 group is surprisingly low to me. I can’t imagine trying to retire on that small of a nest egg.

  3. Adam Post author

    @Jeff – I would call above average in that group great! Like I said, most individuals in that group have some sort of student debt. If you have a positive net worth coming out of college, you are heading in the right direction.

    @Mike – I think they are depressingly low too, especially if these are numbers BEFORE the stock market crash. No wonder we have so many relying on government aid.

  4. RainyDaySaver

    These numbers do seem too low, but I’m glad to see that I’m far above the average for my age range. And yes, Mike, I can’t see anyone in the 55-64 bracket retiring if their net worth is “only” $232K.

    I love these kinds of calculators, I really do. That’s because I’m a PF dork!

      1. Nick

        Not true. Also depends on inflation, market conditions, and the diversity of your portfolio. Also depends on the cost of living in your area. $232 is going to go a lot further in South Dakota than California.

        1. John Jacobs

          Yes, cost of living is a factor but that is also a factor in the overall income levels of that area. Those living and working in lower cost of living areas typically do not move to higher cost of living areas during retirement.

      2. Kari

        I am way lower than everyone else because of my highly active sexlife. I buy lots of toys and what-not.

    1. DonSanAnto

      One’s ‘net worth’ doesn’t qualify you, or disqualify you, for retirement. it’s merely a valuation of all your assets less all your liabilities, and like a balance sheet, it’s static (unlike an income statement).

      i’m retired and i continue to augment my net worth monthly ’cause i live under my means so my cash assets grow; furthermore, one of my income streams is from an investment portfolio which continues to grow in value ’cause i draw less than its ROR% so my net worth also grows from this angle…

      hey, some folks ‘retire’ with only a meager social security check and manage to live on that, along with a meager net worth that declines over time.

      so, net worth is just a number which may, or may not, indicate one’s wealth (or poverty) at a point in time. to track it, simply run a balance sheet on yourself monthly and at year-end to know your ‘net worth’.

  5. Jennifer @ Money Saver 101

    Our income level about matches the average, but our net worth is much higher. We made lots of really great financial choices over the last few years, and we’ve been able to save a lot of money as a result. Living in our mobile home for 3 years and then selling it really made a huge difference, considering we had it paid off in just over 1 year. That, coupled with the cars we owned outright meaning no debt what-so-ever, means that we were able to put a lot of money into the bank on a single income supporting a family of 4.

    1. stuart

      Way to go Jennifer.

      Keep it up and don,t believe everything you read some stuff is true some stuff is there to throw you off I lost everything at age 40 10 years later have a household net worth of $293,000 where there is a will there is a way.

    2. John

      The entire key to improving results is debt. Do not go into debt unless the cost of the debt is less then the appreciation of the asset…sounds simple, but all factors must be entertained. Example: Real Estate HISTORICALLY has appreciated less then FOUR (4%) percent annually using a 100 year time frame and stocks…less, after considering most of the companies are out of business.

  6. Too Smart

    Hey dorks!… these are Median values…….Not Averages. Please stop saying Averages. Averages will be MUCH higher do to extremely high income individuals. Median values are not effected as much by high income individuals and therefore are much more accurate. So yes…the Median numbers are true and very disappointing….

    1. Donald Duck

      You are right about median vs. Average, but not too smart. The proper words are “due” and “affected”, not “do” and “effected”. if you are going to correct people, learn how to write.

        1. ATrapAtNoon

          Actually, John, the period goes outside of the quotes in your correction – so “affected”. Who will police the grammar police?

          1. The most right of everyone here

            ATrapAtNoon, John was actually correct. Periods go inside of the quotation marks. Who will police the grammar terrorists?

                    1. grammargrampa

                      Actuall, a period is a monthly thing that my wife has that puts me in a comma. It’s been worse since the colon-oscopy.

                    2. Joseph

                      Incredible… And I thought comments on You tube were not that smart. The idea that I am not seeing here is everybody needs a little help sometimes. The ones who think they need no help at all are the ones in greatest need of help.

                    3. Ted

                      You are absolutely INCORRECT. The quote goes OUTSIDE the period, as the quotation ended the sentence. I can’t stand people who don’t have a clue, but try to teach others!

          1. Scott

            Putting a period before or after a period is based on ones form of English. American English puts the period within a quotation, ie, “ever seen.” Whereas, British English puts the period outside of the quotation, ie, “ever seen”. Neither is right or wrong, just a matter of cultural precedent.

            1. Brian

              I thought that if the whole sentence was in quotations then the period would go inside the quotation marks, but since it was just the last word, it should be outside.

              1. Charles

                My net worth is 1.3 million at 61 It is not hard folks. Just work hard all your life and save and invest. and then
                enjoy a happy retirement

                  1. Domble

                    Actually, awesome is beyond overused and therefore your comment should be stricken from the record.

    2. Robert

      To be more precise, mean, mode and median are all averages. So be careful when you sit in judgement and call people “dorks”. By the way, the correct spelling is “due” not “do”.

      1. Domble

        Robert, that is completely incorrect. Mean is an average. The others are measures of central tendency but are absolutely not means. Sorry, didn’t mean to be mean, but felt the need to correct.

  7. Ryan winnett

    Yeah I’m 24 with close to 100k networth. And I still see myself as un successful. These numbers cannot be even close

    1. Rich

      If you have ammassed that amount of net worth in your short working career, I admire you immensely.

      While I am not in your age category, I am in my mid 50’s, have put kids through college ( and helped with Medical School) I have been a saver much of my life, and between pure savings, retirement savings, and home equity, ( not including personal property), my net work is north of $1.25 million, with close to $800,000 of that being savings and qualified plan savings (401k) and I feel unbelievably not ready for retirement a few years down the road… oh yeah… My only debt is about $160K of real estate mortgage debt…

      1. thims54

        You have a net worth of $1.25 and are afraid to retire. Please check your goals and reset them. You can retire with less but I will not advocate that. The young man with $100K at 24 is on his way to having $4.5 – $6.5million by the time he retires. Keep doing what ever you are doing

        1. bill

          I’m in the similar situation as Rich, although I have no kids. $1.2 million net worth last year and currently $1.4 million. Also afraid of retiring. Maybe Rich wants to retire in an expensive state. I was born in an expensive state with great weather and a variety of geography (California). I figure I would have to have a net worth of at least $5,000,000 to retire with ocean view surroundings. Of course I could retire if I moved to Kansas in a house built in 1920. But WHY?

          1. WILLIAM

            The mid-fifties IMO represent the top period of of your working income unless you are self employed. If you are not self employed you are probably overestimating your retirement funds at retirement time. Reliance on the stock market is a mistake IMO especially if you have children. Concentrate on reducing or eliminating debt to “0)”( No house no car payments) Interest rates will be coming up again and safety is or should be your goal. 2 mil at a decent percent of return and a budget around 50-60,000 will allow a decent life IMO.

            1. bill

              I agree. Recently I realized if I work another 20 years as an engineer (I know guys in their 70s still doing engineering), my traditional 401k and traditional IRA could be at $1,000,000. I have to start taking distributions by 70 and a half. Also I have currently $200,000 in a Roth IRA. So if I take $100,000 per year from my traditional part, my taxes could be in the 28% bracket at the federal level. On the other hand stock investments outside deferral plans will get at most a 20% long term capital gain taxes (Bush tax cuts expire in 2013). I changed my habit to just invest enough in a 401k to get company match. The amount I would have otherwise contributed (including the after-50 catchup) is going into cash for now. I need to pay the other half of the taxes on my conversion to Roth IRAs next April. After that, I decided to mostly invest in good quality companies with very low or no dividends. Dividends will be taxed at ordinary rates starting in 2013. I could be a non-resident of California owning real estate there, and a resident of Nevada. Anytime I want to cash out capital gains, I will return to my Nevada residence for that period of time and officially exit California. That way I would avoid the California capital gains tax. That’s my plan in the future.

              Cash is certainly king. And yes I have zero debt. I have well over $25,000 in T-bills and I think interest rates will certainly come back up. I’m building up T-bills slowly and building up cash in my passbook savings rapidly. I will go up to 2 year notes in a couple of years, after I build up $100,000 in T-bills and passbook savings. I have 52-week T-bills only. But they are evenly spread out so that I have T-bills maturing every 4 weeks and I roll them back in.

              I think $50,000 or $60,000 will be decent in red states or inland California. But coastal is my aim. I love the California climate the most and on the coast.

            2. WILLIAM

              No house or car payments is an important factor in retirement.

              With advancing age protect your assets you can’t afford to gamble.

              At the moment interest earnings on cash are close to negative so you’ll need “much” more than you think.

              If your self employed DON”T RETIRE ! Keep your oar in the water and take time off as needed !

      2. WILLIAM

        You will need more !

        Try to pay off your Mortgage and auto loans and stay that way .

        They are one of the assets that have dual utility.

        Inflation steals your cash and you’ll need much more than you thought.

        At the moment 10/01/13 CDs pay virtually nothing.

        Another paid up house might help.

        Good luck !

    2. Adam

      Are you leaving out any factors in your calculation? Such as, parents paying for college, living with your parents/roommates, etc? Other factors put this generalized table in perspective.

      1. A

        Will all due respect. I don’t think it matters who paid for his/her college etc. There are always ways to save! If you have the luxury to stay in your parents home a little longer then most people do to save up some people earlier in your career. Its worth it!

  8. Mark Reynolds

    As someone who lives in a household making around $120k per year and owning $800k in property, I would say that I would have rather saved all of that money. I lay in my bed at night wondering what it would be like to have some money in my checking account after all the bills and taxes im currently paying off.

    1. Allan Holtz

      I was fortunate enough that my wife (Masters Degree in Nutrition) and I (Bachelors Degree in Engineering) both started work and married life (1972) with no student debt. She worked about 3 years before staying home to raise our 2 boys and I worked 37 years as an engineer in corporate America. We bought a house 21 months after starting work that was partially completed. We did the finishing work ourselves and added on to it twice since, again doing the work ourselves. We paid the mortgage off in 10 years and have usually paid cash for our vehicles. I was retired about 3 years ago at age 59 and we now have a net worth of $1.3 million. My salary grew over time from $10,000/year in 1972 to $99,000/year in 2008. I would say the key for us was my steady employment for a long period of time, always living below our means, never accumulating significant debt and reasonably good health. For the last 18 years I have run footraces between marathon (26.2 miles) and 100-mile length.

      My largest fear now is that the government won’t let us keep our money and spend it how we want to spend it now that we are retired. At least with the “robber barrons” of the 1850’s-1930’s you knew how they would steal your money and you had some choice whether to deal with them or not. With government today there are no limits to what they can take and its anyone’s guess what, when and how they will take it…

      1. The Greatest

        Your “largest fear … is that the government won’t let us keep our money,” when in fact YOU are probably taking piles of money FROM THE GOVERNMENT by claiming social security and medicare benefits, right?

        This is what’s wrong with America …

        1. Mike

          Touche. The Boomer Generation has caused the demise of our country. They entered into an “agreement” with their government reps to sell their votes for retirement and medical coverage at below their cost, with the difference being paid for by their children and grandchildren. Meanwhile the poorer younger workers, who have less quality jobs available, are forced to transfer their wealth to them. What a scam. Looking forward to voting their benefits into oblivion one day.

        2. Bubba

          Social Security is not a “benefit”. My employer and I both paid into it, and now I get to withdraw those payments. But, the gov can keep their ss payments, just give me back the money they took from me for 37 f*&%T*&%$ years, with interest…! The last thing I will accept is some moron telling me I’m taking PILES OF MONEY from the government, when I put the gaddamn piles of money INTO the government.

          1. steve

            “gaddamn piles of money INTO the government”
            is not a number.

            i bet you have no earthly idea how much you have paid in in the last 37 years

            1. Tim Miller

              Steve, You commented to Bubba that you believe that they have no idea how much money they have “paid” to the government.

              Don’t you think that the normal “Bubba” out there knows from their pay check that they pay 7.5% of that pay check for Social Security and that their employer matches that? Over 40 years, for the average American making $50,000, that is $7500 per year for a total of $300,000. If that money was simply invested in the S & P 500 in an IRA, the returns with dividends would be over 11% per year, and would equal $4,363.695 . . . and if the stock market fell in half right before they took it out, it would be over $2,000,000. What are your thoughts?

        3. bob

          Actually, the earliest
          you can take social security is 62 and Medicare at 65, so he isn’t yet taking a penny from the gubmint.

      2. WILLIAM

        Look at FIT and other taxes as just another cost of operations and forget it !

        Someone has to pay for police, firemen, roads, schools and a military. etc. etc.

        Count your blessings you were not caught in a layoff.

        1. Ed

          You mention FIT…then mention primarily non-Fed actions: police, firemen, roads, schools…and ‘rev sharing’ isn’t that much.
          Of the list, only the military is Fed.

          Don’t justify fed tax by non-fed actions.

      3. WILLIAM

        You had the right idea “Congratulations”

        Too bad you don’t have Medicare and a supplement. Medical bills can swamp you.

        Social Security will help you from 62 on and your taxes will be much lower. Remember keep in mind that if one goes SOC will be less as well.

        Keep you’re oar in the water in part time work. Retirement sucks after a while.

        Good luck !

  9. Bob R

    So these numbers include real estate holdings? If so, that’s really depressing. I don’t own a home anymore, but even at my age and income level, my $$ saved for retirement are almost 3X the number the calculator shows. I’m old and would like to retire in 3-5 years, but I still feel like I need twice as much as I currently have.

  10. Sm

    Remember, having a $200k net worth at age 60 isn’t bad if you own a $100k home outright, have a pension (public employee, or older UAW worker, etc) and live 60 miles outside of, say, Milwaukee or Cincinati. It’s another story entirely if you’re a marketing ‘professional’ with a mortgage, living in the Boston or San Fran suburbs. But what % of Americans live in subsidized housing or trailer homes? I doubt many of them have six figures in the bank.

    1. Chuck

      Here’s one. I live in a paid for double wide (AKA trailer) on 7 acres with way above six figures in the bank.

  11. Mrpolarbear

    Average numbers do seem low. However, once you input your income they seem to be more in line, so I have a hard time calling out the calculator.

  12. Eric

    I recently turned 25, put myself through school (not cheap), bought my own house at 20, and still managed to grow my net worth to over 100k (not tied up in illiquid real estate).

    That being said, people (of all age groups) could easily exceed these modest net worth averages by not placing so much value on materialism. Friends of mine (both old and young), have incomes in the hundreds of thousands (and some millions) per year. Yet have little, if any, saved relative to their income.

    It’s not how much you make, it’s how much you save. Instead of buying that thousand dollar flat-screen, make your IRA contributions; if you don’t need a $400k house, don’t buy it, the tax deduction isn’t worth the false-esteem it provides; sacrifice for the sake of others.

  13. Jeff

    I love all these 20 or 25 yr old kids who have
    100K or more net worth.its apparant Daddy or Grandpa has helped you out because paper route restraunts and entry level jobs do not get you this

    1. Kathie

      @ Jeff
      I love that you suggest paper routes, restaurants and entry level jobs do not get you this…I just turned 30 and have saved $117,000 over the course of my jobs, starting with my paper route in the 6th grade, restaurant work throughout high school and college, and entry-level positions (at non-profits no less!). I’ve also managed to buy my own car, and am regularly paying off my student loans (one more year to go!)

      Oh, and Daddy and Grandpa haven’t loaned me a dime, thank you very much!

      1. Nathan

        Great job in saving that much! But what was your net worth when you were 25? It took you five years longer… Which kind of solidifies Jeff’s point.

          1. WILLIAM

            Adam’s advice is correct. IMO.

            When my mortgage payment loan percent was greater than the bank interest paid me I paid off the mortgage.

            A good goal: Mortgage payment free, Car payment free !

    2. Wall Street Kid

      I paid my way through school while working full time and emerged with no debt. I spent the time from 21 – 23 working 80 – 100 hour weeks and now support my father, not vice versa. Despite this I am about to turn 24 with a net worth of 120k.

      Your comment is quite presumptuous / obnoxious.

      1. Nathan

        Presumptuous yes… Obnoxious maybe…. Generally true yes. Because you are an outlier does not make the statement false, especially since the statistics of this article back his statement up.

  14. Daniel

    My net worth at nearly 49 years is ~1.25 Million. Worked since I was 15 years old, finished high school, paid my way through some college (some debt) before joining the service for 6 years in the mid-late 80’s, finished college while in the service, debt free, got a technical job and worked overtime whenever offered. Worked my tail off my whole life so far. Probably lost upwards of 600K in the 2 recessions being the dot-com bust and the “Great Recession” of the last 3 years. Married a long time, >25 years w/2 kids and still act and think the same as when I was a teenager. No one has or is going to give me anything. I had to earn all of it. Proud? No, just know the reality of life. Taught by Great Depression mentality of my Father. Always am talking to my kids. They seem sensible about things such as this. Hope they remember these conversations we have. People need more than they think by these charts. By 55 I hope to “retire” to another location, still work if I have to but probably will even if I don’t, part time if nothing, just to be active. I figure that a person with a paid off home, can hope to “retire” at about 55-60 years old if they have about 750K-1M stashed. Medical I assume is covered at that time by employer (if you are lucky) to take you to 67 for Medicare. I figure a minimum amount needed monthly is about $3,200-$3,500 to live in the paid off home and be comfortable. This will cover all taxes, insurance, food, utilities, clothing, auto repairs, little bit of travel but not much, and other sundries. NO EXTRAVAGANCES. Anything able to be gotten above that is gravy. Once you hit 62, Social Security can kick in and help out, and the outlay from the 750K-1M initial can start to be built back up from prior withdrawals, hopefully to the point that it becomes self sustaining with positive cash flows into instead of out. Wish all well and hope those that need to save start doing so as soon as they are back on their feet from this terrible economic situation we are in now.

    1. Conrad

      Once I hit 62, (I’m 28 now) I do not expect Social Security to be able to pay me a dime! Anyone my age expecting social security when they retire is in for a real bad surprise and should be saving more than current experts suggest. Social Security is a Ponzi Scheme by a gentler moniker!

      1. ctl

        Don’t buy into it. They want you to think it will be gone. The ruling rich class does not want to pay you a dime, they want to work the life out of you and throw you away. As long as regular folks stick together and demand benefits nobody will ever take them away. People like Rush Limbaugh and Fox Business correspondents are conning people into carrying water for the rich, don’t do it, rich people will be just fine without your help. Im not talking socialism either, I am talking about a society that demands for a reasonible effort to take care of its retired and disadvanted individuals.

      2. WILLIAM

        If Social Security is gone so will America.

        Over half of retired Americans find S.S their major source of funds. I believe over half of them find it their ONLY source of
        funds. Not to worry !!! 🙂

    2. Bernard

      Daniel and group:

      We have about $640K in investments and cash and a vacation condo which will sell for perhaps $220K less expenses when housing straightens out. I just began taking SS (start in January) at $2600 per month (about $170 less due to Medicare cost included). Work as an electronic design consultant will bring $40K if I can find work two days per week. Age bias as a consultant is not as prevalent as a consultant vs. being an employee in my field, but it does exist. Nonetheless, if I don’t find work, drawing down investments at 4% will get us just under $60K per year with SS and a very small pension. That will increase slightly when my wife takes SS at age 62 (I’m 68, two years beyond the standard age for SS.

      Cutting to the chase: We need to remain where we are in the north east due to client presence and a great amount of electronic equipment and a small machine shop in my 2000 square foot basement. But, municipal taxes are 10K, and heating oil at $3 per gallon is $3K per year.

      I’d be interested in comparisons of others with my situation, particularly since some very frightening scenario exist, published by noted individuals, notably Doug Kass (The

      Looking forward to replies. A happy new year to all.


      1. Yoda

        I am pretty much in the same boat as you are. My husband, 61, and I, 59 are retiring this year. We both are high school teachers, and will have a combine pension of $120,000/year. We have $650,000 in savings, and $250,000 in real estate equity, and owned $275,000 life insurance each. Our monthly expenses are approximately $6,000/mo. We are hoping that we will be able to subsist without having to draw from our savings for our retirement. Do you think we could do it?

        1. Harry

          I wouldn’t count on getting your full pensions for too much longer as most states are going to have to cut back on promised entitlements because of gross underfunding.

          1. COCOA

            It is true that pensions are going through a major overhaul. We just had major changes that will affect our overall pension funding. I have 1 1/2 years to work until i can retire with full pension/medical benefits. Meanwhile, I have to save balls to the walls, as taking the lump sum option would grossly minimize my benefit, even with the 72t option. I will retire right before my 48th birthday with a three legged combined income stream of about 65k the initial year and COLA after that. I will have to be careful to look at my contingency place – which is to take the lump sum option should I have to, and invest that while I live off of my 457 funds.

