Net Worth by Age: How Do You Rank?

Do you have any idea what your current net worth is? Could you even tell me how to calculate your current worth? If you haven’t the slightest idea, don’t feel bad. It’s not a common point of conversation in our daily lives. However, it is very important to know the importance of your net worth for your future.

I have a friend that loves to live in the moment. He “owns” a house, a boat, and two very nice vehicles that he and his wife drive daily. When you read this, you might not think that his expenditures are all that extravagant, but with only a meager salary, these purchases have absolutely killed his net worth (and now, I’m not using the word “killed” in a good way here). He has refinanced his house multiple times and pulled out equity in the process. His boat and vehicles are all financed and as a whole are worth approximately what he owes on them. 

Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities

The net worth calculation is very simple. You take your assets (the value of all your stuff, including your cash in the bank) and subtract all of the money that you owe (your house loans, car loans, credit cards, etc.). Unfortunately, my friend’s asset number is smaller than his liability number, which means that his net worth is negative! While I shake my head at the thought, I think this is incredibly common in our world today. We all want to look successful, and we want to impress our friends with our stuff, even if it means taking out a loan to do it. All of this borrowing just gives us a net worth of zero, or even worse, a negative number.

So Why is Net Worth Such a Big Deal?

Mainly, the importance of net worth is for compounding interest. You know the phrase, “the rich get richer”? Well it could be you if you just stopped buying all of your stuff on credit! In order to make a sizable amount of money, it really helps if you work to build up your assets and reduce your liabilities. In other words, pay off your debt and buy things that don’t depreciate in value (or depreciate very slowly like a used car vs. a new car). Once your net worth starts growing, you’ll have more options to increase your wealth and have an easy, carefree retirement!

So Where Do You Rank With Your Net Worth?

This is the question that you’ve all been waiting for. What is the average net worth for your age? Are you better than average or are you lagging behind? 

According to CNN’s Net Worth Calculator, here are the average net worth values by age:

  • Age 25-34: $8,500        
  • Age 35-44: $52,000
  • Age 45-54: $98,000
  • Age 55-64: $180,000
  • Age 65+    : $232,000

Forbes insists that the numbers are more like the below figures, which are actually fairly close to CNN’s assessment:

  • Age 45-54: $117,900
  • Age 55-64: $179,400
  • Age 65-74: $206,700

This might seem like a lot of money to some (especially the $200k mark), but think about how long you could survive on this lump sum of money if you kept your lifestyle the same as what it is now. Let’s say you spend $30,000 a year, which is pretty easy to do. This money wouldn’t even last you for 7 years! 

I was baffled when I saw these figures. If you rank below these averages, you are going to be in some serious trouble when you get older. Rather than live on spam and  hot dogs, perhaps you’d like to pay attention to your net worth now.

The Best Net Worth Plan: by Financial Samurai

Sam (the owner of Financial Samurai) assumes that after the first year of one’s full time job, they can begin maximizing their contributions in their 401(k) or Roth IRA. By taking this route and assuming a very manageable interest rate, one could easily have a net worth of over $2 million by the time they reach the age of 65! Now that’s a radically different chart. Where do you rank on this one and what do you think you will have earned by the time you are 65?

  • Age 22: $0
  • Age 23: $17k
  • Age 24: $35k
  • Age 25: $60k
  • Age 30: $182k
  • Age 35: $331k
  • Age 40: $521k
  • Age 45: $764k
  • Age 50: $1.1 million
  • Age 55: $1.5 million
  • Age 60: $1.9 million
  • Age 65: $2.6 million

I believe that Sam has it right, what about you? Do you rank well by Sam’s standards? Do you think his numbers are fair?

 

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56 comments to Net Worth by Age: How Do You Rank?

  • According to both, I am doing fairly well! 🙂
    Michelle recently posted..Things I Probably Wouldn’t Do To Save/Make Money

  • I like Sam’s number. I think it’s only for one person though. He hasn’t really calculated a household number. Correct me if I’m wrong.
    retirebyforty recently posted..RB40′s Exit Strategy Post Mortem

    • I think you’re right RB40. His number is only for one person, but so are all of the other references. If you are a couple, I would just say double that number. With all of that projects that you have going, I bet you’re right on track. 🙂

  • I think Sam has the right idea. People have too much debt and don’t try to build wealth while they are young and able to. Living on social security might not even e an option by the time I get there. I wish people realized that it’s on you to make sure you are taken care of as you get older.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Discounts You Might Be Missing

    • No kidding. I’m still taken back at times when I realize how little money (in net worth terms) people really have. Expensive new cars certainly don’t impress me anymore. As a matter of fact, they often make me think less of people and their financial decisions.

