Most of us know our net worth isn't as high as Beyonce’s, but do you know how your average net worth by age compares?
According to a survey by the Federal Reserve, the average net worth of Americans is $692,100, although that varies by race. White Americans have an average net worth of $933,700, while the average net worth of Blacks and Hispanics is $138,200 and $191,200, respectively.
That’s a huge difference. If you want to know how secure your finances are and what the average net worth by age should look like, then read on.
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 your net worth by each age, keep your unique objectives in mind. This article is just to guide you, not to set any rules.
What is net worth?
Net worth is how much you owe versus how much you own. Basically, it calculates how wealthy you are. If you want to know if you are meeting your retirement goals, it’s important to know what your net worth is.
By knowing what your target net worth should be by age, you will have a better understanding of how to reach your personal financial goals.
What does net worth include?
Net worth includes your assets and your liabilities. 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.
Your liabilities are your debt. That includes your student loans, credit card debt, mortgage, and car loan. Any medical debt, personal loans, or back taxes are also considered liabilities.
Net worth calculation
Your net worth is calculated by deducting your liabilities, like your debt and student loans, from the value of all of your assets. Basically it is 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.
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 value of the stock market.
Also, keep in mind certain types of assets depreciate over time. For instance, cars and electronics.
You can use a simple spreadsheet to calculate the total of your assets and liabilities. Deduct your liabilities from your assets, and what’s left over is your net worth.
Determining your average net worth by age
In order to get control of your finances, it’s vital to understand where your net worth should be by what age. To do that, you can compare the average net worth of other Americans 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 average net worth by age, remember that the average 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 network by various age buckets based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
Average net worth by age 30
The average net worth for families under the age of 35 is $76,200 while the median is $11,100.
When you’re in your late 20s and 30s it’s normal to not have a lot of wealth. You could still be paying off your student debt and you’re just getting started in your career.
A good measure is to try and have a net worth of at least half of your income by the time you’re 30.
Average net worth by age40
By the time you turn 40, you should try to have at least two times your income in net worth. So if you make $80,000 a year, you should have $160,000 in assets.
That doesn’t mean you need 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.
The average net worth for people between the ages of 35 and 44 is$288,700, while the median is $59,800.
Average net worth by age 50
On average, Americans between 45 and 54 have a net worth of $727,500, while the median is $124,200.
By the time you are 50 it’s advised to have a net worth of four times your salary. While this seems like a lot, you can easily get there if you start investing and saving your money early on.
If you haven’t been able to take advantage of compound interest, then now is the time to try and save more aggressively.
Average net worth by age 60
The average net worth for Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 is $1,167,400 and the median is $187,300.
When you turn 60, you should have a net worth that is six times your annual salary. 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.
How to reach your net worth goals
If you’re not anywhere near the above numbers, don’t fret. The numbers are there as guidelines. There are a number of things you can to reach your net worth and retirement goals.
The first thing to do to increase your net worth 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!
There are a number of different budgeting methods out there. The most common 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.
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. If you want to increase your net worth, pay off your debt. Start first with high-interest debt, then move to your student loans, mortgage, etc.
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 should 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 downpayment 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 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. You can buy your dream house or buy a couple of different properties as an investment. If you don’t want to buy property directly, you can invest in what is called a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). This is a company that buys and manages propertIES and gives out a return to investors.
Remember that net worth doesn’t tell the whole story
Calculating your net worth is just one way to determine your wealth. Knowing the average net worth by age is a good guideline to have, but it isn’t everything. Don’t feel demotivated if your net worth is not near where you want it to be.
Use that to inspire yourself to figure out a solid financial plan to catch up.