            I am really tired, and don’t see myself working any longer for a living. 30 years is enough for me in the current work environment. Hopefully i can make my income work for me, no matter what the case and move over to open a job for someone else. I’m currently living off of 1/2 my six figure income and saving/investing the rest.

        2. steven

          120,000 a year pension for 2 high school teachers what’s wrong with this picture ??? no wonder California is broke that’s obscene, I bet you never made 60,000 a year ever while teaching full time yet your pension pays you more to do nothing every year when retired.

          1. Jack

            “I’m currently living off of 1/2 my six figure income and saving/investing the rest.”

            Its nice to get paid a six figure salary working 8 months out of the year and also having a $60+k pension after 30 years. Would never be able to get that deal in the private sector.

            1. Daniel

              Been a while since I last wrote. Quite a few scenarios out there. Looks like the public employees are steam rolling over anything the average working person can ever hope to retire with. I don’t understand how municipalities and states can afford this. I hope it doesn’t all come crashing down for the public sector folks. I took a good beating since I last wrote with investments and house value. Probably down a good 125K even with continuing to pump into savings and 401k/IRA. Still figure to be OK though since almost everyone has also been hammered. Current investments much more solid. 4 1/2 years to retire from current job and hope to get higher income from retirement work. Most in my field do. Quick math on Net Worth including 401K/IRA/pension value/stocks/second property=925K. Add 150K minimum for paid off house. No debts. Keeping risk low now until post election.

              1. The Greatest

                You hope it *doesn’t* come crashing down for all the public sector folks? I don’t know about you, but the thought of beleaguered taxpayers funding six figure pensions for high school teachers retiring in their fifties (while sitting on million dollar nest eggs) makes me physically ill.

                Here’s hoping those benefits get slashed sooner than later …

      2. WILLIAM

        Dump the condo and keep working !

        Is your regular home paid for ?

        If not pay it off with the condo sale money.

        Do not rely on your wife’s SOC as the corner stone of retirement.

        Retirement is overrated anyway ! Just slow up ! Do contract work.

    3. Sibyl

      Good for you, Daniel. It is not easy, but has been rewarding for you and the others with similar stories in similar positions, I hope. People may find it difficult to believe how it is possible to be disheartened with such nice savings levels right now, but the last four to five years have been nothing short of devastating and confidence shaking for people like you who worked really, really hard, felt they did everything right, and got caught in the flash crashes, general market down turns, and mortgage mess, a sandbox we never played in. Even sell orders protecting profits in stocks didn’t work when they needed to. The idea those people with some wealth built up this way should be taxed or should lose their promised retirement perks from the government are appalling. Congress needs to turn the mirror to itself and resolve to solve what they can of this mess to restore confidence while not killing the progress we are making so far.

  15. jack

    I’m 25 and in the army, I have a lot of my money in my ira, tsp, and some stocks. While most of the idiots in the army waste their money, buy big trucks, or pop out a dozen kids, I save my money. My net worth is over 150k. I haven’t went to college because I would rather save a lot of money in the beginning of my life then be riddled with debt and no savings for compound interest. Don’t listen to all the teachers who brainwash kids about how great college is and how much you’ll make compared to high school graduates.

    1. Troy


      Great for you. You should be proud of your accomplishments. Don’t bash college though. Take a look at the unemployment rates for high school grads compared to college grads? Big difference. The mistake kids make is that they think college has to be a six figure cost. Community colleges or commuting to 4 year schools can make a big difference so you are not saddled with debt. You’ll probably have access to a GI Bill and even be better off than most.

    2. themadpharmacist

      My retort to your ignorant comment is that im 25 and i went to college and i make 120k a year. Why dont you not give advice to those whose minds are not quite developed. I believe you have it backwards the army is the place where your mind is brainwashed into thinking you’re going to be better off than the rest of us. Maybe if kids started learning math and science in this country we wouldnt have to ask china to pay our bills. The army is a place for people who dont belong in jail. I agree many young americans waste their time and resources attending college, and maybe they shouldnt be there, but dont preach your bullshit if you dont know what kind of opportunities higher education can provide since the military is not equivalent.

      1. cliff

        funny,I never went to college.But I make 400K a year. I have a net worth of 6 million. Not to burst your bubble but a pharmasist salary is great to start but you will be making about the same money in 15 years

              1. Adam

                add “make” is not what you charge your customers, it is the bottom line after paying workers, insurance, taxes…..

          1. Db

            I can absolutely believe this. I just turned 39, never had the opertunity to attend collage and have a net worth of over 10M. Couple that with my ability now to add 5+M a year to that number, due to my current financial strength. It took the most time to get the first million, even through the great recession growth was still much easier then my start. Just my 2 cents.

    3. maurice raffoul

      in the army25 and 150k per year you liar, i now that is not a true statement, i worked as a mortgage broker from 23 to 27 until about 1 year before the crash, i was only able to save 160k, private sector and if you do make that much no wonder are country is going down, i have a cousin who is a marine he makes nothing. Please stop lying

    4. Daniel

      Good for you Jack. Teach others what you do and make them understand why it is important to look out for yourself like you are. Keep getting educated though. You will need it. One day you will leave the Army and will likely need more than what a retirement check from Uncle Sam will give you for 20 years service.

  16. Steven

    First off let me say many of the people here who have commented are doing a great job on there future retirement goals. I for one have been a saver and took it further by realizing that it is not what you save but how much you spend. I realized in a foreign country like Thailand where I reside now I can live off my savings very easily. My cost of living has gone down to one forth what it was in the U.S. It’s amazing how good my standard of living is now far surpassing what I ever imagined before I left the U.S. I live in a 2 bedroom 2 bath luxury condo on the 19th floor with views that stretch out to the horizon and a beautiful lake at my feet with every imenity you could want eat organic foods the best health care and insurance
    transportation is provided cheap by taxis everywhere at my beck and call.
    The beauty of this is my savings are not being depleted like you would imagine because the interest from my investments go so much further than they ever would in the overpriced hype of the U.S.
    Let’s face the facts if your contemplating retirement early you can do it easily outside the U.S. on far less money than you think.

  17. bill

    I turn 51 soon and my net worth is $1.06 million. I do not own any real estate unless you include a time share (and I don’t count that in my net worth). I am interested in knowing what the net worth of people in Los Angeles Beach cities are, such as Redondo Beach. I see that AGI’s are lower than my income. Yet house prices are sky high. I suspect people are thinking that real estate is their retirement plan. I have 56% stocks, 11% precious metals, and 32 or 33% government securities. And I am nowhere near retirement. I would be bored! Not sure if I want to own a house anyway. The ones in my area are under 1,000 square feet and are valued at $600k. Not worth it.

  18. Chris

    I don’t think one necessarily has to be a trust fund baby in order to have a high net worth at 25 years old as Jeff previously stated. I started working by mowing lawns and working as a caddy when I was 12. As soon as I was old enough to work I had a summer job. I paid for my own cell phone, own gasoline, and own car insurance. Any additional money I put into a Roth IRA. I will contend that my parents loaned me their 11 year old used car to use while I was in high school. However, upon my entrance to college they sold the car. I am currently going to college on full academic scholarship for 4 years to study civil engineering. I was offered a $46,000 a year co-op position this spring with a starting salary of $68,000 with the company upon graduation. This salary will help me pay for my meals, books, and allow me to pay off a new car before graduation.

    I think it is very conceivable for a self made man or woman to achieve the numbers that have been mentioned in the previous comments. Not to mention, I feel that the people who actually understand financial matters and care enough to look up these topics online, typically are the ones who are financially ahead of the majority of Americans who are head over heels in debt.

    1. Nathan

      Ehhh…. You do not get offered a “$46,000 a year” co-op position. What you probably mean is that you get paid an hourly rate, which if you worked full time for a year would end up being $46,000. The difference, you are probably working 20 hours a week at most while doing school so what you have is a $23,000 a year position…. And there really is not a difference between being given a full ride scholarship and having mommy and daddy pay for you, the point is your wallet is not taking the hit. Also, assuming you will be graduating around the age of 22 or 23, you will most likely not hit the $100,000 net worth mark by the time you are 25 regardless of your hard work…. Which further solidfies the point that the poster you are replying to made.

      By the way my story is the exact same as yours, same degree, same employment offer…. Difference, I paid for my school.

  19. Bob

    Kids be very careful of the whole college trap. Im so sick of still hearing people say ” GO TO COLLEGE AND YOU WILL MAKE BIG MONEY” ….I KNOW PLENTY OF COLLEGE GRADS MAKING 26,000 A YEAR AND HAVE 90K IN DEBT. Be careful…do research.

    1. cliff

      I am 45 years old net worth 2.5 Million, no debt, never went to college! I got into construction right out of high school! I make 250K or more a year, but my body just cant do the hard labor any more! So without a degree i would be lucky to make 30k doing something that doesent hurt my body!

      1. cliff

        nice name, funny thing is im 46 got into construction right out of high school. I have a nice net worth as well. So you have made a lot of money in the trade. It might be time to use youre experiance and money and become a manager, trust me the phone is lighter than a hammer and seams to make a lot more money!

        1. Cliff

          Long time Mike, sorry to ruin your day but this liar made over 2 million on a real estate deal last month! Step up and make me prove it! Or you could do another bong hit!

      2. Harry

        Cliff……..Hmmm…is that Cliff as in Cliff Claven? At first you made 400k or more and now you make 250k. You’re probably 5′ 1″ tall and have a huge little man complex?

        1. Mark

          No, I know plenty of guys who went into construction. Laying foundations, stop-over work orders, dicking their employees, charging a 5% premium on supplies. I have witnessed it all. In my personal experience, guy did horrible work. Invested all his money into his little estate and the foundation cracked. He has to go out of state to land jobs. You do good work. You get $. Personally, short stocks on a weekly basics and suck the $ from those who invest with local (dead beat) managers is a sure way to easy street. But at the same time you get burned. I just got burned 60k yesterday. Hopefully I will earn it back within the next week.

          1. Cliff

            I am know make over 600k in my construction job this year with government contracts. I even did this with obamacare stealing for the good working citizens. I am sick of all of all you people taking my taxes. You should all work for me if obamacare and socialists are no longer.

            1. ctl

              Really ? costs for “obamacare” have not kicked in yet and if you make as much as you say your federal income taxes have been going down steadily since about 1984. That fact is so evident, I have no idea why increasing the top tax bracket by 5% is such a political hot potato.

            2. billy

              Hey Cliff. You sound like a fucking tool. ego tystical prick. Money doesn’t buy happiness. I’m sure ur making others feel shitty because of your own insecurities, lack of friends, and ego coming out the ass. Anyone can come on here and say they’re rich. I bet you’re typing this in your mothers basement.

            3. WILLIAM


              It seems having ones own successful business is the only way to feather a nest than eat like the birds.:-)

        2. Cliff

          Harry, you drive a Camry and you have not made your wife cum in years. You think you have a great job but you dont! You are fat! You shop at Wall Mart! You sit your fat ass in front of the TV every Sunday and watch football! You might even have a fantacy team! Yea i cant spell for shit, but i nailed you and i am rich!!!!!!!

          1. Mort

            Cliff- This is your wife writing in to say that you make $7/hr. cleaning urinals at the YMCA. Stop pretending to be a baller.

  20. bill

    One can get a very good quality education at a community college and finish the other two years at a state university. The text books in the technical areas (Math, engineering, the sciences, and computer science) ARE USUALLY THE SAME as the text books at the Ivy league colleges. My income has been above the 6 figures yearly since 2001 and I’m a state university graduate.

    I do recommend people to finish their masters degrees too because unfortunately a Bachelor degree these days is as common as a high school diploma was thirty years ago. You have to work harder to stand out and earn the big bucks. I recommend working on your MS degree while you are in your professional field after your BS degree.

    By going to a state university, you save yourself from the enormous student debt and you gain wealth faster than the graduates of the snobby schools. A smart graduate would start a 401k and Roth IRA right away. The Ivy league graduates will be too burdened by debt to fund a 401k or IRA. You get a jump on them and will retire before them (with lots nice cars and a nice house).

  21. Dr. Mo' Naye

    I am a financial advisor and think these figures are well represented for the population as a whole…Many people spend as much or more than they make. They make poor choices by over-extending themselves through credit cards, O% financing deals for 12 months for store purchases, buying homes they cannot afford. This in turn precipitates into the low money syndrome where most people are short on cash.

    I instruct my clients to do these (2) financial concepts you may not be aware of:

    1) Save (10%) or more of your GROSS SALARY and treat it as your “first bill.” Repeat it every month until you retire.

    2) If you do not have the cash to buy impulse items (which include big screen TV’s, stereo’s, expensive purses and shoes…) DO NOT BUY THEM!
    Stop trying to impress the Jones’s next door unless they are fully funding your retirement and children’s education too. At the end, it is you who have to look at in the mirror when you retire.

    It pains me to see the same thing happening over and over again…some families taking financial advise from their broke relatives perpetuated by the global media. Don’t get caught up with the sea of financially irresponsible souls!

    Be Bold…Save your Money, & Let your retirement be GOLD!

    -Dr. Mo’ Naye

    *Dr. Mo’ Naye will be coming out with a book in Spring 2011…Look for it in the upcoming months.

  22. Fred

    I guess I’m not doing too badly, I am 43 and my net worth is almost 200k. (It was over 200k before the stock market went to the dumpster). Most of mine is in cash, but some in my house. I am the sole bread winner in my family. Income has been averaging 130’s the last 3 years or so. But 130k around where I live can buy you a nice new 5000 sqft home which in CA would cost well over 1 million dollars. Education does help (if you get the right degree). Although my parents did pay for my education, my net worth was the result of my hard work and no-one elses. My goal is 2 million by the time I retire..

  23. Over the hill

    Follow the principles set forth in the “Millionaire Next Door” starting early in your career and you will be just fine. Pay yourself first (save/invest); Live below your means; use debt only for things that generate a payback; forget about impressing others…they aren’t no matter where you live or what you drive; take please in the truly meaningful aspects of life — owning things isn’t that; and let time do its thing to you.

  24. bill

    Over the hill, I agree with your advice. I am one of those prodigious accumulators of wealth. While I do use credit and it amounts to 0.29% of my net worth, I live well below my means. One should take indulgences though. Otherwise why save? I don’t have any beneficiaries. I’m also older than 50, so I’m going to slip into more and more indulgences in stages as long as my wealth keeps increasing year over year.

    1. Adam

      @Bill – good call on having “some” fun while you are earning. the millioniare next door book really drove home the approach that you have to save everything along the way. nothing like reading about a well-to-do saver croking at 55 with all this money saved……..his wife will enjoy spending it with the pool boy (if she hasn’t already divorced him and took half)

  25. Vince

    I am 19 and I have already saved 3k in my 401k. I have 1200 in my savings account, 400 in my checking and a paid off credit card with a 600 dollar limit. I have my college paid for through my work, I think I am definitely off to a great start.

  26. bill

    Vince, I agree, you are off to a great start! Congratulations! I did not start investing until age 29. You will never regret starting investing in your teens. I regret NOT starting investing earlier than I did.

  27. Steve

    I am 52, married, with two kids left to put through college. I have a $650K mortgage on a house worth $550K. I have $390K in cash and $610K in retirement accounts, so basically I’ve got $1 million but zero home equity. According to the calculations I’ve done, my retirement life will consist of living in a trailer-park, eating pork & beans, shopping at Wal-Mart, praying I don’t don’t get sick, and hoping I don’t live past 70. It’s all very depessing. If those statistics are correct, I can’t even imagine how the “average” person in my age group will ever retire at all.

    1. Steven

      A million dollars net worth is great by the age of 52. Social security for you should be at least 2000 a month when you hit 62+. If you retire you just have to move outside the United States believe me 2000 a month social security plus a million dollars with interest at 4+% gives you a lifestyle like a King in Thailand and I’m sure all through south America and Central America as well. You and your wife would be grossing 65k a year in a foriegn country like thailand that would be equavilent to 260k a year in the USA your life would be anything that your heart desires living like royalty for sure.

      1. Steve

        So I have a million dollar net worth at age 52, and my retirement choices will be to either live on a rice-farm in Thailand, or a trailer-park in the US. Wow. And that’s assuming I can stay employed until age 67, and don’t incur any medical expenses other than an occasional box of aspirin.

        1. Jason

          Steve, perhaps you are being overly negative. If you have saved up a million dollars, with your peak earning years still ahead of you, that is great. I don’t know why you took on a 650k mortgage but that was your choice. If you sit on it for 15 years you should be able to sell it at a profit, or just pay it off (NO RENT). And $2000/month + 3% of wealth (30k/year) will buy you much more than pork ‘n beans.

          1. Dave

            Stop encouraging more farangs to go to Thailand Steven! Keep Asia a secret, 99% of Americans are oblivious to the incredible life they could live if they weren’t so Americanized.

      2. pookie

        Thailand is not as cheap as it was 20 years ago.
        Inflation is over 5% there now. Probably a lot more. But it is still a lot cheaper than retiring in the United States. I would honestly say that a single person over 50 years old who has a retirement visa in Thailand could live on 24k a year about 800k baht. This is for someone that eats like the locals (30-40 baht or 1.20 usd per rice dish. It would also include a monthly rent of about 600 dollars a month for efficiency studio or one bedroom in Bangkok. So if you add in another 1000 dollars a month for entertainment, soap, shampoo, travel, laundry, etc. you could scrape by in Bangkok on 2k usd a month. For most people with
        golfing as a hobby, and other things to stay active, I would say that between 3k to 4k usd is more accurate. Buy an annuity with your 1 million dollars and get 4000 dollars a month and you are set for life. If you can wait another 2-3 years then interest rates will go up and you will be able to get 5000 to 6000 a month with an immediate annuity. But rates must go up a lot more than the present. So there it is folks, Thailand retirement for those with 1 million dollars. Live like a king in the land of smiles. As Trink used to say TIT–This is Thailand. Sawasdee Crap.

        1. steven

          Your figures are pretty high for expenses.
          First of all if your retired you don’t need to live in the heart of Bangkok with all the noise and pollution, that’s a rat race left for the weary. Better to live just outside the city in the Suburburbs, this way you can get much cheaper housing, much quieter and cleaner air to breath without all the crowds. Most retired people don’t like to live in the middle of a busy city, if your craving the new show or resturant or want some of the night fun that Bangkok has to offer you can easily take a quick 25 minute airconditioned minivan into the city whenever you want cost under a dollar less than the gas to drive there. my rent for a fully furnished 2 bedroom 2 bath Condo on the 20th floor of a European standard facility is only 400 dollars a month much cheaper than your 600 overpriced bangkok apartment. I have never spent 2000 a month here
          and I live like royalty. I usally spend about 16,000 dollars U.S. but that is with not much travelling. First class health care, great food,lot’s of entertainment, and great internet and cable TV.

  28. Andyboy

    Seems pretty low, i live in Canada, and i think the numbers are comparable, i think Canadians have a little less household debt, but both sets of numbers much lower than i’d imagined. I think it would be useful to slice and dice by where a person lives ie) based on city size. Perhaps 300K might be enough for a retiree in small town, but in New York or Toronto (where i’m from), that wouldn’t be enough. I’m 34 with a net worth about 275K (cdn$ close to par), my wife’s net worth is even higher. i’m projecting a minimum of 1M not including the home at retirement for both of us to live comfortably. 1.5M if i want to retire at 55. Boggles the mind how it’s possible to live on the numbers supplied above. to stretch that amount out is almost akin to poverty. Really puts things into perspective. I’m not counting on gov’t pension or corporate pension…anything i get out of that would be gravy. I’m counting on rental income which is already helping to add to my networth every month and what ever income my savings will generate. Not counting on anyone to support me…i think that’s the safest approach.

  29. Pingback: Liberals Hate (Other Peoples’) Money

  30. Andy

    Very interesting, love the stats too. I thought the numbers would be a bit higher to be honest. But I guess net worth excludes primary home. So I think I am in the ballpark.

    NB: Great site you have here!

  31. Bill

    Though I respectfully understand the tone of everyone’s concern, having a net worth and living in a free nation puts all of us so much further than you realize. I’m 48, graduated high school, and attended 3 years of study at a state college in New York. I have owned two retail businesses and have SAVED and INVESTED a net worth of 1.4 million dollars. I have a wife and two daughters with college bills ahead of me and a new business to start. I embrace the opportunity and the challenges ahead of me in these difficult times. I live within my means (have never owned a luxury car) and love each day that I get to spend on this beautiful earth. Money is important but it is not everything.