  • I like Sam’s numbers too, however like RB40 mentioned, it doesn’t count a household number since kids are a drain on one’s income as opposed to a spouse that could be doing the same with their 401k possibly.
    Chris recently posted..Method of buy low and sell high strategy

    • I don’t have kids yet, but I’m getting a little taste of their expense through my best friend who just had a newborn back in May. Not only is their kid costly, but now his wife is not working. Increased expenses and decreased income….yikes. That sounds tricky.

  • Our house is paid for, in today’s market worth about $225,000. My husband and my combined 401k is about $700,000, we have about $50,000 in available ‘cash’. Recently I bought a certified pre-owned car so I have a small debt of $17,000 (intentionally, not owing any money isn’t necessarily a positive!) My husband is retired, I plan to work another 4 years or so; I thought we were in decent shape, but this makes me think otherwise!

    What I don’t see taken into account is any kind of pension; my husband has a traditional one (I will not), he is also just a couple of years from social security. That is also a consideration for your future.

    • Well Nancy, you are certainly doing better than most. Compare your numbers to the average of just $225k. Even as a ‘per person’ number, you are still crushing the average. That said, I think you still have some work to do since you are so close to retirement. Hopefully you can allow your investments to grow in the next 4 years to get you close to that $1 million mark. With your husband’s pension and social security, your retirement should be sustainable for many years to come. Thanks for the comment Nancy.

      • A question that I haven’t seen anywhere (unrelated to the topic, possibly someone can start another thread?), another consideration for ‘future’ is long term care health insurance. My husband and I (much to his disgust) went to a seminar last week. I am surrounded by people dealing with crisis because they don’t have it. My cousin’s father-in-law needed to go into a facility (late 80’s, failing health, needs continuous care). He is a widower; they are having estate sales and selling the family home, they need to get his individual ‘wealth’ down to $14,000 before medicaid kicks in; this is a very proud man, he now will have nothing to leave to his children/grandchildren. A dear friend in Arizona had to put her husband in a residential care facility, even down there where costs are less, its costing her $4k per month. Its devastating. It affects everything from your emotional well being to net worth.

        The person giving the seminar made a comment that resounded with me; we all have car insurance, can’t drive without it. do we buy insurance because we are hoping to need to use it? of course not. besides being illegal, it’s stupid not to have it. I am leaning towards the same thought for long term care insurance.

        Has there been a thread for this subject?

  • Sam does some good stuff over at Financial Samurai, but he does what many people do when talking retirement, and just talk about assets, not about cash flows.

    In the typical “net worth” model, assets get consumed, so you have to build a big nest egg and hope it doesn’t run out before you die.

    Grim.

    I plan on investing for cash flows – businesses, real estate, dividend paying stocks. I don’t care what those investments are worth, as long as they’re providing me enough cash flow to survive. As soon as my income exceeds my expenses, I can retire. Anything else is gravy.
    Jack @ Enwealthen recently posted..The Minimalist Guide to Cashback Rebates (or Coupons Are For Suckers)

    • Well said Jack. I actually am not maxing out my 401(k) right now because I’d rather invest some of my money in cash flow producing deals such as real estate. You make a great point, but keep in mind that many cash flow sources need to have an asset to support it, which will be added into your total net worth.

  • Julie

    Sam’s numbers are very high for me especially since I am a teacher and we don’t get matched with 401K. My state doesn’t get Social Security either in retirement. Hopefully I will have a pension in 30 years…
    I am more at those 25 year old numbers, but I am 33 and almost paid off my mortgage.

    • Being a teacher has to be very tough when it comes to put money aside for investments. It sounds like you’re actually doing pretty well, but once that mortgage is paid off, you’re most likely going to want to focus on increasing your investments through your assets. Perhaps you’d like to invest in some rental property or a minimal risk business. There are plenty of things you can do to increase your net worth, but it will take some time, which will require your patience.

