Net worth can be a pretty intense topic. Most of us know our net worth isn't as high as Beyonce’s, but do you know your net worth by age comparison?
Keep in mind that ultimately, your net worth goals depend on what you want to accomplish financially from a personal perspective. So as you review these details on net worth comparison by age, keep your unique objectives in mind. The information here is just to guide you, not to set any rules.
Definition of net worth
Net worth is how much you owe versus how much you own. Basically, it calculates how wealthy you are.
This is very important for retirement, and knowing what your target net worth by age should be will help you better understand how to reach your personal financial goals.
Income vs net worth
Keep in mind that your net worth is very different from your income. Your income is essentially how much you earn from work and if you stop working, your income sharply declines. Your net worth on the other hand doesn't have to change much even if you aren't actively working.
What's included with net worth
Net worth includes your assets and your liabilities. Subtract your liabilities from your assets to get your net worth.
Your assets include everything from the cash in your bank accounts to the value of your stock portfolios and the market value of anything tangible that you own such as a house or a car. It also includes valuables like art or jewelry. The most important thing about assets is that they have a monetary value.
A big part of net worth assets is saving money. If you are curious about how much savings you should have by what age, you'll find references to this throughout the article. While net worth and savings are not the same, savings are a big contributor to net worth so it's worth mentioning.
Your liabilities are your debts. Your total liabilities include your student loans, credit card debt, mortgage, and car loans. Any medical debt, personal loans, or back taxes are also considered liabilities.
Notes about assets
Assets like stocks can fluctuate quickly. If you own a lot of stocks, keep in mind that your exact net worth could vary depending on the stock market. Also, keep in mind certain types of assets depreciate over time, like cars and electronics.
Why net worth is crucial
While your net worth by age isn't everything, it does give some insight into what your finances are like. Knowing your net worth and the averages can help you understand if you are saving and investing enough to reach your goals.
Think of your net worth as a way to know if you are close to where you want to be with money. It's a tool to guide you but not to obsess over because there are a lot of factors that can cause a net worth to vary, as mentioned earlier.
Determining average net worth by age
In order to get control of your finances, it’s vital to understand where your net worth by age should be. To do that, you can look at the average American net worth in your age group, figure out where you want your net worth to be by the time you retire, and calculate if you are on track to meet your goals.
Before we get into the averages, remember that the average (or mean) can be skewed by high net worth individuals. A better metric to go by is the median. However, both are just one indicator of wealth.
Below, I'll break down the average net worth by various age buckets based on recent data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
The average net worth of Americans for families under the age of 35 is $76,300 while the median is $13,900. When you’re in your late 20s and 30s it’s normal to not have a lot of wealth. You may even have a negative net worth at this age.
You could still be paying off your student loan debt and you’re just getting started in your career. A good measure is to try and save at least one times your income, according to Ally, by the time you’re 30.
Homeowners at this age also likely haven't built up much home equity in their house yet. That's fine; it takes time to do this. Just keep building wealth at this stage.
Increase net worth in your 30s
Some good ways to increase your net worth in your 30s include contributing to retirement and investments because right now they have a long time to grow. And don't forget to have an emergency fund saved.
Staying away from debt is also encouraged so you can keep your net worth number positive. Try to build up your income in your 30s because you can use the extra for investing.
The average net worth for people between the ages of 35 and 44 is $436,200, while the median is $91,300.
By the time you turn 40, you should try to have at least three times your income saved, according to Fidelity, which does contribute to net worth. So if you make $80,000 a year, you should have $160,000 in assets.
You don't have to have $160,000 in cash or stocks. You can also increase your net worth by investing in real estate, whether it’s by buying a home for your family or buying a home to rent out. Check out these financial goals by 40 that you can consider.
How to build wealth in your 40s
Your 40s are a great time to build wealth and buy assets. If you have debt like a home mortgage or car loans, now is the time to pay them off so nothing will stand in your way. Obviously, continue to try and increase your income, as well.
On average, Americans between 45 and 54 have a net worth of $833,200, while the median is $168,600.
By the time you're 50, it’s advised to have saved six times your salary, according to Investopedia. While this seems like a lot, you can easily get there if you start investing and saving your money early on.
Investing more in your 50s
If you haven’t been able to take advantage of compound interest, now is the time to try and save more aggressively in your investment accounts and retirement accounts. You will likely want to retire in the next decade, so it's important to save and invest as much as possible while also not being too risky.
The net worth average for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 is $1,175,900 and the median is $212,500. Your retirement savings and investment portfolio should be well established by now.
When you turn 60, you should have saved six times up to eleven times your annual salary, according to T. Rowe Price. You’ll be close to retirement, if not already retired, so it’s important that you have enough assets to sustain you for the rest of your life.