    Best wishes to you all,


  32. Jason

    37 yo, started investing at age 30. Today I have $80k in IRAs, $50k in a Margin, no property. Doing the Millionaire Next Door thing, although I will treat myself to creature comforts from time to time. I find that not drinking alcohol saves me at least $3k/year after-tax. My only upset is that my extra-curricular entrepreneurial ambitions have borne little fruit. But, my income (both passive & earned) has steadily increased, as I’ve gained more and more financial confidence.

  33. Steve

    I’m 25 years old, net worth about $50k (25k in stocks, 10K in IRA, 15K in savings, $13 in my wallet). I’ve always been focused on saving and investing since I was 19 years old. How do I have 50K at 25? I’m cheap. I rarely buy ‘nice’ things and hate taking girls out on dates because I know I’ll have to pay. I spend lots of time planning budgets and goals on spreadsheets and reading websites like these.

    1. Mike

      Love that you mentioned the $13 in your wallet:) I’m cheap as well. No fancy smart phone, no cable(that never has anything good on anyway), almost never pay full price for anything. I’m a bit older than you but my net worth is significantly higher than the medians above for both my age and income.

      That said, take a girl out now and then. Don’t go overboard with high-end restaurants. If she doesn’t like it good riddance to her(Not saying take her to McDonald’s either). You sound smart and funny. Atributes a real women would be looking for. You don’t want to be alone the rest of your life.

    2. stuart

      Way to go Steve.

      Keep it up and don,t believe everything you read some stuff is true some stuff is there to throw you off I lost everything at age 40 10 years later have a household net worth of $293,000 where there is a will there is a way.

      Divorce cost me everything and more j\have to pay child support everymonth from a net worth of zero to ten years later $295,000 knowledge is king played the stocks bought real estate fixer uppers buy low sell when you make money not sell high if the mat\rket gives you money take it better than waiting and ending up in a loss.

    3. Adam

      get a roommate who stays in his room cranking out budgets too and your wealth will just accrue more and more……..directly inverse to the level of enjoyment you gain over that time. just my take

  34. Chuck

    While your living, disposable income is a better measure of wealth than net worth. How much you have to spend outside your basic needs is real wealth. You need to keep things such as a home and car. So even though they are in your net worth, they can’t normally be spent for recreation, clothes, food, entertainment, etc.

    When you die or have a financial emergency then net worth assets such as a home, property, etc. become important. You, or your heirs, can turn it into disposable income producing assets or use it to pay off debt.

  35. jeff

    The numbers look pretty good and I fall within the range but unfortunately I live in southern California and I need to be making probably 20% more to be better off. The differences between living on a coast and in the middle of the country are huge when you consider things like rent or mortgages, insurance, and other cost of living items. The IRS doesn’t take these things into account at tax time any more and it really stings.

  36. senryo

    Learn to cook healthy food, don’t live in a McMansion, exercise regularly, don’t have a boatload of children, find cheap productive hobbies, use public transportation when possible, and most importantly make sure your spending doesn’t increase at the same rate your salary increases.

    Go to college, don’t go to college… whatever floats your boat. As long as you are able to live frugally, it doesn’t really matter. Every reasonably intelligent person in this country who isn’t burdened with unavoidable debt and/or horrific bad luck should be able to retire before 40 if they want to, in a few cases, well before 40. You can find details at earlyretirementextreme dot com.

    I started my career as a high school teacher in the Bay area (which has a relatively high cost of living) making less than 40k a year. My wife and I were able to save and invest 20k my first year of teaching, and as our salaries grew we kept out spending levels at roughly the same level. Now that we are both 32 we have saved a little more than 500k (we do not own a house and have no debt).

    Barring a massive plunge in the stock market, we’ll be millionaires when we are 36 and can currently support ourselves solely with our investment income (just barely in this lousy market). We got a late start because we had to pay off college debt – if I had been smarter and had gone to community college first then transferred, we could have shaved a couple more years off of our retirement (or if you prefer, financial independence) date.

    Please don’t measure yourself against those depressing median values. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Figure out what your freedom and time are worth, and go for it. I’m very lucky because I actually enjoy my career, but I would have been willing to suffer in a job I disliked for ten years to earn an extra 20, 30, maybe even 40 years of freedom.

    Think about it. Thirty years. Do you really need to eat out every day? Do you really need to own all the latest high-end electronics and games? Do you really need to buy everything new? Do you really need to buy that book or movie at all? Do you really need to live in an enormous house full of new furniture with the AC/Heat on constantly and an endless lawn and a riding mower and cupboard full of prepackaged snacks? Maybe you do, but you’re paying decades of your life for the privilege.

    1. Ed

      You left out……

      “Do you really need to own 2 suits?”
      “Do you really need to own 4 ties?”
      “Do you really need to own a pet?”
      “Do you really need cable TV?”
      “Do you really need to eat three times per day?”
      “Do you really need pictures on your walls?”

      I pride myself in being frugal and have well above average net worth for a person my age, but c’mon!!! The beautiful thing about money is that you can either save/ invest it, give it away, or puchase things that improve your feeling of well-being. I agree that many people spend their money on stupid things. Just as many people would look at me and say….” What a dumbass. He is so willing to retire early that he won’t buy a boat.” What’s important to you might not be important to someone else, and vice versa”. There is more to life than saving money at every possible corner of life. Warren Buffet is my idol, but I think it’s ridiculous that he wears ties that are frayed at the edges. But it’s his choice, so I can live with it. I have no choice but to live with it. The fun years of your life won’t be when you have millions of dollars at age 85 and you are staring out the window drooling. If that’s path you choose, be prepared to be wishing ( at age 85) that you had lived a fuller life when you were younger.

  37. Dave

    Age 59, net worth $5.5 mill, no debt, and I would not be comfortable retiring at this time due to kids in college and taxes and insurance to pay. The bulk of my worth is in paid for real estate and mutual funds. The problem with retirement would be current income in my case so I guess I will just keep working.

  38. Ted

    I’m 55 with a net worth of about $5 million and no debt except for a $225k mortgage. Only $500k of my net worth is in real estate, the rest is cash and stocks. Going to work till 65 because I’m lucky enough to be making $600k year in salary from a business I own and I have nothing else to do anyway. I don’t see how someone with a net worth of $180k can retire at 64. I wish it wasn’t true, but it is.

  39. M goldstein

    Will you networth protect you from the economy? The economy is non-linear. Non-linear equates to chaos theory. Chaos is one of Physics Foibles – non-predictable. Butterflies may cause tornadoes!!!

  40. MAR

    I am 58 and net worth of $1.5M. Married once and still married. Our average gross household income over the last 10 years is about $100K/yr. Prior to that about $60K/Yr. Only real estate I own is my home. No other income or major assets.
    I plan on retiring at 63 and collecting my SS ASAP as it may not be there with the way our government is spending. We will both make enough on our SS and Pension and won’t need to start drawing off our 401’s until we are 70. Based on projections by the time we are in our early 90’s we will still have about $700K left.

    We are in great shape for blue collar workers

    1. Andy

      If you can fund yourself through age 67, wait before taking your social security. At age 58, it will still be there for you. It is the 20 and 30 year olds who may see their taxes rise or their retirement age pushed back.

      1. Maxentius

        The Ryan Plan from the House Republicans cuts off everyone under the age of 55.

        I think they figure most younger people vote Democratic anyway, so screw them!

  41. Andy

    Someone with a modest home, a social security check, a few $100k in the bank, and copious free time is far richer than some corporate puke in his 30’s with a 200k salary who gets screamed at by his boss each day, works 80 hours a week, and has to compensate by buying a 500k home, 60k sports car, and a demanding and expensive “trophy wife”.

    1. Harry

      Andy, 500k is not alot for a house in many places. I detect that you are resentful and jealous and the same time.

      1. Ross

        If by “many places” you mean the top 1% most expensive places in the country, then sure. You might want to read the definition of the word “many” though.

    2. George N

      I agree wholeheartedly. My partner and I are both 42, am on ssd, both work p/t at $10/hr jobs, live in the middle of long island, ny, just paid off the $41k mortgage on our one bath, one bedroom condo, paid off a ’07 Toyota yaris, paid off student loans, NO credit cards and NO medical bills, we just have two cats, 4 pc’s incl iPad, 2 flatscreen HDTV tv’s, a power recliner, washer/dryer/dishwasher and $225k in the bank, and we don’t have to wake up early in the morning to drive an hour long commute to a dreadful job. We are both living the ultimate life o’ Riley! God bless the world!!

      1. Adam

        ssd must pay a decent amount. 225K divided $20/hour (each of you at $10) is 11,250 hours of work each. that’s 5 years each at full time, with no expenses. try again

  42. tommy

    i’m a 46 y/o single dude with a net worth of $275,000. i’m a 45k a year truck driver with an additional 5-7k a year earned repairing cars in my garage at home.

    in 1993 i was in the hole 5k, and have clawed my way to this point, with nothing more than a 30k salary until 2001.

    my monthly expenses are apprx $1500. $665 is my 5.5% mortgage. home value 145k, mortgage balance 73k. i drive an old ’95 sonoma that i paid cash for in 1999, and have no plans to replace it.

    i plan to retire at 50, build hotrods in my home shop to sell at auctions after i get tired of driving them myself in addition to customer work that interests me, and should be able to have a leisurely existence if i stay away from newer cars, bigscreen tv’s and credit cards.

    i live now like i did when i was a stupid 26 year old kid who finally hit the bottom after irresponsible living. i’m 46 and haven’t forgotten what it was like to scrape coins together to have a 1/2 pound bag of rice to eat for a week, hoping my electricity wouldn’t get shut off and using quarters for a pay phone 7 blocks away from my house to conduct a job search. those living conditions FLAT SUCK.

    1. wayne

      i hear you! great post. you and i are kind of on the same path to redeeming ourselves from past mistakes. good luck in the years to come.

  43. MAR

    Doing more calculations my wife will collect SS at 62 and I will delay mine. If I die first my wife will collect my larger SS check. We can live easily on pension, her SS, plus 1% draw or our 401’s.

  44. Ride45

    I wish I would have had the knowledge (now, at 51) at 30, when I got married and had $0 net worth. Personal finance was something I had to learn on my own.
    Still married, two kids later and we have $580K in the market and $400K in 401K with a nice pension coming at 65…
    Tips: Max out your 401K, live in a house you can afford, pay of all CCk, stay married and never buy a new car.

    Millionaire Next Door is a great book.

  45. Chris

    30 single living with girlfriend. Networth around 100k. Took a bit of a hit in the housing and stock market, but nothing like some folks. Own a reasonable home (~200K). Drive a 7 year old paid off car when I have to, but only drive on the weekends. Zero credit card debt. Zero student loan debt (just paid off). My biggest mistake is buying a home when I did. It just wasn’t smart. It needs work and the value has dropped at least 20 percent. Good bye equity. To make up for the loss I put, at least, an extra 500 towards my mortgage every month. I’m not sure the renovations I have done or plan to do will be worth 50% of the investment. Needless to say, those plans are mostly on hold. At least 10 to 20K lost on those already. Smartest thing: living in an affordable city (Columbus, OH) within walking distance of work, shopping, and pleasure. If I was renting still I could arguably save another thousand dollars a month between mortgage and repairs. My pay will likely take a hit in the coming years with the anti-government sentiment reaching new highs. Unfortunately, professional staff who are underpaid for their experience and education will go down with the overpaid, uneducated state workers. I hope to sell my home in 2013 and move to a state a little more progressive than Ohio where jobs and pay are better. I will be renting wherever I end up.


    1. Robert Bell

      If it is any consolation, I was in your shoes in 1989 when the housing bubble burst last time. I wasn’t too “upside down” in my home and after about five years, things evened out. After 15, they went crazy again and I sold.

      You are doing a lot better than most 30-year-olds, and if you stay the course, you will easily have a seven-figure net worth by the time you retire.

      You are right about home improvements – they return 50% on the dollar, at best. My one regret was adding on to and improving my home. I sold the home to a developer at the height of the market, and it all tasted the same to the bulldozer.

      Kudos for having no other debts and a paid-off car. Debt free is the way to be!

  46. Robert Bell

    These averages are depressing. How is anyone going to retire on $200,000 in savings?

    One answer might be that a lot of older people have PENSIONS (we younger people have 401(k) plans.

    A lot of other people are counting on Social Security (which will be a rude shock when benefits are cut in 2030 or thereabouts).

    If you are going to retire on your savings and social security, you’d better have close to $1M in the bank than $250,000. Otherwise, retirement will be a rather bleak and sad existence.

    And yet, many baby boomers are slated to retire in the near future, and 1 out of 5 has bubkis in the bank.


  47. Drew

    We attempted to have our own busienss and invested our life’s savings to employ over 30 people by buying a franchise in 2005. We had to close our store in 2008 due to the economy and the tremendous debt run up to keep the business going as long as we did. We had to file Chapter 7 personally and for our business. We are in our mid 50’s and have lost everything, with 2 kids ready for college! It’s been 2 years since the bankruptcy and we were fortunate to be able to return to our former careers and managed to save over $25K and get back into real estate. Unfortunately, it will take winning the lottery or a large inheritance to see us through our retirement years. We plan to work til we die!!

    1. Sammy

      I am sorry toy hear that Drew. Really. You should look into distribution/wholesale like industrial equipment, electronic components, even if operation is small you can make a alot of money. Be sure to find companies that drop ship so you won’t have to deal with inventory. Make your own booklet(not difficult). You could do this from home part time or full. Whatever floats your boat. I know this guy that is doing 250K in his basement doing what I just told you. Whatever floats your boat. If you’re interested email me @ [email protected]. I’ll tell you all about it.

  48. Jared

    These numbers really do not surprise me at all. The under 25 category speaks for itself. 25-34 the average person has a negative net worth because of college loans and car payment/mortgage. I have seen couples who make $250,000 a year and keep upgrading their cars and houses and have a net worth of $25,000 because they care too much about status. In today’s society it is very deceiving who actually has money and who doesn’t because the average joe can now go buy a Mercedes or Audi while working at Mcdonalds and a millionaire could be driving something more practical.

    1. ballerb

      yes i am worth over 10 million but always dress like a bum, when people she me they think im a bum i go to rich car dealers, and at first when i buy a lambo they laugh at me, then i come back later and laugh at the bad sale guy, then another guy was nice when i open 100k in cash in my suitcase 🙂

  49. pat

    This does not take into account inheritance. Boomers will inherit the largest sum of money in human history… bar the Romans…

    We have a lot of wealth to trickle down.

  50. m

    This is silly, I am 25 and have over 100 k. They are saying the average for 25 year old is 8 k? That’s pathetic.

  51. lucky

    My wife and I decided when we married 38 years ago that we had no intention of working into our sixties.So we started investing 25% of our earnings when we were in our 20’s. My wife was a CPA and I worked as an Air Traffic Controller. My wife retired at age 47. I retired when I reached 54. Today we have a net worth close to two million dollars. We were able to amass this amount by investing, rather than buying every new gimmick sold by advertisers. Today we travel around the world for up to three months a year. We never earned the millions a year the very rich earn, but we lived comfortably on 75% of our net earnings during our working years. Having a net worth of a million or more really isn’t that difficult if you just decide to save during your working years and not try to keep up with the Jones family next door. The one thing I have learned about those who seem to own all the newest items which come on the market. These same people are the one’s who are always complaining that they have no money. I am now 60 and my wife is 56. So our net worth is well above the average for our age group. If we were able to start with nothing and be where we are today financially. There is no reason everyone else on here can’t do the same thing

    1. Robert

      I’ve started something very similar. I started saving when I was 22 and now 2 and a half years later I have around $70,000. It’s mostly invested in Term Deposits at 6.5%, I have around $11,500 of that in shares.

      If I continue on the way I’m going then by my calculations I’ll be up around $2,000,000 by 50. Of course that’s not taking into account buying a house or the wages of any future spouse.

      The thing that I’ve noticed with people my age, my mates and work collegues is that they don’t feel like they make enough to save. I’m on the same as they are and can comfortably put away between $1,200-$1,300 a fortnight. Even when I try to talk to them about money all they can come up with is “I don’t make enough to save”.

  52. James

    I’m 23 years old with $275,000 in savings! Thinking I should invest in real estate, what other investments might be a good idea?

  53. Somebody

    Hey, these values are median and not average. There is a difference in statistic…

    And it does not say if these value are the sum of the account value in the range divided by the population or divided by the number of accounts. Some people have no account. So if you divide by the total population, then you get a low number, however the average or median value of each account is much higher !

    Tricks from statistics….

  54. mike

    Clearly saving early is important, I have saved 12% since I was 19. My balance is above the average or “median ” …..whatever. However, fretting over status, and become obsessed with mounting an oblivious pile of money (critical Mass) you are still a slave to that, and might as well be in debt, because you are never satisfied. A true measure of a man is not how much he makes , but how he spends it.
    Enjoy life and spend it well before you have a heart attack worrying about it

  55. JoJo

    Smart ideas! I am 58, invested in single family homes. Waited till the market boomed (it cycles about every 7 years), then refinanced one and paid off the rest. Did this a few times until I have a dozen homes with rental income along with my salary. Only problem is: I pay my ex a large amount every year, and have to watch out for female predators! So, save up, buy property, live within your means, and don’t listen to everybody. Listen to the sage advice of people who have been through the tough times. Life can, and is very good here in the U.S.A.!

    1. WILLIAM

      Jo Jo : Re: “watch out for female predators!”

      No way !

      Just make enough money you can afford them ! 🙂

  56. Jared

    These are statistics and they do not lie! If someone has a $200k mortgage and owes $20k on a car loan their net worth is -$220k. Most Americans fail to realize cars, houses, cloths, furniture do not count as an asset and only liquid funds do. We live in a very ignorant society!!!!

    1. Andy

      You are assuming their house is worth $0 ? Seems unlikely.

      Net worth = assets – liabilities. The home is most certainly an asset. The mortgage is a liability.

      1. Andyboy

        I guess Jared’s logic is that you have to live somewhere, and the conservative approach would be to take the amount of home that is the smallest you would be comfortable with and exclude that from your net worth. cuz you can’t really count on that portion of your worth to pay bills and buy groceries if it means you have to sell it and live on the street.

        1. WILLIAM

          Think: Food, Clothing, and Shelter first !

          If the house and auto are paid for your cash will go further and you don’t have to worry about Housing Bubbles or Wall Street crashes.

  57. Chris

    I am currently 19 years old, and the career I am planning to go into will make around 80-100k per year. Problem is, by the age of 30 I need to accumulate close to 350k of wealth so that I can write my parents a 250-300k check so I can buy them a home in their dream country (Japan). I plan to live in a cheap apartment, and save 50% of my income after taxes which would allow me to put in 30-35k into my account. I figure around 25k for their fund invested and 10k in my retirement annually at 8% interest rate. Only problem is the Japanese Yen is getting far too strong, so I’m trying my next 10 years won’t go to waste…

    But honestly, if the average person can make sure 46k a year and survive with a family, there’s no reason why us more successful young people can survive individually off of 20k per year. Obviously you won’t live a high quality of life, but at least you can retire safely and sleep at night knowing you have money in the bank.

    1. Chris

      Btw, currently I have 15k saved up, and next summer I should be pulling in another 10-15k, so I should be graduating college with at least 20k. If I invest this money for 8 years at 8% interest that alone would turn into 37000. Not much, but it’s a start I suppose…

      1. Jimmy hwang

        Chris, email me. I work closely with these wall street crooks so I can give u some good stock advice.

        Stocks are a scam. U only make money if u know the game is rigged. YouTube Jim crammer market manipulation.

      2. WILLIAM


        Re: If I invest this money for 8 years at 8% interest that alone would turn into 37000. Not

        Today more like .001% 🙂

  58. Jimmy hwang

    Very annoyed by the young kids bragging about their net worth. Many of you kids haven’t taken the huge stock market hit that many people in their 50 and 60 have when the market crashed. In fact the stock market is fraudulent, and obviously when stocks like Bank of America and bear sterns go from 50 to mere penny stocks then of course older people who used to have 3 million in their accounts are wiped out. 100,000 isn’t that much to brag about. That is what young Americans should be saving by the time they hit 26. Very few kids In their 20’s have a net worth of over 100,000 unless everyone here graduated from Princeton or Yale or a expert trader. Even then, u guys should easily be in the half the million mark. Money isn’t everything.

  59. Jimmy hwang

    I worked as a active trader in the London comex silver futures and talk to many people double my age telling me how bad the 2008 market crash killed their retirement funds. It’s luck sometimes…stocks are just a huge pyrmaid scheme. Jp Morgan and gold man sach are crooks. I used to work for them, so I saw first hand how many of the older generation hedge funds were purposely raped for the scumbags that rig wall street.