  • In both I am doing very well, so happy with that. This time last year didn’t look as good, but I have increased income streams as well as cash flow and asset value, so for my age I am well ahead which is nice because being single with 2 kids, it all falls back on me.
    Kylie Ofiu recently posted..Thought provoking – If by Rudyard Kipling

    • Congratulations! It sounds like you are doing amazingly well given your situation. Keep up the awesome work and you won’t be sorry come your retirement years, that’s for sure. 🙂

  • I hope I could follow that path when I reach those age. I’m still under 20, so I don’t really have my very own net worth.
    Mark Ross recently posted..Types of Debts: Difference Between Good Debt And Bad Debt

    • You’re under 20?? I’m jealous. I used to be the young gun around here. That’s awesome that you’re so aware of your finances at such a young age. You’re going to be living large later in life for sure.

  • I’m doing ok against CNN and Forbes, but falling short against Sam’s higher standards. Do you think it’s a good exercise to review and see why I fell short or focus on the now and maximize where ever I can? Thanks for the though provoking post!
    Buck Inspire recently posted..10 Qualities Of Great Community Leaders

    • If you can, I would do both. If you can figure out why you’re falling short, then perhaps it will give you a clear picture on how to catch up for the future. You’re a smart guy Buck. I know you can figure it out. If you want to talk about it some more, feel free to send me an email through my “Contact” tab.

  • […] to see how you rank versus peers in size of net worth? Life and My Finances writes Net Worth by Age: How Do You Rank?. Unfortunately, I’m in the 22 year old bracket. But knowing myself, I won’t be there […]

  • I see the CNN estimates to be too conservative. People need to understand that time plays a huge role in your net worth as you age. The more you can have saved at a young age, the better off you will be in the end.
    Jon @ MoneySmartGuides recently posted..Your Free Credit Report: 3 Times A Year

    • I totally agree Jon. If you start investing young, life will be way easier in the future. I started when I was 23, which is fairly young, but think of the wealth I could have created if I started at age 18 (instead of buying a home theatre system…)? 😉

  • Andy

    Derek,

    You might remember me, I commented on one of your posts about paying off mortgage early.

    I’ve always questioned net worth calculation a little bit, and never had a great answer to my question.

    So my wife and I both will be turning 30 soon. Should our COMBINED net worth be 182k? Or EACH have our own net worth of 182k? Or should it be a hybrid of the two?

    I never see it split up for singles and couples.

    Thanks for your insight.

    • Hi Andy. I am 95% sure that all of these metrics are for an individual. If you have a spouse, I would double it. I know 182k sounds like a ton (for each person for sure), but it can definitely be done with a proper business investment (ex. real estate). Do you feel like you’re miles away or in pretty good shape?

      • Andy

        I’ve always felt we are doing great, Two teachers both 30 (i turned 30 yesterday) We own a rental property outright (estimated value $100,000) and owe a $182,000 on a $330,000 home. We have about $36,000 combined in our retirement plans roughly 18k each, and roughly 20,000 in investments. That puts us around $300,000 together.

        I watch CNBC all the time, I read blogs constantly. It always bugs me that it is never defined as individual or couples. I’ve had both answers given to me. But it will be a good goal to try to view it individually, though I’m not sure how obtainable that becomes later on… 5.2 million seems a little out of reach for two teachers… but 2.6 seems totally doable!

        • Sounds like you’re doing pretty good to me too Andy! Nice job! With the rental property, you should have a consistent income flowing in. If you either invest your money into more rental properties or put it into the market, I bet you’ll get closer to your $5.2 million than you think.

  • Not sure about the doubling of the net worth for couples. Sounds great in theory, but not sure it is needed. For example, we will assume the house is paid off. However, household bills such as electric, gas, etc… don’t necessarily double b/c you have two people living there. The same gas that is used to heat the house for one person is being consumed by another as well. Water bill, etc.. may go up slightly, but doesn’t double. Another example would be travel. While you would have to pay for two flights if a couple traveled, you would still only be paying for one hotel room. While doing things as a couple is more expensive than being single, I don’t think it doubles the amount of money needed. I could see the need to say 1.5 times the number, but doubling seems a bit too much.

    • Maybe a better number would be 1.5x. It should definitely be more than a 1x multiple because of the things you mentioned about (travel, food, etc.), but also don’t forget about medical expenses. Those are a huge part of a retiree’s financial story, and the expenses count for both individuals.

  • Agree on the medical expenses. At least we “know” these are coming. I bet many in retirement now never thought medical care would end up this out of control. I feel fortunate that even though we are a one-income family that we will be in great shape. I am about 5 years ahead of where the numbers say I should be. Plus, I have a pension through my company as well. Very fortunate.

    • Awesome job Brian! You are one of the few that is ahead of schedule. I’m 28 years old and should make it to the dollar value as a 30 year old, but I’m not so sure I can have the money that a 35 year old should at that point. Keep up the awesome work man.