Prepare for retirement in your 60s
While you can still invest in your 60s, it's definitely a time to take on less risk because of being close to retirement years. Instead, it's time to pay off any remaining debts, focus on protecting your investment portfolio, and add to it as you can.
Key contributors to net worth by age
Now that you've figured out your net worth comparison by age, you should know what contributes to it. Many things can make your net worth higher, but keeping low liabilities (debt) and growing your assets will determine your net worth number. Here are some major contributors.
It's often discussed whether a college degree makes a difference in how wealthy you are. People with MBA's tend to have a higher net worth than anyone among their higher education peers.
There is also some evidence that dropping out of school and not getting a high school diploma lowers earning potential. So, college graduates may find that their net worth is higher in some cases.
There are plenty of exceptions to education and net worth. Many wealthy and successful people have dropped out of school and gone on to make a huge amount of money. Some big contributors to your net worth are intentionality, hard work, and being wise with your money.
Inequality with net worth
According to a survey by the Federal Reserve, White, non-Hispanic Americans have a net worth average of $980,550, while the average net worth of Black, non-Hispanic Americans is $142,330, and Hispanic Americans' net worth averages $165,540.
This inequality in net worth is unfortunate but something that can be changed. By continuing to educate people on the realities of net worth inequality and increasing financial literacy for everyone, we can make a difference.
How to calculate your net worth?
Knowing the average net worth of Americans is one thing, but knowing your own net worth is another. Your net worth is calculated by deducting your liability amount from the total worth of your assets. Basically, it's what is left over if you were to sell all of your assets and pay off your debts.
To calculate your net worth, you should first list all of your assets and liabilities. It’s important to note the market value of your assets, i.e. what they are currently worth.
Calculate your assets and liabilities
You can use a simple spreadsheet to calculate the total of your assets and liabilities. Everything that you own and can make a profit from (assets) and everything you owe and need to pay back (liabilities). Deduct your liabilities from your assets, and what’s left over is your net worth.
Best net worth calculator by age
Why not make the math simpler when finding net worth? If you want a net worth calculator by age that will specifically help you know how much wealth you should have according to how old you are, we have a few suggestions.
Nerd Wallet's calculator gives you a chance to see your net worth. It features columns for assets and liabilities and presents the information in a clear way. You can also see how your net worth compares to others of your same age and what net worth others in other age brackets have.
Personal Finance Data
This option shows you net worth percentile by age. It's an easy way to compare your net worth to others in your age group.
AARP has a calculator that is informative and uses percentages to help you find your net worth easily. Plus, you can see your future net worth projections, so you can use this as a net worth calculator by age.
How to reach your net worth goals
If you find that you aren't anywhere near where you want to be when it comes to average net worth by age, don’t fret. There are a number of things you can do to reach your net worth and retirement goals.
Make a budget consistently
The first thing to do to increase your wealth is to make a budget. Save as much as possible and don’t overspend.
Start by identifying areas where you can cut back on your spending. Then set up a budget and stick to it.
Types of budgets to try
There are a number of different budgeting methods out there. A common one is the 50/30/20 rule. Essentially, 50% of your income should go towards essentials, like housing and food, while 30% should go towards your wants, like shopping and travel, and 20% should go towards savings.
Some extremely frugal people save everything they don't use for bills and expenses. And there are other types of budgets you can consider, like zero-based budgets, for which you budget every single dollar every pay period. Find a method that you like and use that.
Pay off debt
If you have a lot of debt, you have a lot of liabilities. The higher your liabilities, the less your net worth. Figure out how much you owe, including credit card balances, and make a plan to get rid of debt.
To increase your net worth, pay off your debt. Start first with high-interest debt, then move to your student loans, mortgage, etc. You can try out the debt snowball method or the avalanche method to pay off debt quickly.
Save money for emergencies and short to mid-term goals
Having a nice cushion of cash can also increase your net worth. It’s a good idea to have an emergency fund anyway, so if you don’t have one, get started!
You can start saving for things that are important to you using a savings account or several of them to save for separate things.
Save about three to six months' worth of living expenses so you’re prepared for whatever life throws your way. You can also save for short goals, like a vacation fund, or mid-term goals like saving for a down payment on a house.
Invest for the long term
Another way to increase your net worth is by having a long-term investment. You can do this in a number of ways. You can invest directly in the stock market, or buy shares of an exchange-traded fund (ETF) or even mutual funds.
Another long-term investment is real estate. Buy your dream house or buy a couple of different properties as an investment, or if you don’t want to buy property directly, you can invest in what is called a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). A REIT company purchases and manages properties and gives out a return to investors.
Basically, you want your total assets to be set up in such a way that you will be ready for retirement when the day comes.
Remember that net worth doesn’t tell the whole story
Calculating your net worth average by age is just one way to determine your wealth. Knowing the average net worth comparison by age is a good guideline to have, but it isn’t everything.
Don’t feel demotivated if your net worth comparison is not near where you want it to be.