    I have been trading for many years and was lucky to my money in 2008 because I work for the crooks that bascially plan this from the beginning.

    Watch the documentary inside job or google Goldman sach housing market fraud.

    1. Mark

      Haha, hedging. Only the grimmest will do it. Oh wait, everybody does it. I just got done talking to a local branch manager. He says Hartford & Templeton fund. You know when you meet a shitty manager, is when he pawns you off to a fund of a fund. I called him about municipal bonds. Go figure; he just wants me moo-laa.

  60. Deanne

    Jeez. I feel like a loser compared to all you super fancy wealthy 25 year olds. I’m 26, own a small transportation company that employs 7 and grosses just under $650k. I also work an additional full time job in banking operations, making a whopping $26k per year. Between my husband and I our gross annual income is $105k. We own a regular house worth $165k with around $25k in equity. College educated with no student loan debts, we went to a community college and paid as we went. I sell plasma 2x a week for an extra $300/mo. We have about $19k in other debts, like car loans and a loan to build a deck and a fence on our small property. We’ve got a nice little pile of cash on deposit and fledgling retirement accounts that we have been contributing to for the past 5 years or so.. Oh, and we live in North Dakota…so everything is pretty affordable. I guess we are ahead of the normal ‘curve’ when it comes to regular 25 year olds, but not as advanced as we would like to be. Oh yeah I forgot about our biggest wealth-prohibitor, our one year old son 🙂

  61. wayne

    8 years ago, i had a net worth of, well, basically, zero. i was living paycheck to paycheck, deluding myself into believing that my $100,000 income meant i was doing alright. of course, again, i saved nothing, nor did i really think about the future.

    then, at the age of 38, with basically zero net worth, i suddenly woke up. no more credit cards. no more luxury cars (what a waste!), no more shopping at Abercrombie (still wearing now what i bought then and it’s all just fine).

    today, my net worth, again from nothing, is $500,081. i’m happy with that but know that i could have done much better if i woke up earlier-in fact, i ignored all the advice around me to save, why i don’t know. anyway,now saving $90,000+ per year and my goal by age 50 is 1 million.

    so why am i sharing this? well, maybe some people will realize the need to save, and just how powerful compounded interest rates work when it comes to returns (my interest income increases 4k per year and currently is $18,500 annually). i by no means have “made it” but i think i am on the right track to future stability.

    wish all you the very same! start when you are young, live below your means (if you can, it’s kind of self-perpetuating/reinforcing), make a goal and keep that goal, track your net worth, quit buying things you really just don’t need.


  62. COCOA

    I would like to represent the single working moms who don’t seem to ever think about retirement. Afterall we are mostly thinking about taking care of the kids financial needs and providing for the family on a single income. I was lucky enough to start a government job 29 years ago right out of high school. As I come to the end of my tenure, i’ve had a fully loaded salary of six figures at it’s peak. I plan to put in for my retirement at age 47 to either collect my pension of 40k w/ 3%COLA or take the lump sum. The lump sum with my personal savings will be about 800k – with no property liability or debt to speak of, I’m ready to be a stay at home mom and provide everything for my family. We won’t be rich by any means, but we will not be peasants either. I worked my a$$ off and sacrificed a lot (also had a baby late in life by choice)to make sure that i could afford it. Don’t get me wrong I had my FUN. I intend to continue having fun once I’m retired with time to spare volunteering and within my community. GIRLZ ROCK!

  63. Karl

    Wow… very low numbers. I’m 46 and my wife is 40. About 20K short of the 1M mark at this point with no debt. How? We always lived within our means. Saved up, paid cash and kept going. 1/3 of the total value is the house so it could fluctuate. 200K is in after tax and the rest in retirement savings in ROTH and 401k(s). I know your wondering… no kids just a couple of dogs.

    1. sM

      Amazing this thread has continued for so long.

      Karl, Congrats. Curious what you and your wife do for work, and what city/region?

  64. John

    I’m 30, have no debt, but at the same time have no home ownership either. I have $120K in cash total. Have always lived frugally since I have been making a little more or less than $30k/year while living in California.

  65. joe-ish

    married, 37 years old, retirement accounts $1.1 million, net worth $1.5 million. we had low paying jobs until 2004 but after that our income went up a lot. since then we have always saved half of a high income and we bought a lot of stocks in 2009. we’re still frugal, no flat screen TV and my car is 15 years old with 200,000 miles. i brown bag my lunch and never buy starbucks coffee unless it’s the freebie on the grocery store bag. we cut coupons and make 12 debit card transactions per month for the extra interest on our checking account. most of my books are from the library and i don’t have netflix or a smart phone. anyone can retire securely but you have to save save save from an early age. my first ira was as a teenager. good luck to everyone, save save save!

    1. COCOA

      You are well on your way and at a very young age. Congrats to you and your spouse. To my less fortune, I have never had the luxury of a second income, but have always earned a moderate income alone. The other thing missing is that I didn’t really start saving until right before I had a child. Always had plenty of discretionary income, but was too selfish to save much back then (around 35ish). Now at 46, I have a moderate amount saved and can’t cry over coulda woulda shoulda ( I had a blast spending back then). All in all i will still retire a millionaire in a couple of years and lead a fairly comfortable life raising my son and hopefully add icing to my life with a mate. Life is as good as you MAKE it. It sounds like you’ve made good choices for your family and that’s what counts the most.

  66. RandyMan

    I am 50 and Net worth is 5x better than average, and it will only get better with time.

    Thanks! Dave Ramsey.

    Oh yeah, how did I get my money? Like you I earned it, but unlike you I did not spend it on crap and saved a lot of it. Time did the rest. That simple. Just start doing it the sooner the better.

    1. COCOA

      Hey RandyMan,

      Sounds like you did well for yourself and made some wise/pleasing choices along the way. I never said I spent money on crap. I actually have a lot to show for what I spent and had a blast for a decade or so. Realized that the so called ‘crap’ had fulfilled me enough. I won’t be wealthy at the end of 2012, but i won’t be a pheasant either. I realize also that your net worth in monetary terms is what you make of it. By the way, i will be wealthy in about a decade and definately by the time i reach retirement age. If my networth is forcasted from now or the time I stop working, I’m already there. Also, I don’t plan to work beyond that point – my income streams will provide a comfortable lifestyle for me and my little boy. Hey and maybe – I’ll find a mate to add a little icing on the cake…. maybe/maybe not. 🙂

  67. Don

    Age 39. I own my condo free and clear (worth probably $140K… taxes and HOA are $500 a month). I have $30K in a ROTH IRA, and probably $150K in savings. I made $45K last year. I am highly concerned about where I’ll be financially when I retire.

    1. JASON

      I am 41 years old in a similar set of circumstances and you’re doing alright. Just live below your means and keep God at the center of your life no matter what 🙂

  68. Eric

    This is pretty depressing to see how well everyone else is doing compared to myself. I’m 24 years old. I currently have $10,000 in savings. I was up to about $17,000 but the stock market punished me. I have about $9700 in student loan debt left at 6.8% fixed interest. I currently make about $25,000 a year as a customer support rep. for a reputable tax software company. My only bills are food,gas,phone,and student loans. Currently live by myself in my grandmothers old house that is $10,000 away from being paid off. So really my net worth is around $1000. Pretty much my savings subtracted from my student loan debt and a few other miniscule assets. However, not that it should be a judge, I’m doing great in terms of the statistics for african american males.

      1. COCOA

        Don’t be so sure of that……. although everyone embellishes a bit. It keeps the story a story.

  69. SM

    Eric, I would not be depressed if I were you. At 24 with fairly minimal debt and some good savings habits (after all, you put away $17k at one time), you’re on a good track.

    Get debts paid off, continue to grow your earnings, don’t spend frivously, and you’ve got 30+ years to save and enjoy the next boom, even if that does not happen for a while.

    Best of luck to you,

  70. Steve

    I really don’t think too many of you are in touch with real America…We have a whole class called the working poor that at age 65 , hope they have a little saved up for an emergency. Most of these people don’t even know what a 401k is and they think JP Morgan is a name brand of a cough drop. One thing I do admire about these folks ,with what means they have ,alot of them appear to be happy!

  71. Andyboy

    Also like to add that the tech crash was probably one of the best things that happened to me financially. It taught me some valuable lessons. I was fortunate that when my friends and I started dabbling in the market, we were starting out working and taking what I would say today would be huge risks in options – often buying with 1 day to expiry. We made money, but lost it all and then some, but fortunately we were at the time just starting out. As Jimmy Hwang pointed out, things could have turned out significantly different had i been older with more significant assets. I think that lesson helped me weather the recent downturn quite well. As i get older I realize just how low my estimated needs are for retirment – back then i’m sure we all said at some point in our youth that if we won 250K in the lottery we’d probably retire happily. But as i get older I see people around me with health issues and whatnot, and it seems most Americans are one shock from financial ruin, even a small one would do them in.

  72. Mark M

    Wife and I are 29 y/o and have net worth of approximately $215K. $8K away from being debt free except for the mortgage. Currently invest 6% in company 401K and max out Roth IRA for both me and my wife. I feel like we are doing OK, but feel like we should be doing more given the state of Social Security, health care costs and the uncertianty that life brings.

  73. Danielle

    Can someone please tell me how you have saved so much, at such an early age and please don’t just say “living below our means”. I have always lived below my means and don’t have anything saved like other examples on this website. The stock market is so volatile, and still down from 2008 levels. Real estate has taken a hit (unless you were lucky enough to buy at the right time.) Is there huge exaggeration going on or does this reflect a very small sample group? (ie, people who read these website are obviously very fiscally responsible.)

    PS: please tell the rest of us what stocks you are investing in to receive such gains!! Compound interest and 8% annual growth rates have thus far been a myth in my financial lifetime.

    1. COCOA

      My situation is somewhat unique (but not in a big way). I’ve made equally bad financial decisions. I didn’t really become fiscally resonsible in a big way until after my baby was born and i was entering the third decade of my career. I went from being just a single person to a single mom. I wasted a lot of money, but had a blast. I’ve always used a combination of tactics to stay financially fit. There is a time and need for different financial situations throughout your working life. I invested heavily in the tech boom gained/lost a lot like everyone else. Had an opportunity to start over basically and now I just save….save… as much as i can stand (it is painful). I don’t deprive myself of anything and i use all sorts of budget tactics (coupon dining, grocery, share some expenses…etc.) as i head into retirement (by age 48). I’ll collect pension right away (30 years in) and supplement with my savings until my pension grows to match current working income. It hasn’t been an easy plan – but it does take diligence, patience, and hard work. It is true that hard work pays off

    2. the one

      Yes live well below your means if you make 50k per year live like you make 20k. Sorry its that simple.

      1. Andyboy

        Ain’t that the truth. It’s funny how easy it is to think certain costs are set in stone, when really they are not. The yearly vacations, cell/cable/internet, eating out – all these are variables. I think the biggest variable these days that people forget about is the amount of house they want. That’s a big chunk of $ that’s being tied up and also a drain due to interest and property taxes. A more modest home would solve a lot of people’s problems.

  74. Charles

    These numbers are sobering and point to the fact that we all need multiple residual income streams, in these uncertain times.

    I have identified a direct selling company that can throw off monthly income in excess of the returns available to those with seven figure retirement accounts. No borrowed capital to get started, no inventory, no products to buy, no employes and no accounts receivable. This is turning out to be a perfect business for me because I have lost big money overthe past five years and now have a means to get it all back.

    There is always a way.

    1. smithy

      Hi Charles, that sounds great. My position is nowhere near as successful as some people on here. I’m extremely impressed by how frugal a lot of people are. I have saved around 45k (15k in pension). After uni I got into difficulties with gambling (an awful habit) but have been 3 years clean and am proud of myself. This amount I have saved since I stopped. Charles – do you have an email address I can contact you on about your idea? Hope that’s ok, I’m trying to get back on my feet now. Hopefully headed in the right direction…

  75. Yats

    The 25 year-olds with the six-figure portfolios were fortunate souls who won the genetic lottery and had their parents pay for their education or received generous scholarships. The numbers are further skewed by professionals who seek advanced degrees. All physicians and most coporate lawyer types have negative worth until their early thirties or later, and then undergo rapid asset accumulation (if financially responsible).

    I fall into the latter category, and my net worth turned positive this year at age 32. Depending on the solvency of social security and medicare, I hope to “retire” with approximately $2.5 million and work part-time.

    1. Dan

      That’s a bit of a generalized comment there. I started my own business without help from my parents to reach a my 6 figure portfolio at 25. I learned everything on my own by finding free resources to learn from. Believe it or not, some people can do it, without hitting the “generic lottery”

  76. Ken

    Was wondering about my situation. I’m 58 worked all my life and lived within my means. Living on 40K a year with my wife. Owned home since 2005. No credit cards and auto’s paid off.
    Have $105K in Vanguard mutual funds, and $100K in annunities all in my IRA accounts which I will be able to access when I turn 59-1/2.
    I also own 7-1/2 acres of raw land in Arizona which I bought in 1990. Don’t need to sell yet and hoping real estate picks up again….Big if. Living day by day and able to still save about $500 per month.

    My questions is this…Should I just take it easy or should I buy that truck and trailer and start traveling??? I want to have money for my kids when I do pass on. Anyone in same situation?

    I see too many people holding on to their savings and not enjoying life as we dreamed when we were younger.

    Should I be greedy and spend on me or should I think of my family? I hope to have another good 20 years to go.

    1. Andyboy

      Hey Yats, i’m not quite there yet, i’m 35, but i’m also thinking about leaving something for my two young toddlers. I have a rental of my own, but my plan right now is to buy a rental property just for them. I’ll have 20 years before they leave home and that should build up to a decent chunk of capital by then – flipping for newer units in between. Just put the down payment and leave the rent to cover the rest. Having said that, I wouldn’t deprive myself of a life either. I think you’ve definately earned your rights to enjoy life…you have just one and waiting later, you’re going to be less mobile as you age…I guess try to strike a balance between going on your travels and leaving a little something behind.

  77. Tony

    Those “average numbers” (or median numbers, if you prefer) are very low. I am 78 and have been retired for 15 years. The point is to make your available retirement funds ‘stretch’ as much as possible. While it may sound implausible to many, I try to pay ‘cash’ for everything I need and avoid using the credit card as much as possible – it will get you into real trouble. There are other variables to low income averages that don’t seem to be mentioned here that can affect almost anyone at any time: ie: sudden catastrophic illness; traumatic accidents that can occur in the blink of an eye; divorce – which, depending upon the state it occurs in can really set one back, etc. etc. Anyone of these situations can have a major impact on your (potential) net worth. Then, too, when you add the National Financial dilemna we are currently in, there are a lot of people out there really hurting.
    You have to add ‘common sense’ to your financial planning.

  78. Andyboy

    I guess from the comments here, people that post actually are proactive in building their net worth. I would hazard a guess that people on or under the avg probably wouldn’t post.

    1. COCOA

      I’ve been planning for the last 8-10 years and can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It indeed takes diligence before and during retirement as I look ahead. Although, I will be retiring with my first leg of income as a pension/med benefits, it is still difficult to retire early, as I have to plan for my minor child as a single parent. I was fortunate to have come this far in my financial planning, because I made some really dumb financial mistakes in the first two decades of my employ and I had a child in the last decade. I will be crunching numbers until the day I retire next year and beyond!

  79. maurice raffoul

    well according to wikipedia there are only 3.9 million millionairs in north america and it seems they are all on this web site, i travel for work and i dont care what city you are in all you see are pay day lenders every were, first of all living on 20k per year is just not do able, i live in utah and i need about 2k per month just to live and i rent stop your lying, my dad was a petorleum engineer for 32 years and when he retired his pension pays him 3800 a month net and he has 1.6 million in stock his house is paid for he drives a 2006 mini van that he paid cash for. i know the last year he worked as an engineer he made 115k per year he will get 2100 per month from social security in 2 years once he is 62. please stop your lying, you are all a bunch of broke bastards that lie, i worked as a mortgage broker before the crash and i had 160k but i did not invest tell the fall of 2009 so my money has grown some but, you people just lie. Only people who save money are people that make large incomes i can barely afford to contribute to my 401k now only reason i do is because they match me up to 4% at my job.

    1. Andyboy

      Well, like i pointed out earlier, those who have significant net worth, probably do spend some time worrying about it and many will invariably end up here.
      Some are here to post an uplifting story of encouragement, some to show off, some glad to tell their story of how they did it, and some are here out of curiousity to see how they stack up. If you are working poor, or flat out broke i don’t think you are as likely to post here unless you have a genuiune plan to start building something. So this probably explains why there are many posters here that have networth in excess of 500K.
      You claim your dad is worth over a mil, now how can you be so skeptical about our claims? I’m 35, have a job that pays 85K and between my wife and I we have recently cracked the 1M mark (home included). Recently, I have been saving 45K a year and that figure should grow as I am hitting a good stride in my career. I don’t have my own company or make 6 figures a year. I’m just a regular desk-jockey huddled in my little cubicle. I have no debts and my wife has a tiny mortgage that will be paid off next year. Most of my personal wealth comes from a rental condo i bought when i first started working and have since paid off. We live quite simply but we are not frugal by any means. I think the key is to cherry pick what really makes you happy, i mean you can’t just indulge your every whim or fancy, but don’t forget you only have one life to live. We currently live in a modest 550K home in Toronto Canada(where i am from, this is modest). Our plan is to move to a larger home but not until we can pay it in cash. I truly believe it’s this kind of old school thinking that is the key to building wealth.

      1. Adam

        i don’t understand how those numbers pencil out. 45k/year would take over 22 years. assuming you didn’t start working at 15, and that you more than likely didn’t start at 85K/year, how does that pencil out?

        1. Andyboy

          My net worth includes a small handout of 50K for a downpayment on a residence, but i opted to rent out the condo and stay with my parents instead. fast forward a few years and i’m married with a paid off condo and me and the wife have paid off the house as well. I am saving this 45K myself, until now it has been in the form of RRSP (like IRA) paying off the mortgage and regular savings. My wife has her own savings but it’s most tied back to the house.

  80. cicerone imposter

    Those numbers on savings doesn’t say much, because it also depends on other factors such as if the individual has mortgage or car payments, the cost of living in their area, and actual cash flow from retirement savings and social security.

    I’m also certain that the majority of Americans who have worked for the government will retire with some pretty good benefits including health insurance, and an above average pension. Those who have worked, but failed to save, are the ones who will be in trouble in retirement.

    As the economy around the world continues to tank, the future doesn’t bode well for the baby-boomers who are relying totally on social security and Medicare. With the lower numbers contributing to those programs, and increasing numbers of beneficieries, it’s only a matter of time for the money to run out. You just can’t get blood out of a turnip no matter how hard one tries.

  81. Oldtimer

    Just for the record.. One needs to understand the difference between an Asset and Liability… Rule of thumb.. Assets feed you and Liabilities starve you. The house you live in is not an Asset. Look for investments that generate Cashflow… Rental property, housing, loaning money for %… are assets… That’s why Networth calculators should not include your personal residence(unless you sell and downsize and have a gain… count the gain).

    1. aniket

      I somewhat agree. You have to live “somewhere”, so if it’s not your house, then a cheaper alternative option has to be considered. You can’t live on the streets. So your effective net worth is your ability to downsize as much as possible. Assuming you can downsize to a mobile tractor home, subtract the price of that home from the price of your current residence, and that is the best indicator of your net worth.

  82. Oldtimer

    One other comment.. I also enjoyed the Millionare Next Store research on the self made accumulated wealth.. One caution to is in the area of saver by definition during the Industrial Revelution… there is a reason banks pay out .6% and loan at 4%. be carful where your savings are, and use “Good Debt” to make money on cashflow businesses. A common background in Millionaire Next store, of the C and B high school students… they are independent business people. found their passion, smart buyers, don’t keep up with the jones’s… They pave your driveway, deliver fuel, own the am/pm mini markets… Tax perks and high return on equity.

  83. aniket

    33, married, one child, sponsored my wife’s graduate degree education. Don’t own a house yet (will own soon some day). It’s hard to calculate net worth since we own a lot of jewelry and silverware. Our parents combined have left us about $150K in insurance instruments payable between 2015-2018. My net true savings till date is about $100K in pure savings and around $70K in 401K. I haven’t lost much due to downturn since I moved all money to fixed assets late 2007, but haven’t earned interest either. If I add everything, I think my net worth is around $350K.