  • As a result of what we are seeing around us with family and friends, my husband and I are in the process of applying for long term health care insurance. Its just something that makes sense in today’s world…

    • True. I think long term care insurance is necessary for a lot of people, especially if you don’t want your children to carry your financial burden. You are making a very wise, caring decision. Thanks for the comment Nancy.

  • The insurance guy made a comment that just made sense; we all have car insurance, you HAVE to have car insurance, but you don’t have it with the intent of needing to use it. In the last 4 years I rolled a car in bad weather and had it almost completely replaced because of insurance, and my husband had a bad one car accident, spent 6 days in the hospital, and so far we have not paid one cent of the $120,000 in bills. Insurance.

    In our case we have children, but the burden financially and emotionally first is on the spouse; I am seeing it with two different people close to me, its heartbreaking!

    • It is definitely difficult to experience. My grandma ran out of money about 5 years before she passed away. My parents and my aunt had to carry the financial burden all that time. I’m glad you’re not going to put your spouse or your kids through that. Thanks for the comments Nancy. It’s been good getting to know you. 🙂

  • Thank you for this blog Derek! I’ve learned alot from it; I haven’t always agreed (your recent posting about not fully funding a 401k was one that I didn’t totally agree), but many others have helped me make some financial decisions (like paying off my mortgage).

  • Ted

    I’m doing great versus the average but, at 60, if I were on Sam’s chart, I’d be at home watching TV Monday through Friday, instead of driving to work. Heck, $1.9M with no dependents or heirs? Party-on, dude!

    • Haha. Yeah, it would be nice to have 2 million in the bank and ready to retire. I would probably watch TV for about 30 minutes and then start thinking about what to do next. Haha! I just get so antsy when I have nothing to do! Great job being ahead of the average though Ted. Keep adding to it if you can!

  • I still have some time to add to my own net worth for my age bracket! What a wake up call!

    • Good! I’m glad that you are inspired by this article. Most people are freaked out! I am well beyond average, but am still slightly shy of Financial Samurai’s numbers. I still have time though! 🙂 Thanks for the comment Michelle.

  • Ted

    Sam’s BEST net worth is ridiculous.

    • Hi Ted. Sam’s net worth chart can be a little intimidating at first, but I wouldn’t call it ridiculous. I came out of college with $12,000 in debt and dropped my net worth by $30,000 when my ex divorced me, but I am still on track when comparing my net worth to Sam’s numbers. Honestly, with my plan, I will likely exceed his estimate as I continue to age. Like I said, it certainly isn’t easy and it isn’t the norm, but it is absolutely doable. You just have to start early and contribute on a consistent basis.

  • These numbers are interesting, I wonder what rate of return they have built into this.

  • James Cortez

    Hi Derek, I am 55 and lost the job recently (oil industry S****). My 401K combined with my wife’s is $ 800,000. No more loan and the house is worth $ 400,000 and we don’t want to downsize. Cash in the bank about $70,000. Stock & bond about $ 100,000. Oh my wife is a preacher so she doesn’t earn income. I don’t see myself finding a job in the oil & gas industry anymore. Am I way behind or average in your opinion?

    • Hi Jim. I’d refer you to two of my recent posts: 1) Retirement Savings by Age and 2) Will You Have Enough Money to Retire?

      You and your wife have saved very well for retirement, and according to Post #1 you’re actually ahead of where you need to be! But, these figures assume that you’ll keep working and continue to save until you’re 65.

      My next question for you would be, what if you stopped working and started pulling from your savings? Would you still be okay? Read Post #2 above and download the Retirement Calculator tool that I built. If you retired today with $970k (800+100+70) and could live on a before-tax income of $4,500 (so roughly $3,500 after tax) a month today, then your money would last until you’re 99 years old.

      If I were you, I’d still do something to earn a bit of an income, but don’t feel pressured to keep earning $75k a year and load up retirement.

      Hope that helps!!

      Thanks for the question James!

  • James Cortez

    Derek, thanks so much for the answer. Sorry for the belated reply as my wife and I just came back from a 2 week vacation. I am looking for job now but at over 55, employers prefer younger people. My wife and I think we can live on $ 3500 a month as long as we don’t eat out every weekend. Worst comes worst as you stated what my wife and I have should last for another 40 years so you give me a peace of mind.

  • […] Want yet another gauge of your net worth? Check out this popular article I put together a few years ago: Net Worth by Age – How Do You Rank? […]

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