    Is that enough? I don’t think so. Since our daughter was born, my wife decided to become a homemaker. So we became a single income family. We ad an option of having my wife and daughter oversees and I can work from there a few months a year. This makes things easy for us financially giving me a chance to live an extreme frugal life in the US and save close to $50-60K per year. We decided to do this for 2 years until our daughter was old enough and my wife could work again. It is an extreme measure and a lot of people were surprised, but for the long term health of our family, we decided it was required.

    The averages (or the medians) are surely low. Are these people going to send their kids through college? No. Are they going to have any other source of income other than social security? No. So most of the net worth is the median home price in the US (around $180K), which adds the math up.

    But if you want to give a better head start to your kids in their life, be strong enough to support them even in their 30s, and lead a secure and peaceful retirement life, requirements climb up exponentially. I don’t know how much we would need, but in terms of present value, we figure it has to be well over a million. And it’s not easy to reach that figure in todays world.

  84. Blonde Arsenal

    I see many are doing great , others are struggling. I never made lots of money though today , Husband and I own two homes both paid beneath our means… and savings with alot of sacrifice.. It worked…It wasn’t as if I was deprived for when the savings grew..I treated myself.. I had a vette and husband a harley yet we watched the money.. We worked hard and looked at every nickel we spent.. we in the early years hated paying interest on everything so we saved before we bought that vette and harley and the harley was a year old and the vette four years old. We buy everything cash because interest buys nothing but time. So we wait and save. We have $200,000 saved, two homes worth $500,000, second one was a foreclosure and paid cash, plus SS and pensions in retirement. I consider myself fortunate as my husband and I were working poor in the beginning and lived meagerly for the first years. No handouts either. It came with hard work and sacrifice.

  85. rumdog

    There are a lot of good stories on this thread some true, some not.

    My story is that my wife is frugal and I listen to her. She made sure that we were out of debt by 40; we helped our kids through college but they took out loans (son now is also debt free and networth $8k at 24 — good for him).

    I also found the Millionaire Next Door a good book, if for no other reason than the formula it offers to define wealth.

    On a single income (~ $70k/yr + extra business income of $5-30k/yr)), with a family of four, through frugality, good luck, occasional parental largesse, and not really growing up until I was about 30 (I am 50 now), we now have a net worth of $600k.

    If I retire in 10 years (not a public sector job, so no pension for me), I hope we are worth more than that (socking away the tax deferred max in both 401(b) and IRAs), and no longer feel the need to travel internationally, but have pets and gardens and grandkids.

  86. cicerone imposter

    When you say your net worth is $600k, does that include your house? If you’re planning to retire in 10 years, how do you expect to have enough for retirement when most investments are not producing the kind of appreciation needed to retire on?

    Remember what happened in 2007-2008 when the market crashed, and most lost 40% of their investments?

    With the world economy in a quagmire, I don’t think investment returns are going to be strong enough to support retirement by most people in the same shoes as you.

    It would depend on lifestyle, cost of living in your area, and how social security will supplement your income.

  87. Andyboy

    as to whether or not to include your residence into the networth figure – to include fully would be too agressive and to leave it out is much too conservative. After all, it is an asset but you can’t use to to buy groceries or pay the bills without living on the street.
    I think the best approach is to find the smallest (cheapest) house that you would be comfortable and fit your needs should worse come to worse. Then deduct the cost of this hypothetical home from your current house. Say you have a home that is 500K (no mortgage) but you could make do in a 200K condo in a long term change of plan (spouse permantly out of work). Then you would take 300K (500-200) and that is the amount of equity in your house that you should consider as part of realistic net worth.

  88. cicerone imposter

    Andyboy, Sounds very reasonable, and it would also apply to us seniors who may be moving to a retirement home or independent living facility. It provides a more realistic picture of what to anticipate in the future regardless of how settled one is, job security, or already in retirement.

    We’re not wealthy, but I’ve been retired since 1998, and enjoy world travel. Anyone interested in my travel blog can see them at

    I’m headed to Turkey on Monday (for my fifth visit), but will go inland to Cappadocia and also visit the southern coast. In November, I’ll visit Poland again with a cruise from Prague to Hamburg. In January and May, wine cruises to the Caribbean and Southern France. Just returned from my second visit to Australia last month.

    1. stuart

      if you are the 99% why don,t you create your own money and share it equally between your selfs.

      Problem solved 1% peeved off lost everything not happy 99% are very happy.

  89. Sophia

    Well.. this is embarrassing. I’m 24 yrs old, with 23,000 in my savings. (I send my mother close to $900/month) I moved to the States 7 years ago from Venezuela, and I’m now finishing my 6 year enlistment in the USAF. If everything goes according to plan, I should be able to get my Bachelors in two years (GI Bill) with little to no debt. I’m becoming painfully aware of how little thought I had previously given to retirement, and my day to day spending. I’m motivated to live within my means and cut out unnecessary spending, however, my knowledge of investments opportunities/Roth IRA is basically non-existent. Where can I look for guidance or tips to educate myself on this matter and start crafting my retirement plan? Any other advice would be greatly appreciated. 🙂

    1. David

      I would recommend I was handed his book 3rd hand and it has really changed my life, and my wifes! we pay for everything with cash, paid all cars off, and live comfortably without debt (except a small pre-ramsey mortgage and student loans). I am so happy for you that you can support family with your means. Don’t forget to tithe, then pay yourself!! Keep it up!

    2. Rockjy

      Start with your local public library and get in the habit of reading the Wall St. Journal, Forbes, Barron’s etc. My library carries all of these. Read one or more investment books and learn about no load mutual funds such as Vanguard. Learn to be a smart shopper. At age 24, I had a negative net worth and didn’t make my first retirement contribution until I was almost 35. In the bad old days, vesting took 10 years, so if you changed jobs every few years, you never built up any accrued pension benefits.

      Our politicians have done the people a great disservice by distracting them with social issues such as abortion and gay marriage when they should have been dealing with more urgent issues such as fixing the health care system and enhancing retirement security for everyone. You generation will be paying the price, but do the best you can.

  90. Scott

    Sophia, I’m not sure why you are embarrassed. Having saved $23k at age 24 is excellent, and if I’m reading your message correctly, you would have saved much more except you are helping your mother, which is a great thing to do.

    You will also have your degree without debt, which is a great combination.

    I’ll let others advise you regarding IRAs, but my only advice is NOT to go to one of the financial advisers that sets up outside the base gate. The only exception I’d recommend to that rule is that USAA is very reputable, and I would trust them.

    1. Sophia

      Thank you Scott! Yes, I help my mother and two younger sisters in Venezuela.

      Well, in comparison to some of the other 20 somethings in this forum, I seem to be a bit behind the power curve! I currently bank with USAA, and they’re phenomenal. I will most definitely inquire within for some guidance.

      It’s a shame that Business, Computer Science, Finance and Economics take a back seat to Culinary Skills and Child Development classes in High School. Generalizations aside, I believe the majority of high school graduates are ill equipped to meet today’s demand for financial stability. We’re only selling ourselves short!

  91. Tony

    These numbers are as good as it gets. Thats reality in America. Those of you that say “these numbers seem low” are the ones who are confused about their own net worth. If you make 100k per year and have 80k in the bank that does’nt mean your net worth is 80k-100k. You have to factor in all of your income minus your debt. There it is DEBT!! Thats where your calculation went wrong. So you make 100k per year, you have 80k in the bank, you bought a 500k dollar house (with a mortgage 0% down) that is now worth 250k at best, have two cars that you owe a combine total of 40k on the loan, and 6k of credit card debt (avg. for americans) and lets say your lucky and don’t have any student loans. Lets do the math.
    – 40,000
    – 6,000
    -466,000 is your net worth not $80,000!

    But lets not stray away from reality. We all know anyone with any sense of logic is not going to continue to pay the $500k mortgage on your now $250k house. So lets say you lucky and the bank allows you to short sell it. So that monkey is off your back. Your net worth is still only $36K and thats only until you buy another house that you purchase with credit or a car.

  92. Corporate Worker

    I completed my 31st year at a large Corp this year. Have $530K in 401K and 270K in retirement account. Little equity in house, maybe $50K and owe 190K. I want to retire at 62. It does not matter what I have or have saved, this is what it is and I will need to adjust to make it work! (part time employment or live within retirement means) I’m happy!

  93. Chris

    44 years old. Just completed my year end update: $185k in savings and investments, $342k net worth, goal of $1.6M. Looking down the barrel of college for three kids. The key to financial freedom, as I see it, is have a plan, pay yourself first and only buy (used) cars with cash. Big car payments will ruin any financial plan.

    I learned a very important financial lesson from my father. He had a life-altering stroke at age 62. I now make sure I spend some of my hard earned income on fun times with my family. Save for the future, but remember, you can’t take it with you.

    1. Maxentius

      I think you are wise. No one knows what the future holds. Many are busy funding retirements they’ll never enjoy. Moderation in all things.

    2. Chris

      6 month update: $210k in savings and investments, $392k net worth, $16k in 529 . First college bill needs to be paid this fall. Started to pay down the mortgage on a rental condo. May pay off with savings to increase the cash flow to help pay for college.

    3. Chris

      2012 Year end update: Savings and Investments $254k, Net worth $412k. Paid for two semesters of college. Will pay off rental unit this year and use cash flow for college. Kids will graduate with no debt. 2013 year end net worth goal $500k. Wish me luck!

      1. Chris

        6 month update: Investments and savings $286k, Net worth $476k. Rental unit will be paid off soon after shifting some money around. Son finished freshman year with a 3.94 GPA!

      1. Chris

        Six month update: Investments and savings $407k net worth $636k. Investment property paid off.

    4. Chris

      2014 Year End Update: $428k in savings and investments, $660k Net worth. Number Two starts college in the fall so I’m stockpiling some cash to handle two tuition payments. Number One wants to go to law school, but he’ll have to pay for that on his own.

    5. Chris

      Finished 2015 with $461k savings and investments and $711k net worth. Number one finishes college in May. Just paid Spring tuition for number two. Number three is a few years from college.

  94. finance guy

    I am 27 and have a net worth of ~$650K to $700K. I went to college and graduated with no debt but earned all of this money myself.

    Despite this I am worried because market returns have gotten so low that it is tough to really grow wealth in this economy. I think if I could get to $2.5M by any age I would feel “secure.”

    1. Andyboy

      Don’t worry about the returns. As long as everyone’s in the same boat then you’re ok. It’s all relative. In fact, if what you say is true, then a bad spot in the economy actually benefits you if you are flush with cash and debt free. Now you can pick up investments, property on the cheap. When the world goes to sh!ts is when the opportunities arise.

  95. Wayne

    Hi Andy and other followers,

    I enjoy checking in on this website every couple of months or so. Doing so helps me get a feel for where I should be and goals I should make for myself. Thanks Andy for maintaining the site. Best wishes to all for a great 2012.

    As well, just want to remind everyone that where there’s a will there’s a way. about 10 years ago I was for the most part penniless. By chance, I decided to move overseas for a year or so and ended up staying until now. That move was an unexpected blessing in disguise and I often wonder where I would be now had things just not worked out.

    Anyway, Andy, the best to you and your wife in your goals and to all others as well!!!


  96. Rob


    I look at the figures and think that maybe I am pretty lucky, even though I don’t feel it. At 50, I own a 900k house that I owe $150k on, ( it used to be worth alot more) have $125 k sitting in the bank, have a great thrift saving plan, stock, and have $100k saved for my kids college education. The key is to be smart with your money, and look at sales, be practicle, and look at th bottom line. All four of our folks are still living, never got a dime from any of them. If I can do it, anyone can.

  97. DakotaGuy

    I’m 55, we have a net of 750K plus, did that in 20 years, mostly with wife staying home. I’ve never made more than 80K per year, far less for most of that time. Just live below means and save a lot, invest conservatively. If only CD rates would go back to 5%, but that would destroy the consumer based economy…!! I wonder who else reads these articles and write here. The majority of Americans have little to no net worth!! And I the idea that everyone has to save 1 million dollars to comfortabley retire is fantasy, less than 10% of households will come close to that. Pay off the house, stay healthy, enjoy the day, it doesn’t cost that much to do that in most of America.

  98. Ms Michele

    Hello everyone 🙂

    I ran across this site while gathering info on refinancing. I have two condo’s (Bank owned); refinancing one at $91K and another at $96k for 1. Both are down due to the economic situation and am able to refinance at much lower interest rate on the HARP program. Own another outright that’s worth $75k.
    I have $310k in a couple of 401’s from past employment. Lost my job 6 months ago where was making $82k/year (and banking 30% in my 401). Took a job at the beginning of the year making half the salary but I have insurance and some false sense of security ha ha as I am working for an employee owned company that can’t be sold out from underneath me as my previous employer did.

    Through my own little mistakes in life (2 divorces) and having then brought myself back from that debt twice (nope, no major payoff received here; attorneys got rich only), life goes on. I have SO much to be thankful for. A job that doesn’t tax my brain (will keep looking for another) with health insurance…a 12 year old vehicle that actually runs and a good friend to help me out with that. This along with some money going towards retirement. Statistically, I have so very much more than the average person. No, I’m not going to retire today or tomorrow. I am in excellent health(it’s a life choice I live); and I have an attitude to match. I just keep counting my blessing amongst the horror stories of today.

  99. jimmyhat

    Almost 39. Paid off house worth $170k, qualified accounts worth about $200k, stock accounts worth $30k, cash account of $65k. Other liquid assets about $15k. Paid off cars, stuff worth about $40k.

    Total of about $520,000. I will never finance a car ever again, never pay credit card interest, and will never have a mortgage more than about 50% of the value of the house again, if I move out of this one. Paying interest to others is the reason most people have no money.

    1. jimmyhat

      Oh another thing – no cable, I buy $25 jeans at Target, my cellphone plan is $10 per month, and my monthly “entertainment” budget is about $300 max. Daughter in private school too. About half of net income goes to 401k and cash savings.

  100. BombDaBomba

    30 years old, engineering degree, MBA. 131k salary in a very demanding but rewarding job. Wife is 31, CRNA, 155k salary but now works PT 2-3 days/wk and makes around 110k, 2 kids under 2. Owe 395k on a house worth 525k @ 4%. 40k in student loans @6%. 108k in 401k, 70k in 403b, 35k in cash. Save 47k a year for retirement in 401k/403b (maxed out+ matches). Save 5k a year in 527 plans for each kid. Large term life policies for next 25 years, just in case. Old but reliable used cars. Cheap hobbies (except golf). Absolutely zero flash. I go to the grocery store in sweats with stubble on Sunday wearing an old ratty cap and people look at me like Im a degenerate hobo looking for some free food. I love it. Goal is to retire at 55 to a PT hobby job. My perspective is there are endless ways to reach any goal but you need a plan and you need to work hard every step of the way.

  101. Sam

    41y/o. Not yet chosen to be married. I’ve lived frugally and smartly, getting what I need and want and not wasting a lot unnecesarily. My car is a 2004 SUV I paid off and kept. It’s perfectly fine. I paid off my mortgage last year on a 3600 sq ft house. And I’ve got around $430,000 in investments and 401k with no other debt.

    So it can be done. I got nothing from my mommy and daddy except for a college education (Masters), which I really appeciate. It got me started in a good direction. Other than that, I used my brain, invested since starting to work, and didn’t blow money on a lot of stupid stuff (just some stupid stuff). I’m now getting dividends on investments that amount to more than some people’s work income. Since I have no debt, this goes right back in. And it’s starting to accelerate nicely.

    The problem as I see it is that most people these days want everything now. They feel entitled to their share, whether they earn it or not. The housing bubble was caused by a lot of factors. But when it came down to it, lots of folks were after homes they couldn’t afford. My first house at around age 23 was 960 sq. ft. My younger family members wouldn’t think of living in something so beneath them. We live in a society that wants instant gratification and doesn’t consider the long-term, generally speaking.

    1. Eric

      While you should be happy about the position you are in and how you’ve worked hard to get there, you cant say “I got nothing from my mommy and daddy” and “except for a college education (Masters)” in the same sentence. If they truly did pay for your college through a MS in full, they easily payed anywhere between 100-150k or more for you. Now considering that you didn’t pay that and instead got to use that money to pay off loans or invest, and assuming a 5% interest rate (conservative by average standards), that means 278-416k that you now have thanks to them.

      College costs amount to massively more than the simple tuition cost, they take directly away from potential savings in order to pay off debt.

    2. Jack

      I’m about the same as Sam. 40 yrs old and never married, living by myself in a 250K house that’s too big for me with 85K left on the mortgage. About 400K in retirement funds, another 400K in various stocks and mutual funds and 55K in cash accounts. I’m still driving my 15 year old car. I don’t feel particularly rich. I think I might feel rich if I had a 4 or 5 million net worth, but, even then, the pay-myself-first and live-below-my-means attitude burned onto my brain will die hard.

      I guess developing those frugal habits over a long period of time was a good thing. However, I do spend some money, too, just not a whole lot: the basic necessities and a few tech gadgets and dinners with family and friends once in a while.

      I stay off the TV and the glam and celebrity magazines unless it’s to watch the occasional movie. I think the culture many of those reality shows try to instill is a spend-spend-spend attitude to keep up with the Joneses/Kardashians by limiting out your credit cards so you can live the materialistic and valueless lifestyles the celebrities do. Perhaps that is why the net worth charts seem ridiculously low and foreclosures/bankruptcies are at an all-time high. The viewers have been suckered and most have nobody to blame but themselves.

  102. Crystal

    It’s hard to know what is realistic when you don’t have a crystal ball. I just turned 58. My spouse is 50. We have a house worth approx 1.25M with 170K mortgage left which will be paid off in 7 years. Two divorces between us, three kids in a blended family we’re putting through university, only $150K in retirement $ saved. We would like to see the kids thru’ college (another 3.5 years). We plan to retire in about 7 years, sell our house, buy something smaller which should mean we have a $500k home and a $750k nest egg and by then $250k in retirement funds. That seems good — $25k in SS between us, a house paid off, and $1M in savings — but we have hit bad RE bumps and bad stock market bumps in the past (or we’d be doing better now!) so who knows, our net worth in 7 years could be cut in half. Bottom line, don’t count your chickens…

  103. Dylan

    At the age of 19, I’m happy to say I have a total net worth of more than $17 Million with a growing income of over $10 Million.

    Nerds > All Others.

  104. Mike

    I am 60, retired, collecting nothing but I do have a wife working for another few years. We have cash savings of $200,000, 401k/403b = $700,000 Annuities = $300,000. No debt, home is paid in full. Net worth before we retire = $1,200,000 not including our home.
    I am satisfied that we can live a good retirement. We will both be collecting Social Security at 62 and collect a pension worth over $30,00. We may not have to use our Savings for quite a few years. Let it grow if possible.

    1. MIZRITA

      I have not had the fortune of income that a spouse would bring. I gone it completely alone and from very humble beginnings. Worked right out of high school and have never had anyone to fall back on EVER (even during my brief marriage). I’ve worked hard since I was a teenager growing up in the projects. 20 years into my career, I decided to have a baby on my own. Honestly, I don’t think I could have made it to a successful retirement with the spending/costs of having a husband. Although, like many, I haven’t always made the best financial decisions, but I have no regrets. I have completely enjoyed my life alone, dating, married, and now a single mom. I’m retiring within a year with a very comfortable pension (30 and out w/COLA) that includes medical benies for me and a considerable amount saved for me and my school aged son. I will have the option to stop working at age 47 and begin a new phase of life. Early retirement and wait for SS, raise my child, and the time to enjoy the things in life that I’ve missed so far. Forecasted net worth over $2.5-3mil

  105. MN_Dude

    I’m 35, married and have been working for 8.5 yrs! Hindsight is 20/20 but I believe I could have had productive years earlier (I whiled them away for the sake of non-conformist ideas of enjoying life, no complaints though!)
    I’ve worked my ass off, changed several jobs for better ones, trying side-businesses, etc. and here I am with:
    523K+ Cash, Stocks, etc.
    2 paid of luxury cars
    a townhome rented out
    we live in a condo

    Both houses have mortages but effective payments are very low if you factor in tax benefits and the timing of my purchases…
    My goal is to have 10 Mil+ by 45. Lets see, fingers crossed given whats going on in the economy….

  106. willie

    grew up in an orphanage, worked my way through college; retired for the 1st time in ’97 (military), second time in ’05 (freelancing), now waiting on third retirement (SS)…

    started with nothing, now at 55 have about $550k net worth (i do NOT count my home, even though even in this lousy market i have about $150k equity – it’ll be paid off in 7 years)

    and i think i’m still way behind on savings…

    quite frankly, i’m scared sh*tless about what’s going to happen to Boomers with no savings!

    1. Crystal

      Willie, kudos to you for inventing yourself & then re-inventing yourself. I think no matter how many $$$ you have you’ll find life an adventure – I fear for those who have no imagination … It’s taken me several years but my husband is warming to the idea of possibly living abroad — there are lots of places where homes & “help” can be gotten less expensively and for a good quality of life! It’s all about flexibility & openness!

  107. Proud Native American and Angry Independent Voter

    These numbers are way too low. Net worth is supposed to include home equity.

    The numbers can not possibly be right.

    1. Bill

      Actually who says net worth is supposed to include your home? Before the year 2000 I never heard of your primary residence considered an investment. The Cash-Shiller study of over 100 years of real estate concluded that a primary residence typically appreciates 1% higher than the average annual inflation rate while stock indices typically appreciate 7% higher than the average annual inflation rate. This is why you should consider a house a home, not an investment and certainly not a means to prepare for retirement. My NW is close to $2,000,000 and I only have a $25,000 timeshare if you count that as real estate. I’m better off dollar cost averaging into a REIT (and I do) rather than relying on a primary residence as a wealth builder.

  108. Tony

    None of your money will matter in less than 10 years.
    When Medicare is insolvent by 2019, we will all be broke!! You can tax the rich 100% and it won’t mater!
    There are so many other unfunded liabilities I won’t even mention. You people are so proud of your minuscule net worths lol!!
    Get you heads out of the sand, your dollars are going to be worth as much as the toilet paper hanging in your bathrooms lol!!

  109. Don S

    Some points to think about:
    – If you have an annuity you should multiply the yearly amount by about 12 to get its net worth equivalent.
    – Include your paid off mortgage principal
    – may want to include SSN*12 too just to get a net worth feel if you’re over 62.

    Beyond that the amounts seem scarily low. Can’t imagine retiring in California with anything under $1M in net worth.

  110. John Doe

    This is how I look at it.

    I have an amazing wife, who gave me two beautiful boys: In my eyes, I’m rich. I’ll save for them as long as I can. Besides, I’d get bored if I didn’t work.

  111. Dan Boy

    Take a look we all were sold a bill of goods by the Repuplican and Democrates, debt is good, saving is bad. I am just lucky, I own a old house paid for, and live at a low level, and enjoy it. I don’t use drug, to expensive'” and like by life…

  112. David

    I’d like to kudos John Doe.
    I’m 33, served in the Peace Corps, went to law school, got a great job, and started a “saving” lifestyly late in life because of those experiences. I would never trade them.
    I am not as well off as those who have previously posted (110k 401k, vested pension, 80k student loan debt, 30k home equity), but would trade nothing for my wonderful wife and high quality of life.
    As for those who ridicule college, I have to agree to some extent. As a 21 year old biology major, my advisor sat me down and said “Son, you are going to medical school or law school; pick one” I chose law school, and he handed me LSAT forms. Meanwhile, my high school dropout oil field friends make twice what I do. But they also never see their children (never). And are on their second marriages. My advice is to save, but with an air of brevity. Don’t work 100 hour weeks. No one ever said on their death bed “man, I wish I had a bigger house.” Love your kids, love your wife, and live below your means. Good luck to all of you in these harsh times.

  113. Eddie

    If cash and plenty of it stashed I find it hard to believe anyone claiming they have all this cash would be on sites like this (in this economy down the toilet) asking how they are doing! It kills me I have yet to read one of these where there aren’t people around age 25 or 35 who claim they have large sums of cash put a way (and always these people claim no credit card debt or house debt.) Yeah, right. Boss, The plane! The plane!

    1. MIZRITA

      At some point, saving has to become a priority no matter what your situation. Although sooner rather than later is always best. In America there is always something you can figure out and it is never easy for anyone. Personally, I’ve bought and sold houses over the years (not flipping) and lived most of the American dream. I don’t have much in assets to show for it. But my quality of life will improve significantly in retirement. Retiring at 47 with a three legged stool that keeps growing over my lifetime is a good payoff for working hard for more than 30 years

  114. AK

    Let’s face it, we all here found and read this article, not to mention perused the comments section so it’s fairly safe to say we’re not financially illiterate. Hate to point out the obvious but typically folks who read web sites like these will more than likely have a greater understanding of money, and people that do are more likely to be saving or accumulating wealth in some fashion. I believe that to be the reason it appears so many have a much larger net worth over what was shown in the charts above, not that those charts are all that hard to beat (really 45 – 54 & 98K).

    I do think that some missed the point about net worth though. What I keep seeing are comments like my savings / 401K’s / IRAs, etc account is $$$. What I’m not seeing is a lot about the other assets and more specifically the debt side. Net Worth = Total Assets – Total Debts. Homes are an addition to your net worth, current value less remaining mortgage unless you’re one of those unfortunate to be upside down on your loan. Where are the cars, vacation homes, baseball card collections or gold bars? For debts, where are the car loans & leases, credit cards and student loans?

    On another note net worth is good to look at to get a read on how you’re doing overall but to be honest it really doesn’t tell you that much. If you have a gazillion dollar home with no mortgage and nothing else saved up for retirement you have a net worth of 1 gazillion. Wow fantastic that will net you exactly $0 in retirement income unless you want to sell your home, but then where will you live and how much will that cost or I guess you could get one of those reverse mortgages that are “endorsed by the AARP”.

    I applaud all that have read the article or even gone the extra step of figuring out your net worth (I do annually just to see a graph going up) but keep it in perspective. Net worth only gives you what you’ve been able to accumulate and not the true purchasing power you have so if you’re looking at net worth for retirement planning purposes make sure you know what you’re measuring and make sure you have other things you’re measuring to keep you on track.

    1. MIZRITA

      You have to crunch the numbers in each phase of retirement. Mine looks something like this. If I completely stop working at age 48.

      48-58 years old – yearly $55K with 3% COLA

      58-65 years old – yearly 65k with 3% COLA

      65-75 years old – yearly 80k with 3% COLA

      77-85 years old – yearly excess of 100k w/COLA

      Throughout each decade adds/deletes expenses and income based on pension/savings/SS. It can only go up from there if I choose to work again (or marry). I’m good with this and look forward to more community/volunteer work and raising my child

  115. BJS

    I’m 31, with about 120k in 401k, stocks, IRAs and cash. My house is worth about what I owe despite losing a third of its value since I bought it. My wife and I are both professionals, making a total of around 120k per year living in a cheap state. We’re generally tight with money, but splurge from time to time. I drive a new sports car and like to eat good food and travel, but do all my own yardwork, plumbing, auto repair, electrical etc. I’m not about to pay a high school dropout more per hour than I make. It really wasn’t until I met my wife a few years ago that I was able to start saving some money. Teamwork helps with combined bills, meals, chores etc. So does not having any brats until you’ve got a good head start…

  116. Q8D

    I’m 22, in my last year in engineering college with around 48K in savings, mostly from my part time job. Fully paid for car and no student debts. A little over a year back I had about 15K in savings, at the time I didn’t really think much about increasing my net worth. Still adjusting my spending habits. Hoping to land a good paying job and start investing some of the money 🙂

    1. Q8D

      2013 year end update:

      24 yrs old now, got a $56K/yr job at a power plant as a maintenance engineer a few months back. Currently have about $90K ($35K in stocks + $55K savings) plus 3 cars (It’s my money pit of a hobby). Got accepted for a job in the oil sector as a project engineer on new years eve, will be transferring within a couple months, my salary should be around $76K during the first 6 months of training and jump to $115K after 6 months. 2014 looks promising!

      1. Bill

        30 years ago I was 24. Back then I had a total of $5,000 (at most). So at $90,000 you are doing very well.

        Advice: Slowly shift your equities-to-cash ratio to where you have 90% in stocks and stock index funds. I emphasize “slowly,” as this is the top of a bubble in stocks. I would change my asset allocation percentage by 2% per year. So if you have 40% in stock funds and 60% in cash, make it 42% in stock funds and 58% in cash. Then the year after that do 44% and 56%. And so on. Then when the stock market correction of 30% or more happens I would go all out and do 90% stock funds and 10% cash.

        You have a lot of years of wealth potential ahead. $90,000 at 24! wow!

      2. Q8D

        4 1/2month update:

        Been working for exactly 1 month now in my new job in the oil sector. $72K/yr net income plus quarterly and yearly bonuses. I just broke the $100K mark net worth. Will update again probably towards the end of the year.

        1. Q8D

          It’s been a little over a year since my last update.

          Currently at $125K, put quite a bit of money into various expenses this year (home renovation work, car, vacation, etc.) as well as a side business I’m working on in my spare time. Updating in 6 months, hopefully I’ll have my business up and running by then.

  117. The Misunderstood America

    Comments here have been very interesting. Money does create a lot of emotion. Congratulations if you have eclipsed the net worth averages purported in this article. For some of you it was just plain hard work and disciplined investing/saving. For others, perhaps you received a windfall from an estate, legal settlement, or other monetary parachute. Regardless, being ahead of the curve at least ensures that you feel more secure about your financial position.
    Now for the hard truth. STOP TRYING TO KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’S. Be proud that you are a saver, but stop gloating about it. I often ask groups of friends how many people in the United States they think are earning six figures. Typical answers range from 15-30%. You know how many it really is? Less than 8%. Don’t believe me, do some research. The tech-savvy and somewhat educated among us continue to run around the hamster wheel chasing comfortable upper-middle class retirement, the richest of us continue to watch financial empires swell and overflow with 99% of American wealth, and then there is this small contingent of approximately more than half of the country that lives on less than $50,000 a year. And yes, they are in every locale.
    These people would kill for $100,000 in retirement monies. They will likely never taste the American Dream as many of you have. They will never sleep comfortably at night thinking about what’s in their bank accounts (if they even have one).
    And most of us could care less.

    So again, be proud if you’ve managed to put some money away. You can buy nice things, you can set your family up for success, you can appreciate living in such a great country. But remember that your wealth can be stripped from you at any moment and, I wonder, are you prepared to deal with that moment? I’m no leftist hippie, but I’ll tell you that I’d rather focus on the riches of friendships and family, the adventures of life, and the charity of goodwill toward others who are less fortunate.

  118. a

    I am not doing too bad at all according to these charts. But I still feel quite behind on my personal goals. I currently have about 165k net worth to my name. I have no debt whatsoever, I do not own any homes or have a mortgage. My current income is about 120-125k per year without taxes taken out. I am 28 years old… I am expecting to get a few raises and bonuses in the next couple of years and hoping that I will be making around 150k a year. I work hard and long hours, I generally have no time to spend my money. I only take one or two vacations per year, but always spend on a budget. But unlike most people I generally work most weekends as well, so I have very little time for social and leisure activities in my day to day life. Within the next 8 years I would like to have at least a 1 million net or more. This is mostly going to depend on my income etc. I don’t plan on taking on any home ownership any time soon, since I am not really settled or tied to any one particular place in my life. Work has me traveling often.

  119. C

    I would like to see the spread. I for one am under 25 and have more than the 65+ by multiples…

  120. AliBaBa2

    First of all, I’m 58 years old, married with three kids I’m putting through university, own a 1.3M house with only $170K of mortgage. Savings aren’t great (between me and my husband we have about $150K). We probably have another $150K in assets. With the weak economy, my income has dropped to about 50% of what it was 20 years ago. My husband’s income has dropped to about 50% of what it was even 10 years ago. So I see that by the measurement of some of you here, we haven’t done all that well — a net worth of about $1.5M for the two of us. But here’s another reality: the mean for the USA & Canadian citizens — is a net worth of between$45-$55K. Wow. So if you’re doing better than that — you’re doing better than 50% of your fellow citizens. BTW, we have zero debt outside of our mortgage but we live well: we take a couple vacations every year — usually one fairly local and one farther away (Canada, Mexico, Europe). We entertain a couple times a month and we go out to events, threatre, dinner, etc. a couple times a month. We have a great house with a low mortgage rate, and we’re remodeling some of it now: sweat equity — hire plumbers, electricians & do the rest ourselves. We have given our kids 50% of the cost of university (we believe if they don’t contribute, they won’t value it as much): three of them (ages 19-25) are doing very well in their areas — one graduated with honors & works full time, the other two have excellent grades & have part-time jobs. We help the only living grandparent out occassionally by doing small gifts, tasks. What is all of this to say? BALANCE, people! It isn’t ALL about the number in your pocket! It isn’t ALL about life-style. You are here to live a good life — but reasonably. If you can save a little, live well, help those you love, then in my book: you’re successful. AND for those of you who say you make great bux but work 60-90 hour weeks? Unless you LOVE what you’re doing — you need to rethink things. I did that for a while and found the rest of my life was falling apart — or non-existant. Balance!

    1. Tak Nomura

      You’re doing just fine. You are balancing living fairly well while making an effort to save for your retirement. I’m sure you understand the need to increase your savings ASAP, because the longer you wait, the more impossible it becomes to reach your savings goals.

      You’re on the right path, and congrats.

  121. RP

    Interesting article and discussion. I can say that I have had the benefit of having my private college paid for and have been gifted additional money to help pay the down payment on a business. I am 25 with a net worth of almost $200,000. I am well on my way of retiring comfortably by the age of 40. The difference here is if I had to pay for school myself and was not gifted the down payment of my business, I would instead have a negative net worth of -$100,000 and retirement would take an extra 10 years because of how accumulation of wealth works.

    Also, on a side note, I hope everyone here realizes that by having money saved in the bank doesn’t mean you are ahead. You can easily knock years off of your retirement age if you just pay off all your debts and save afterwords. Having a bank balance of $10,000 on less than 1% interest and no mortgage is WAY better than having $100,000 in the bank and a mortgage of $110,000. In the example above, you can save about $4,000 a year (which is more than most people save annually)

    1. RP

      Sorry I made an error in my last equation. It should be “Having a bank balance of $10,000 on less than 1% interest and no mortgage is WAY better than having $110,000 in the bank and a mortgage of $100,000. In the example above, you can save about $4,000 a year (which is more than most people save annually)

  122. N

    I am 25 with a networth of $8K and I worked hard to get to that point. By the time I graduated college my networth was -$60K. Student loans are cripping. All you 25 year olds with 6 year net worths are some yahoos…

    1. A

      It was the decision you made to take the loans out. No one forced you to go into debt! I decided not to go to college because I had other plans. I make a 6 figure income now but at the price of real hard work. Either way make the most of your education and hopefully reap the benefits of it soon. Good luck!

  123. Matt

    I’m 25 and have about $30K net worth at the moment, that’s savings/investments/car/electronics/everything…no student loan debt thanks to good hard-working parents and no car debt because I paid it off with my own jobs in school. I am saddened to see friends older than me who have only a few hundred dollars to their name and a lot of debt. The key for me was to live conservatively (wouldn’t it be great if the government took a page from us responsible citizens?) and just save and invest in stocks. Planning to be a millionaire in my 30’s/40’s so hopefully that trend will keep going up over time.

    1. Matt

      I should also mention that happiness is an important factor to me, I pursued a career that I enjoy doing every day, although I only made $40K entry-level. Just live frugally and be happy!

    2. Tak Nomura

      It’s good to have goals, but they must be realistic ones.

      Most people establish too high a goal that’s impossible to reach, and they become discouraged.

      It’s still possible to make big buks in this environment, but the handicaps are greater – especially since consumer spending is already maxed out.

  124. DNICE

    I think there are many factors to consider but 232K each for a married couple is actually not that bad. My in laws retired on much less. They do not have college degrees but they worked hard and now they live in Puerto Rico where they own a beautiful house and earn income by renting out an apartment in Rincon where alot of people go to surf and enjoy the tropical climate. Also they both are very frugal people so they don’t need much to live on.

    1. Tak Nomura

      For those willing to move to a lesser cost country and leave family and friends can be difficult. I doubt that my wife and I will ever consider such moves, even though the living standard may increase quite a bit. I know many Americans move to Mexico and Costa Rica for the purpose of improving their retirement years in comfort. I somewhat envy their ability to do so.

  125. Tak Nomura

    bill, I have one disagreement with your investment plan for retirement; t-bills at current interest rates do not keep up with inflation. In effect, you’re losing the value of your investment. It’s better to add to your 401k and/or IRA where the possibility for bigger returns is much better. I’ve been investing since our early marriage, and now can live comfortably because of the conservative investment style of our funds with Vanguard. Even though I’ve been withdrawing from my investments since I retired in 1998, the balance have remained at a level range except in 2008 when the market sank, and we put $100,000 in a total renovation of our home in Silicon Valley.

    Just some thoughts for the long-term.

    1. bill

      Hi Tak,

      For my traditional tax deferred plans, my level is currently at $360,000. My Roths total $217,000. My net worth in non tax deferred is $1.4 million and that is not in real estate. Since traditional 401ks and IRAs amount to 25% of my net worth you have a point that I should not worry about having too much in those plans. However I can do better in tax efficiency by buying stocks and holding them for at least a year or longer until I get a good gain. The California and federal ordinary tax rate combined could be hire than the combined capital gain tax rate I would have on stocks.

      I want to also make it clear that over $800,000 of my assets are in equities. I was hoping to infer that I do not have 100% T bills. But out of all my T-bills, 100% of them are in 52 week maturities.

      I need to come up with $34,000 to pay the extra taxes I will owe in April. Most of that is on my 2010 conversion to Roth. I pay taxes on $81,000 in each of 2011 and 2012 tax years. My cash and T-bills amount to a combined over $65,000 currently but I want to build up above $80,000 so I have a good cash cushion for bouts of no engineering contract in the weeks ahead. I am working year long engineering contracts but they are more likely going to be six months here and six months there…

      You are right about stocks in the long run. I am a Vanguard geek myself. But I aim for more tax efficiency and think I should maintain more than 55% of my assets in stocks.

      After April 2013, my amount I would ordinarily put into a 401k and catchup will go solely into good quality low dividend stocks.

  126. Tak Nomura

    I believe your investment-style is the correct one; I just wanted to point out the issue of t-bonds at a time when interest rates on them are a sham.

    Our net worth is about $1.6 million, but that includes our home in Silicon Valley. Since my wife and I are now in our mid-seventies, there’s no fear we’ll run out of money any time soon, so we’ve been giving money to our son who lives in Austin. I also spend a good amount on world travel. You can visit my travel blog at

    One more point; make sure you have a will and a living trust.

    Best to you and yours.

  127. April

    I am 55 and my husband is 56. Our house has been paid off last month (a value of ~$160,000). We also have ~$900,000 in investment, including 401K/IRA (80%), funds, stocks and cash. Both of us are working currently and everything looks ok now. We are living in a small city and the cost for living is relative low. Our job may not be there starting from July of next year. I don’t know how we can cover the medical insurance and living cost without monthly income. I am worried more about today.

  128. Pingback: Money Is Best Thought Of As A Constraint

  129. MG

    I’m 59 and have a net worth of just under $2 million — $600k in liquid investments; $650k in an IRA; $50k in rental real estate; $450k in home equity; and $100k in gold, silver, and US savings bonds. I have a $115k a year pension that increases by 2% a year, fully paid health care coverage, and about $40k in annual income from the rental and dividends. Yet, in spite of what others say, I don’t feel wealthy; comfortable, yes. But certainly not rich. If I had a $10 million net worth, I would feel much better about the future. if we get hyper inflation, my $2 million will look more like $2.

  130. Tyler Tabenske

    I’m actually quite surprised – these numbers seem a bit low. Then again, I’m a compulsive saver… there’s bound to be outliers.

    I’d be interested in the amount of debt for each of these groups as well, if you could find the information!

  131. Cristina

    I read through each and every of these comments today and I’m amazed at the investment advice given here. I am 24 with a net worth at 115k ( about 80k in stocks) and I make 42k a year (15k in 401k). I got a full scholarship to college for soccer which was due to my hard work for all of my childhood. A good portion of my net worth was for college money that I did not have to use. Upon graduation I moved back home and landed a Job in finance where (working for two years) I have saved 25k. I am in the process of purchasing a home (live in Boston very expensive) for around 250k. I hope to retire in my early 50s.

  132. CrystalBall

    I think what would be more relevant is your worth compared to your needs. For example, a couple in their mid-40s with three kids living in Manhattan or San Francisco or Boston, paying an enormous mortgage because of where they live, saving for kids’ college, may be making $200k a year and struggling to save anything for retirement! Whereas an identical family making $100k a year living in Phoenix may be doing just fine. By the same token, if you are 60 and want to retire in a couple years, what you have saved/get from pensions/government may be scary or comfortable depending on where you will live after retirement. My husband & I are in our 50s & have a net worth of about $1.5 million. But a huge part of that is home equity. We will have $3,000/month retirement income. We could stay put but why? if we sell, & move somewhere we can buy a home for $300k & have low cost of living, we’ll be doing great! Its all about how you define needs!

  133. AP

    I find it funny that people think some people are lying. I found my self here because I wanted to know how I stacked up against people my age who have the same mindset as I do, in regards to saving money, saving for the future, retirement etc. I don’t think I am doing too bad, al though could be doing better. I am 28 years old, I just hit the 200k mark for my net worth. My net worth is all cash, about 50k for retirement(IRA), and I have about 150k cash, mostly in online savings accounts and CDs. I currently make about 135k a year as a government contractor, so I don’t have any benefits or not working towards any type of pension like other public jobs. My only thing is I feel like I do not have much diversified with my money. I want to get into real estate, possibly buy some apartments or small homes and rent them out. But I am afraid of the risk and time commitment it may have. Hopefully I do some thing smart with my money soon, I feel its just loosing value when sitting in the bank barely making any real interest. Any advice I would appreciate it.

    1. AP

      I also have a paid off car, motorcycle, and other items that may have some value if sold. I did not account these things in my net worth because they constantly loose value and I can not just sell them instantly.

    2. Allan


      At just about any age, you should have an emergency fund of about six months to a year of expenses in cash. That means that you have too much cash. You are losing money now with interest rates so low, lower than the inflation rate by a good amount. I suggest that you start putting new savings into 100% equities each month as you have a lot of time to recover from market fluctuations between now and the time you retire. Dollar cost averaging still works, so contribute each month regardless of what the market does. Make those investments wisely, perhaps into index funds or a target date fund to assure low expenses. I suggest Vangard, T. Rowe Price or Fidelity funds as top choices. Even at my age of 68, I have 50% invested in equities since both me and my wife have pension and Social Security incomes that provide more than enough income to live on comfortably. We are still saving about $2500 per month. Investing in real estate for income is a way to make a lot of money if you are willing to spend the time and effort to do so. I have about 5% of my assets in REITs since I am not willing to commit the time and effort it takes to manage properties. If you own a home, make sure that you have no mortgage payments when you retire. Avoid buying new cars each couple of years.

      Good luck. You have a nice start at building security in retirement. I think my wife and I are set with over $2,200,000 in net worth and rising, despite our retirements six years ago.

    3. Bill


      I do think you are too conservative with your net worth. As for aiming to buy rentals – be very careful. Since you are a contractor you probably worked in various cities like I have. You should know by now that in all the upscale areas, it’s cheaper to rent than to own. If you then own in an upscale place (where “everyone wants to be”) you will be losing money on real estate. I do not own any real estate but I know the fact about the rent prices. At the same time, incomes are much higher in those very same places that renting is cheaper than owning. The key is you also have to invest most of your money that would otherwise go into owning – and invest that in stock index funds. Owning gives you a huge opportunity cost.

      1. ap

        Thanks for the information guys. As of late 2012, I finally started getting more aggressive with my investing. After tons of research, I really started pouring money into my index funds. I am pretty much split even with the Vanguard Total US stock market and the Vanguard Total International fund. 2013 was a great year and it really paid off I am sure the Bull market can not carry on forever. But I am going to stay the course for the next 30 years. Now my net worth allocation is in 95% equities majority all in Indexes. I kept some money on the side lines for any individually stocks. Made some money when Apple tanked to about 350 in 2013 and rode it up and sold. Probably should of held on and just put a tight stop on it as it seems apple might still being going strong this year. Still learning, personally I do not like individual stocks, feels like gambling too me. I am definitely more of the passive type investor, just set it and forget it and keep dollar cost averaging into the market every pay day. Currently my Net worth is a good 340k. Can’t complain, as long as I stayed employed I am good to go.

        1. Bill

          For a 29 or 30 year old you are doing great. I would not move my money out of stocks at your age. I know it would be tempting, but keep dollar cost averaging into thoe stock funds. Those you have are very good funds. If they have the low cost admiral version of them, by all means, make sure you are in those instead of the investor class which has a higher expense ratio. As an anecdote you will enjoy, I was 36 or 37 when I decided after lots of studying to max my IRA contributions into an Asia ex-Japan fund two years in a row. I couldn’t have put the money in at a worse time. In 1997 the “Asian Contagion” happened and I lost half of what I had. But the funny thing is a year later the fund went up almost 100% so I nearly regained where I was two years earlier. Now 17 years later I am up 200% on that fund, partly due to reinvesting dividends and capital gains. I did not invest another dime in that fund. I prefer to be in a different fund family. My point is that I gave it time and have done very well. Worth sitting on longer, as I have it now in a Roth IRA and won’t have to tap that at 70 and a half. You have a good potential of getting to $1,000,000 net worth by your early 40s! Congratulations! I crossed $1,000,000 at age 50. But my goal was to get there by age 51.

          1. AP

            That’s correct I am in the admiral shares for both these funds. It’s a 10k min to qualify for the lower cost “admiral” shares. Looking forward to the future!

  134. Lohalini

    I live in the US, and am 46.

    I have 3 assets:

    1. My used car is wroth around $5000.

    2. My computer is probably worth $1000.

    3. In the bank I have about $4000.

    I have never owned a home, never been married, never taken out a loan, never used a credit card, and I have never got paid more then $12.50 an hour at any job I have ever had.

    So does that put my networth at $10,000 (car + computer + bank account)?

    1. Crystal

      Your net worth is whatever you would have as cash if you sold everything you own. But since it’s hard to know what that would be a good rule of thumb is to ball-park on the low side. If you paid $1,500 for a computer, after 6 months you probably would only get $500 for it. If you paid $5,000 for your used car from a dealer, you would probably sell it privately for $3,500. I’m not saying that is what your stuff is worth to you – but how you calculate net worth. For example, someone owns a house worth $500,000. But they have a $100,000 mortgage. And it they sold it they would have to pay about $35,000 in RE fees, RE taxes! Inspections, etc etc. So the Net Worth valuation would only be $365,000. And if they are in a weak housing market they might take a lower offer – so they should perhaps calculate that valuation at $325,000. Hope that helps.

      1. AP

        I personally don’t include personal belongings into my net worth. Like cars, computers, electronics, furniture, material things basically. I keep a mental note sure. But things like this loose value quick and it’s only worth what the other person is willing to pay for them. I only include, cash, CDs, retirement accounts and taxable investment accounts and maybe real estate if I owned any.

  135. NKAD

    Over the last 6 years since I graduated from a large state college, I’ve socked away approximately $250,000 (80% in liquid assets and 20% in illiquid assets), and am on track to being able to partially retire by my 50s (I’d like to continue working as a school teacher while semi-retired, more for passion than for actual financial needs since I wont pursue this route until I have sufficient funds to fully take care of my family in retirement, which I’ve estimated at between $5-6 million).

    I did not inherit any money, but I did have the luxury of having my college tuition and board paid for. I started with a modest career (at an accounting firm), making close to the American average income of $54,000 in a high cost of living city (Chicago).

    That first year I managed to set aside 35% of my gross income by making a budget whereby savings/retirement were a necessary deduction. After that I scaled all my other categories of spending (e.g. food, discretionary expenses, TV/Internet, etc…) based on the disposable income I had.

    Since then, I’ve ambitiously sought to increase my attractiveness to employers by enhancing my skills through firm-paid avenues. I’ve had my employers fully pay for industry designations and charters, and had them send me to skill enhancing workshops and networking opportunities at conferences. This has enabled me to demanded promotions along the way when I have deserved them (through having the applicable skill set and as shown through a strong work ethic).

    The annualized growth of my income over the last 6 years has been about 20%. My hard work and increased skills have enabled me to be recruited to work at a sovereign wealth fund as an expat. Even through I could be living a quite luxurious lifestyle, I haven’t allowed myself to increase my standard of living since I received this opportunity by more than modest measures. By doing that I’ve been able to save close to $100,000 this year, and will be able to do the same for the foreseeable future (which is about 67% of the $150,000 I currently earn).

    The main purpose of my posting this is to make the following points:

    1) When you are early in your career there are 3 things that you need to work diligently towards:
    a) Contribute to your employers retirement plan up to the firm match,
    b) Set money aside for an emergency fund (should have 6-12 months of monthly expenses in case life throws you something unexpected),
    c) Max out a Roth or Traditional IRA, you may only be able to contribute during your early working years, the maximum allowable contributions are quite low (currently $5000/year) and there are favorable terms in the event of catastrophic emergencies (e.g. can withdraw contributions with no penalties);

    2) Live within your means! (after accounting for your needs, e.g. food and electricity, and savings but before your wants, e.g. eating at restaurants) I have numerous friends who claim to have a hard time saving and thinking about the future, this while they own an iPhone/iPad and have a $100/month+ cell phone bill and eat out 2-3 times each week;

    3) Modestly increase your lifestyle as you progress through life, gradual upgrades will help you appreciate them far more;

    4) NEVER spend money on a credit card unless you can pay 100% of the balance at the end of the month. This always seemed like common sense to me, but after reading the national average credit balance carried from period to period I was astonished;
    a) Interest rates are predatory and will cripple your long term financial well being,
    b) You are playing russian roulette, the moment an unexpencted expense, or prolonged unemployement spell, takes a hold of your life you are setting yourself up for impoverish times.

    5) Don’t worry what your neighbor is driving (or wearing for that matter). Do you really need a Land Rover when driving around in an urban setting, last time I checked you are highly unlikely to run into a sand dune in the middle of Manhattan.

    6) There are plenty of well paying jobs out there, the unemployment rate is a function of a frictional divide between the skills the workforce has and the skills employers are seeking;

    7) Take every opportunity to enhance your skills, and maximize training and reimbursements offered by your employer

    I hope Americans obtain a greater handle on their financial lives, SS should only be viewed (and as such should be structured) as a tax to create a safety net preventing destitution for citizens.

    If you don’t have enough saved, and find the need to blame someone, all you have to do is look in the mirror.

  136. Rode Brown

    The most important step is the first and we all have taken that so good job to everyone. At 52 my net worth is well above the average, but we must take into consideration another key point. Health is wealth! Invest in your health and the returns are automatic. We must not let doctors and nursing homes take from us what has taken a lifetime to amass. At 92 money doesn’t matter to my dad anymore, but his nursing home bill exceeds $5000.o per month. While we are saving/investing lets also get a good health-club membership and use it! Walk good my friends.

    1. Bill

      It’s a good idea to buy Long Term Care insurance, whether or not you have dependents. I started just that in the summer of 2013.

  137. Rode Brown

    The most important step is the first and we all have taken that so good job to everyone. At 52 my net worth is well above the average, but we must take into consideration another key point. Health is wealth! Invest in your health and the returns are automatic. We must not let doctors and nursing homes take from us what has taken a lifetime to amass. while we are saving/investing lets also get a good health-club membership and use it! Walk good my friends.

    1. Bill

      Good point on health. I was fortunate to be taught to save money, work hard, eat right, avoid being obese, to never smoke, and get enough exercise. Also to see a dentist and doctor regularly. In my case I have to have prescription medicine for inherited stuff but I try my best. Your body is a temple. If you have a Roth IRA, you want to live long enough to enjoy it.

  138. Crystal

    Well folks, 18 months ago my 17 year old car gave up the ghost. After spending $500 at a dealership only to be told “we need another $500 to figure out what’s wrong” I said screw it & sold it for $1,000.

    I went out looking at new cars. I could pay 50% down out of my regular savings for a $25,000 vehicle. Finance @ 2% or less the rest across 3 years, and it would have cost me about $650/month for payments, insurance, gas, etc.

    I told my husband, “I think I’ll wait until I feel a need for the car.” i figured if i really needed wheels, for $40/day I could rent one – and I did think I’d end up doing that a couple times a month – but then that would cost me only about $1,000 a year!

    Well, so far (we both work from home) it’s not been a necessity.

    18 months of NOT spending $600 month for payments & insurance (not to mention still having my savings) = $9,000 not spent.

    OK – not true. It HAS been spent: in the Mayan Riviera, on Vancouver Island, two trips to California (Napa & another to Carmel), a trip to the Okanagan Wine Country, a trip to Italy.

    Yeah, I REALLY don’t mind sharing one car and no, it doesn’t make me feel poor – it makes me feel rich! Of ocurse it works because of our circumstances – but I bet a lot of people are spending too much money on things instead of experiences.

    And as the last person wrote – are you hoarding your money so you can make nursing home operators rich when you’re old? My mother’s life savings went to care homes for two years of a small room and “24 hour nursing” which meant they were around “in case.” at $10,000 a month. Plus doctors visits. Plus hospitals. It doesn’t take long for elder care to strip you to the bone.

    Live it up while you can enjoy it and consider: am I spending on things or experiences? Which one will bring a smile to your face 3, 5, 10 years from now?

    1. Gail

      Why is $232,000 too little to retire on. That’s almost a quarter of a million. That would be 11,600 a month if the person lives to be 85. Add $1000 a month Social Security and that would be 23,600 a year or 1966 a month. I’ve lived on less than that. At the age of 65 a person gets senior rates at many places. Also he or she doesn’t have to pay the costs of commuting or clothing required to go to work. I don’t have a car. Too expensive. I take the bus. I don’t know where people get the idea they have to live in a big two story house. My net worth is $200,000 and I am almost 57. I intend to semi-retire in five years. I am going to rent a room or share housing with a group of people who don’t believe they have to have a bunch of stuff to be happy. I’ve seen ads where roommates are wanted and the rent is $250 to $600 a month. Right now I have two bedrooms because my mother lived with me. I really don’t need two bedrooms and will eventually find a cheaper place. Of course when I’m semi-retired I will still be saving from my part time job. I don’t plan to touch my IRA or 401K until I am 67.

  139. Marc

    I sat here today and read most all of these comments and it is truly something to see where and how people got where they are and to see where they want to go, so thank you for sharing!

    On our side, 41 yrs old, married for 18 yrs, and have 3 children ages from 10 to 17.

    In early 2000’s we were making good money, got greedy started buying real estate, got into some franchises, lived above what we should have been, and by 2008 lost everything. Over 200k which included life savings. We filed bankruptcy in 2009.

    Starting with nothing at the age of 38 is not what you expect but we did. Both were lucky enough to get good jobs, bought a house about a year ago at a good price (150,000) have payed off a 3rd of it already and since 2009 have about 200k net worth. I know it is not a lot but we have two paid for cars, no bills other than our mortgage (which we plan to have paid off within 4 yrs). I know many say to invest the money but from where we have been and know how quickly it can change we want 0 in bills, and put 15% in 401k

    After the house is paid for we plan on socking the monthly money away, about 3-4k a month. I wish we would not have made the mistakes we did but without them we would not have learned, as well, believe it or not it has made the family much stronger!

    Starting over is not a horrible thing, but it can be done with focus, goals and the realization of what is important in life!

    My plan is by the time we are 60 to have 2 million in our nest egg! Do not even want to count on social security!

    Thanks for all of the sharing, it has helped me a great deal!

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  141. Robert Stone


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  142. Lola R.

    I am above it, but don’t feel comfortable with it. Another useful, but apparently new, calculator (let’s you compare yourself against others) is

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  144. Gail

    Why is $232,000 too little to retire on. That’s almost a quarter of a million. That would be 11,600 a month if the person lives to be 85. Add $1000 a month Social Security and that would be 23,600 a year or 1966 a month. I’ve lived on less than that. At the age of 65 a person gets senior rates at many places. Also he or she doesn’t have to pay the costs of commuting or clothing required to go to work. I don’t know where people get the idea they have to live in a big two story house. My net worth is $200,000 and I am almost 57. I intend to semi-retire in five years. I am going to rent a room or share housing with a group of people who don’t believe they have to have a bunch of stuff to be happy. I’ve seen ads where roommates are wanted and the rent is $250 to $600 a month. Right now I have two bedrooms because my mother lived with me. I really don’t need two bedrooms and will eventually find a cheaper place. Of course when I’m semi-retired I will still be saving from my part time job. I don’t plan to touch my IRA or 401K until I am 67.

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  146. Thomas Ranno

    I had a net worth in 2008 of about 2.5 MM, once the
    economy collapsed my real estate reduced also my business reduced, the main thing that upsets me is
    I have paid in Federal taxes from 1980 to 2008 including business and employees about 2 + Million
    in Fed and State taxes, I have supported the USA
    to the Max, since I gone to the doctor and have been
    diagnoced with high blood pressure I have been dropped from my insurance co. I have been treated like a substandard citizen, I have paid uncle Sam
    using the proper methods and payments, I just want to understand why people who are not even citizens
    are able to collect from are government, but I am not
    able to acquire a business loan which will create a nice tax income for our government, I have been seeking several quality business that will create
    a nice tax return to uncle Sam.
    Thomas Ranno.

    1. Arnold

      I feel your pain Thomas, but everyone has to be responsible for their own financial well being. You achieved a net worth of 2.5M, which is no small feat and significantly more than most people can ever dream of accumulating. That said, instead of blaming the government, realize that the taxes you paid, in large part enabled you to enjoy your life in the US, to be able to make the money that you did. It’s just part of the cost of doing business. You are not the only person that suffered a loss during the crash, if anything, it just highlights the importance or being proactive in your financial well being, to diversify your investments and assets, and not be too aggressive and in valuing your own net worth. It sounds like you have the ability and skills to pick yourself up after getting knocked down, and that’s what it’s all about – perserverance – you just lost money, it can be made again.

      1. Tak Nomura

        I agree with everything you said. The fundamentals are simple; a) don’t put all your eggs in one basket; diversify, b) buy low & sell high, c) invest regularly to average the cost of your investments, d) never try to time the market, and e)invest for the long term.

        Don’t react to the market fluctuations; what goes down will always go back up!

  147. Mr Jake Carson

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  148. Alliecarmel2

    Net worth is an interesting yardstick – no matter what age group you are in. We are in our 50s. We have close friends who are close in age. we are both “blended” families (all for of us have kids from first marriages, all of us went through ruinous divorces. As couples our incomes are comparable. If you had looked at the four of us 12 years ago, net worths were also comparable – around $200,000. Now? Well, my husband & I have a net worth between 1.6 & 1.8 million. We have helped fund 12 years of university for our three kids in that time. We bought a house & invested over $100,000 in improvements. Bought a new vehicle. Helped fund three “terms abroad” for our kids. We have taken half a dozen international vacations. Point being, we’ve spent money. Today, Jan 1, we have no debt other then a small mortgage. Our friends? I would not be surprised if their net worth is less than it was 12 years ago. Why? Well, they over spend on small things habitually. They indulge their kids with little accountability (only one went to University). They have $20K in cc debt, three car loans, and a mortgage that is higher than it was when they bought their house. Small habits make a hug difference in the long run. So for those of you starting out – if you make one financial resolution this year make it to put in place some financial habits: always pay off your credit cards every month. Always put something (even if it is only $20) from your paycheck into savings. “Treat” yourselves to financial freedom instead of another jacket you don’t really need, the top-shelf whatever to impress friends you probably won’t have in five years. And HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  149. Tak Nomura

    I believe “averages” are very misleading because it’s not only about income, but the cost of living. A young couple both working without children making over $100k/year is much different than a young couple with a few children to support. There are also too many variables when it comes down to where anybody lives. Income in Silicon Valley may be above average, but so is the cost of living. The cost of homes are in the stratosphere, and everything associated with upkeep and maintenance also cost higher than most cities.

    The key to a successful retirement is to save regularly from very early. My wife and I saved 15 to 20% of our income every year when IRA’s became tax free investments.

    We’re not rich, but financially comfortable, and it allows me to do world travel as often as I wish. That’s because I paid off our mortgage when I retired in 1998, and we have no other debts.

  150. Bill

    I last wrote in July of 2012. Here’s my update as of this morning. Net worth at $1,769,000 now compared to $1,400,000 in July of 2012. 62% stocks and stock mutual funds, 31% in short term government securities and cash. The remainder in precious metals. Roughly $1,100,000 of the amount is in stocks and stock mutual funds. Over $900,000 of my amount is outside my tax deferred plans. I sold some batches of stock to try to keep my asset allocation the same. It is a great ratio now but I’m aiming to sell $20,000 to $40,000 more of a very successful stock to capture the gains. The batch I sold a week ago has a 466% gain and I bought that batch only two years ago.

    My projection is that in early to mid-2015 I will finally be technically a multi-millionaire. Of course we can get a stock market correction before then, and that could set me back a few years.

    1. Bill

      Oh and to add to my update: My strategy is still to dollar cost average into stock mutual funds and a municipal bond mutual fund. Outside of mutual funds, however, I have played with money to try to time the stocks. I had company stock that was a slam dunk with 15% discount on purchase and I got very, very lucky on it. Now I’m in the selling mode because its cycle has gone on for five years and I would rather be “a year too early than one day too late in selling.” Nowadays, precious metals have been beaten down and most people in the USA would not go near them. This has made me accelerate my purchases of precious metal bullion and I just recently started buying mining stock ETFs. Warren Buffet says be greedy when others are fearful and be fearful when others are greedy. However within my IRA and 401k I still am more than 95% in stock mutual funds and all my new investing is also stock mutual funds in tax deferred accounts.

  151. Jason

    I’m 34 and have a net worth of 450k. Expenses have risen dramatically in the last few years with family. I have no idea how new families without inherited wealth even exist in high cost areas. I can do the 17500 IRA contribution for the next five years and plan on getting a 10% aggressive return on all assets by investing primarily in MLPs. I figure this will give me 1.3 million by early 40s, at which point I will force my wife to move to a low cost rural area and live out the rest of my days on a quasi-farm. thoughts?

    1. Tak Nomura

      Just the idea that you are planning is a good start in what you wish to do in your future. However, before you move to that “rural area,” live there for a few days or weeks before you buy in. Many retired folks moved from the northern states to the southern states (for warmer climate), and once they moved to their new home, they hated it. Don’t make that mistake. “Rural” has many characteristics, ambiance, and climates.

  152. Allie

    Jason, you’re on a great track – but the best trains derail unexpectedly. A few comments – don’t make your net worth your primary yardstick for measuring life – make sure you have balance in other ways. One of the most common wealth- busters is divorce – when a guy says he is going to “force my wife to ____” that man is on the road to a divorce court. Your 1.3 million – after divorce lawyers take a chunk and your soon to be ex-wife takes a chunk – will probably be $500K. Best thing you can do with some of your money now is invest it in enjoying life and helping those you care a out enjoy life. Or you’ll find yourself one of those sad middle-aged guys talking about how you were screwed …

  153. Tak Nomura

    I’m also curious to find out how old those averages are? Many things happened since 2000, and many lost most of their savings or recouped what they lost.

    Different people were impacted differently; some lost jobs and were never able to find another at their old salaries and benefits. It also depends on where the individual lives and what their profession is.

    My last question; are those averages household or individual?

    1. Bill


      I think by some of the posts of the young people here, they have high income and maybe lower net worth than you and I. So the two different stats are not necessarily related by age. In my case my income went down every year the last four years. It is barely higher than what I made in the year 2001. But I did save a lot. My net worth is about 17 times higher than the average in my age group and almost three times higher than the average with my income. But many young people are making the same income as me.

      1. Tak Nomura

        Bill, Some of us old geezers just happened to have lived in the right generation when opportunities were abundant, timing for investing in a home, and sending our kids to college all worked out pretty well. When I retired in 1998, I sold our income property, paid off our mortgage, and “really” retired from work, and traded work with world travel. Our net worth is in the top 1% in California; by no means close to the richest, but comfortable enough to travel the world frequently.
        Seven times in both 2013 and 2012. Been to all five continents, flew to Mt Everest (highest place on earth), dipped my feet in the Dead Sea (lowest point on earth) a few times, and have visited the southernmost and northernmost cities of the world. My travel blog is at:

        1. Bill

          Tak, in my case, I could not afford a family when I was young so no wife. Ergo, no travel companion, and I hate to travel alone. At nearly 55, I have only traveled to Mexico a few times. More often traveled for work coast to coast. But I am comfortable with that. My parents grew up in the Great Depression and I learned about frugality. I enjoy the simple things in life and do not miss upscale. Mostly it is fitness, nutrition, and enjoying the outdoors away from crowds in the high mountains. I do have a timeshare but only use it when siblings go with me. Now that I have a very comfortable net worth I cannot imagine being like Kevin Costner (movie star) and becoming a father at 55.

  154. Tak Nomura

    I believe good health is more important than wealth. I also don’t believe in leaving money to the kids. My wife is very conservative, and will not spend money on things she wants – although she can well afford it. What’s interesting from MPOV is the simple fact that I’m still quite stingy at some things that’s totally affordable – based on old habits. I don’t skim on eating good food, but will not pay more than $150 for a hotel room. My friend and I travel all over the world three or four times a year, because my wife doesn’t like to travel. We do cruises on Oceania and AMA Waterways.

    I’m now working on my travel blog on our recent visit to Hawaii. Should be finished this week.

  155. mcsmyles

    I’ll add to this comment by saying start working hard as early as possible in life. I started working straight out of high school at age 18. Worked more than one job at least 20 years of my career. Decade one…. worked extremely hard, bought sold properties (not flipping). Decade two….continued to work hard and married/divorced….travelled and had tons of fun. Decade three….. peaked in my career/income, travelled regularly and had a baby. Retirement eligible in December 2012 at age 47 with a ten year old to raise in the first decade of my retirement.

    Fairly clean living (with a few vices) healthy enough to choose another career path or passion before I age out.

    If I never work another day in my life…….forecasted pension income from January 2013 will be at well over two million with my current pension w/COLA/Health Benies and when Social Security kicks in at 62 (why not?). That’s not counting any of my personal savings which will be used to purchase a home cash (maybe) at some point in the next couple of years. It will be nice to know that I will have a comfortable income of close to six figures while in my early 60s. Marrying will just sweeten the pot. Although I don’t think I would been in good shape had I stayed married. Not knocking it, but it’s truly not for everyone.

  156. Andyboy

    I check up on updates once in a long while, i’m glad there’s new activity here and people posting updates. It’s great to see people with moderate incomes and high net worths. Just means that, how you save, is just as important as how much you make and that if you’re young, it’s always good to start good habits right from the first paycheck. And also be more conservative in your estimates than you think. Life throws you curves and sometimes good fortune…always have a healthy buffer for unforeseen contingencies.
    Personal update…sold my condo and home and moved into a larger home, so my investments have taken a large dent in the last 2 years. Still mortgage free but lost some income generation. However, my liquid investments have been creeping up. I am in the zone (around 250K) where I don’t feel comfortable handling my securities portfolio (regular investments, RRSP, TFSA, RESP – i’m Canadian) anymore as i’m not a really an astute investor…i depend on tips and speculation. What strategies or portfolio management do you guys use? I actively play with around 30K (mostly ETFS). Right now i’m 100% equities…35% in Cdn banks, 20% in Potash (it’s a long term play now that it’s severely underwater), 20% mutual funds and 10% ETFs (natural gas, gold, S&P), 15% other (oil, telecom).

    1. Tak Nomura

      Andyboy, It seems to me you’ve been doing the right thing for awhile now, and I will commend you in trying to find the best mix of investments.

      That you bought into a bigger home is an okay “investment.”

      Let me recommend what I’ve done during my investment life. I also had income property, and sold it when I retired, because I believe in relieving all work-related responsibilities upon retirement.

      The best investment are a mix are funds that have done well during the long term; those that have gone trough the worst and best cycles during all manners of your own countries economy, and also macro-economics (the world’s economies are all connected).

      Don’t react to the downward swings in the market like most people who sell when the market is low; they have permanently lost all their investment gains. Don’t use emotion to react to the market, but use some intelligence in making some adjustments (like 33% to 50%) by transferring or exchanging funds you think makes sense depending on how you read the future economy’s performance.

      I started selling off my mid-term bonds about two years ago when it returned less than 1%, and ended up as losses during the whole year. I’m still selling my bond fund – taking monthly withdrawals from it. I made this decision when I felt that equities would return better than any bond funds.

      My funds returned 22% last year. I know people in my age group did not do as well, because they follow the advise of the pros who tell us to have more in bond funds as we get older. I disagree with their advise. I prefer to put more weight on how I believe the economies are doing, and I have always believed that the US economy is much stronger than most people realize. It gets stronger as more manufacturing returns home from cheap labor countries, because energy cost in the US is dropping.

      Although the DOW was down 5.72% since 12/31/13, our funds are down only 2.3%.

      Finally, it seems the stock market in the US is finally realizing that our economy is doing very well.

      Just don’t put that much weight on the daily swings in the market. It’s the long-term performance that counts.

  157. John Saunders

    If one has 1 million in savings at retirement usually at a 4% withdrawal rate he can take $40,000. a yr. from this amt. Charts seem awfully low.

    1. Tak Nomura

      John, Those advise about withdrawal rates are hogwash! The principle of investments is always BUY LOW AND SELL HIGH. Just remember that CASH IS KING. When the market was up last year, I withdrew 8% from my investments. I keep track of a five year performance on our investments, and we’re still up 2.35% this year. Another thing I did last year was to transfer some of my gains into money market funds to protect from what I thought would be a relatively bad year in 2014. At this point of my retirement since 1998, I’ve withdrawn more than my current investment balance, and we still don’t need to worry about our finances. Withdrawals are just as much an “art” as is knowing how to react to the macroeconomics of the economies of the world.

  158. Tak Nomura

    John, Another thing about withdrawal rates. Once anyone reaches 70.5, the government requires withdrawals at their schedule on IRA’s; there’s no choice. Also, depending on your income level, 80% of your social security is taxable.

    I usually withdraw more than I need to because I like to travel.

    1. Bill

      Hi Tak,

      What do you mean by “at their schedule?” I currently have more saved up in traditional 401k than I do in Roth’s but, although I’m 55, I foresee the possibility I will have more in my Roth IRAs and Roth 401k than my total in traditional. I plan on working into my late 60s (I don’t like to travel). I will be eligible for distribution in 4 and a half years. But my taxes will go very high if I get distributions from my traditional retirement accounts while I still work. And I would not really need the extra money but be reinvesting it into the stock market for the lower capital gains taxes until I really am ready for retirement.

        1. Bill

          Thanks for the info Tak. I found the table. My traditional 401k balance is above $500,000 so I will take distributions from that at some point past 59 and a half. I understand that I can set whatever amount of distribution before age 70 and a half, which is fine. So theoretically I should deplete a good amount of that before government forces me to distribute more than I intend to. In the meantime I can let my Roth side grow, since it has no RMD. I don’t intend to distribute much more than half my traditional 401k/IRA by age 67 since I intend to continue working through age 67. That means I need to roll the distributions into taxable stock index funds until at least 67. I have no problem with that. Hmm…Would be nice to see my income go up after 59 and a half, and that would allow me to decide to quit my California job and work in my state of residence Arizona, which has a lower cost of living and take a pay cut. It is just slightly more worth it to work in California now compared to AZ.

          1. Tak Nomura

            Seems you have planned well for your retirement. Good on ya. Most Americans start too late, then realize they’ll have to reduce their standard of living once they retire, because their savings plus social security just won’t be enough to live the kind of lifestyle they enjoyed while working.
            Just the idea that my wife and I socked away 15 to 20% of our income every year from early in our marriage didn’t take away many of the enjoyments of life. We were partners in a condo at Incline Village at Lake Tahoe until our kids grew up and no longer wanted to go, and I bought income property that brought in extra income, then sold it for twice what I paid for it. I took my family on trips, and enjoyed some travels around the country throughout the years our kids lived at home.
            [quote]Since the average American’s life expectancy at birth is now 78.7 years, retirement savings are a “matter of national importance,” Gallup adds.

            Even $1 million in retirement savings may not be enough in today’s economic environment, USA Today estimates. The newspaper notes that amount of money throws off about $40,000 to $50,000 in annual interest income in today’s low-interest rate environment, which is not enough to sustain the current expenses of many households.

            AARP compiled some startling statistics about retirement in America, and it appears those without big nest eggs have a lot of company.

            According to the AARP, Social Security payments, which average only $1,200 per month in the United States, are the principal source of income for nearly half of older Americans.

            Further, 57 million Americans — more than 50 percent of the 18-to-64-year-old population — have no access to a retirement savings plan.

            Perhaps the most disturbing stat from the AARP is that the median retirement account balance in the United States is $3,000 for all working-age households.[/quote]

  159. Tak Nomura

    We received our weekly performance report on our investments, and I was wondering how we compared to the participants on this site.

    Our results compared to the stock market for week ended July 5, 2014 (I’m 79 yo):
    Portfolio’s Performance

    1 week 1mo 3 month year YTD
    You 0.9% 0.4% 3.6% 18.0% 5.7%
    DJIA 1.3% 0.9% 4.0% 12.8% 3.0%
    S&P 500 1.2% 1.8% 6.5% 21.7% 7.4%

    1. Bill

      It’s hard for me to figure my percentage out since I don’t keep 100% of my investments in one brokerage or mutual fund family. Nor do I compute my gains weekly. But from June 27 to July 5 my holdings in stocks and stock mutual funds gained $8,152. About $144 of that from new investing in my weekly IRA contributions of $72 per week. year to date my net worth increased by 5.8% including new contributions and investments and savings. It’s almost in line with what you experienced, but mine includes new principle.

      1. Tak Nomura

        Bill, I would recommend that you begin a worksheet with all your investments to keep track of their performance. It’s simple to do on Lotus Symphony.

        My worksheet only requires me to update my investments change for any day, and it automatically figures my daily, weekly or monthly and YTD performance compared to the stock market.

        I also track how much we take out from our IRA, fed and state taxes withheld, and our performance without the withdrawals. It even shows our four year averages for every month of the year after withdrawals, and we’re still 7% within the current highs. My only instruction to my wife is to withdraw funds from her worst performing fund for YTD. It’s worked out pretty well.
        The performance of our funds posted earlier doesn’t show our withdrawals for this year.

        1. Bill

          Hi Tak,

          I use Microsoft Works for my spreadsheet – have done so since 2009. I don’t have the sophistication for it to log into my various fiduciary companies such as Schwab and Vanguard, though it would be a nice thing. It takes about 20 minutes to update for a new day, which is okay. I don’t want regular updates but tend to wait for a new record high in stock indices before I check on my bottom line. For the redistribution database that you keep track of – I’m not there yet. But I like to think I will merge those investments that I cannot track by accounts – into Vanguard that I can track. Won’t do that for several years.

  160. Tak Nomura

    Bill, Thanks for your response. I often wonder how we’re doing against other investors, because I’m not following the classic recommendation to hold more treasuries as we grow older. I believe ‘we’ (you and I) are doing ‘above average’ on our investments.

    1. Bill

      Hi Tak,
      At 55 my weightings are 61.9% stocks and stock funds, 7.1% precious metals, and the remainder government securities and cash. The securities include US treasuries, savings bonds, and municipal bonds.

      I intend to maintain the 60% or so weighting in stocks and stock funds for many many years. You need to inflation protect yourself in retirement.

  161. Bobcobb79

    Not eating out alot at restaurants can save people a substantial amt. of money. Invest the difference in some good broad based index funds at Fidelity & or Vanguard & over the long term you can become wealthy. Live below your means, & just use a credit card as cash & always pay it off on time.

  162. Bobcobb79

    The 4% rule in retirement is an often used percentage as a retirement withdrawal rate. Many aren’t disciplined enough to stick to this rate. Most wouldn’t think taking $40,000. from a million dollar portfolio is an extreme amt. Again living below your means takes much discipline just like regular montly investing. Investing is so different than day tradiong which is gambling. Most day traders eventually lose all of their money although they won’t admit to it.

    1. Tak Nomura

      I saw a study about day traders many years ago, and the biggest percentage do lose money, because trading costs money, and nobody can time the market.

      Those who do better are the ones who break even, but one must not lose the fact that they’ve spent money unnecessarily for all those trades that could have ended up accruing some assets for them.

      Making trades are relatively cheap compared to several decades ago, but the old adage that a) trading costs money, and b) it’s impossible to time the stock market are good warnings. The best advise is 1) invest regularly to average cost your purchases, 2) invest for the long term, and 3) buy low and sell high.

      These three rules will keep you safe, and allow you to sleep at night.

      Here’s an article by Robert Deel on day traders.

  163. Mary L

    I’m 57 and my husband, 61, have saved $1.5MM in retirement accounts, have a paid for investment property valued at about $170K after selling expenses, $50K in cash and $400K in home equity, but until I get my $210K mortgage paid off (probably when I have it paid down low enough to pay off the balance by selling the investment property), We have no other debt but I’m afraid to retire. We could take social security at 62 for about $2800/month, but I want to wait until at least 66, our full retirement age, or maybe 70 for the maximum benefit. My husband has a small pension of about $850/mo at 65 and we will likely inherit a couple of million some day. The real estate market and stock market crashes of the Great Recession have left me feeling too insecure to retire, although I would love nothing more than to hang up the career and take the time for myself and family that my husband and I have sacrificed working days, nights and weekends during our careers. I’m hoping for a grandchild some time in the near future, and that may just give me the motivation I need to call it quits.

    1. Tak Nomura

      Mary L, Congrats on your accomplishments on preparing for your retirement. I would venture to say that you are in the top 1% in your savings for retirement.

      Both of you seem to have balanced your investments very well between your retirement accounts and properties. Don’t worry too much about the $210k mortgage at the current low mortgage rates; your investments will cover those very well, and you get the tax write-offs.

      Also, about your social security. If both of you are enjoying good health, and believe longevity is on your side, take your social security benefits early. Do the math; figure out how long it will take before your reduced benefits is made up.

      Also, my guesses about our economy has been pretty accurate based on my reading of the financial news almost daily, and how I perceive our economy to perform. When the market hit over 14,000, I sold 37% of our holdings and repurchased them when it hit 8,500. The average loss for investors from the Great Recession was 40%. My wife lost 11%, and I lost 17%. Last year, my funds increased by 22%, and I sold some of my bond funds to put into money market funds to have some cash reserve, because I felt this year was going to be a struggle for the market. So far, I’ve been right.

      However, for the long-term, I believe our economy will do very well compared to Europe or the rest of the world, because our economy is based on many industries, and many of the favored companies do well through thick and thin. Home sales and values have been increasing at a pretty good clip, but it’s based on better consumer credit so the likelihood of a repeat of the 2009 bust no longer exists. The only things we can’t predict are political that many change the economic outlook for the world’s economies. That, nobody can predict.

      But, with all is said and done, we must have faith in our economy; that’s all we have.

      Good luck!

  164. Anabelle

    Hello everyone!

    There seems to be a wealth (no pun intended) of knowledge in this forum, so lets see where I stack!

    24yr female, single, NO children-home-degree. Currently taking home 117k after taxes and owe 9k on my car. 142k in savings.

    I travel quite a bit, and focus on living a healthy lifestyle. Had not given retirement much thought until recently, some changes will be made, including going back to school in the next 6 months.
    Congrats to those of you on the right track and to those still working it out.. Best wishes!

    1. Tak Nomura

      You’re on the right track. Keep on it, and you’ll be okay.
      I also love to travel, having visited over 200 countries. I do six – seven trips ever year around the world, but enjoy cruising more and more as I get older – although I still love to walk.
      People who do not travel will never go beyond one page of their life.

      1. Anabelle

        Thank you Tak!

        I do 4 trips a year, 3 weeks each. I have seen some breath taking places, and have had the opportunity to share them with some of my loved ones. Maybe some day I’ll catch up with you.. 200 countries! Amazing!

  165. Cristina

    This is such a great post with awesome information. Here are my stats.
    26 year old female. Have 32 in 401k and I recently opened a Roth Ira. Have 30k in cash. Have a house (put down 90) and owe 140 at 3.5. I plan to have that payed off before 40. Own my car and have two credit cards with small balances. No school loans and currently getting my MBA while paying out of pocket. My salary sucks at 50k and I need to drastically increase that in order to increase my savings, retirement and mortgage payments. Good luck, health and wealth to you all!

  166. Tak Nomura

    AT 26 y/o, you’re doing much better than the average. I didn’t get my college degree until I was in my early 30’s, because I worked through college after I served four years in the USAF.

    I say over 200 countries, but many are repeats. I’ll be visiting my 90th unique country in September when I cruise from Copeanhagen to NYC. I’ve been to all five continents, have visited both the northernmost and southernmost cities of the world, flew to Mt Everest – the highest point on earth, and dipped my feet in the Dead Sea three times – the lowest point on earth.
    You can visit my travel blog at

    1. Cristina

      Thanks Tak! Yes I know not bad for my age. Still thinking about the future and beyond though 🙂

  167. Anabelle

    I just realized there are only 196 (I believe) countries in the world.. Didnt even think about that when I commented. Im looking forwards to your blog!

    “Sometimes one pays most for the things one gets for nothing.” Albert Einstein

    PS. I did 4 years in the AF as well, but wasn’t lucky enough to get an over-seas assignment, instead I got Travis AFB, where dreams to go die.

    1. Tak Nomura

      What irony! My first assignment was at Travis after doing my basic at Pleasanton. I requested assignment in Japan, but got Morocco for one year, but that was a blessing in disguise, because I was able to visit Madrid, Paris and London. That’s when the travel bug bit my behind. I ended up at Walker AFB at Roswell, NM, but that’s another story.
      Been moving ever since!

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