You’re approaching 30 years old. Whoa, you’re like, an adult for real now. Better start thinking about money! Should you be out of debt? Should you own a house? And, a question I get often (and what we’ll be covering in this article), how much should you have saved by 30?
The question of how much you should have saved is a pretty loaded one. And of course it all depends on what your career path is, how much you earn, and what you’re ultimately trying to achieve later in life. But in general, as an average, we think we’ve got it pegged pretty well. And we’ll see how well you’re tracking!
What Do We Mean by “How Much Should You Have Saved by 30?”
So what are we really talking about here?
- Just savings account money?
- All invested dollars?
- Or are we talking about retirement dollars?
In general, when people ask how much they should have saved, they’re talking about retirement dollars. ie. Funds that are put into an investment account and are pegged for the distant future.
Most of the time, these dollars are either in a 401k or an IRA.
Whenever we start to wonder about how well we’re doing in life, we naturally ask the question, “Well, where’s everyone else at? If I’m worse than that, that’s bad. But, if I’m doing better than average, that’s good!….Right?”
Before we answer that, let’s look at the average balances for 30-years-olds
- According to Investopedia, on average, 30-somethings have $38,400 saved for retirement
- Personal Capital finds the average balance at $21,900 for 30-year-olds
- The Balance reports the average amount saved for those in their mid-30s is $32,600
Since a couple of these options are technically for mid-30-year-olds and are in the mid $30k range, it’s safe to say that the Personal Capital figure is probably the most accurate at roughly $22,000 saved by age 30.
Is That Enough? How Much Should You Have Saved by 30?
You’re 30 years old, you’ve been out of college and working for roughly 7 years. Then, if you’re following the Dave Ramsey baby steps (which I’ve personal done and love by the way), then it probably took you two years to clear your credit card debt and student loans. Meaning, you’ve had about five solid years to invest.
According to Indeed, the average salary of a college grad is $50,000, which honestly feels like $200k to someone that’s been living on next-to-nothing for 4 years of their lives. So, out of that $50,000, it should be pretty easy to sock away 15% of your earnings, or $7,500 a year.
Calculating Contributions and Earnings
If you invested $7,500 a year (or $625 a month) and earned 10% interest on your investment, how much money should be chilling in your investment account right now?
According to my handy dandy investment calculator that I put together a few days ago (Want one? Get your free investment calculator here), you should have…drum roll…. just over $50,000 saved in your retirement by the time you turn 30.
Keep that investment cadence going until age 65 and you’ll have $3.6 million!
Sounds like a ton, right?? Honestly though, it’s roughly $1 million in today’s dollars and it’s about the amount you’ll need to retire comfortably. (I could go into all the details of net present values and inflation, but I’ll spare you. Just trust me on this one. 😉 )
If you’re “average” and have just $22,000 saved, I’d say you’re actually behind where you should be. If you can, it’s time to ramp it up and increase your contribution rates! There’s no doubt in my mind that the ‘future you’ will thank you.
“What If I’m Not the Typical College Graduate Scenario You Just Outlined?”
I get it. Not everyone goes to college, and only a percentage of people that attend college actually finish, earn a degree, and find work relevant to what they actually studied!
- If you didn’t attend college, I still say your target number should be the same.
- You probably started out earning less at age 18 or 19, but you had more time to save!
- If you went to school to become a doctor, then you’re probably behind!
- Chances are, you just graduated at age 30 and have a bunch of school debt! Your earning potential will soon be high, but don’t forget that you have some catching up to do. Instead of investing $7,500 a year. You should be loading something like $20,000 a year into your retirement. Maybe more if you want a more luxurious retirement!
On average, I say $50,000 is still a good number. You may argue that yours should be less (or maybe more) and you may be right! The key is to be intentional about the track you’re on.
Download the investment calculator to get a feel for how much you could have saved in the future. Heck, make a goal out of it! Retirement savings is something that most Americans fail at but everyone wishes they had. Decide instead to be one of the few that actually have a pile of money waiting for you in retirement.
You’re Behind. How to Catch Up.
Don’t have $50,000 socked away? Looking for a way to catch up?
My free eBook is a great place to start – “101 Ways to Make More Money“. Subscribe to my site (here) and you’ll get a free copy in your email soon after.
Beyond that, I’d say it’s time to find yourself a favorite side hustle. Here’s some fantastic resources from my site:
- 10 Flexible Side Hustles That Can Fit With Any Schedule
- 10 Side Hustles You Can Start This Weekend
- How to Find High Paying Side Hustles – Work Less and Earn More!
- 36 Side Hustles You Can Start Now to Earn More Money
- 10 Best Side Hustles For Introverts
- And, one of my best articles to date: 50+ High-Paying Side Hustles for Single Moms
Or, maybe you’re not a big fan of the side hustle. Maybe you just want to earn more money at your day job!
Here’s some great resources for that:
- 35+ High-Paying Jobs Without a Degree
- 3 Ways to Increase Your Chances of Getting Promoted
- How to Get Promoted 5 Times in 7 Years
You can do it. The fact that you’re reading a boring financial site is proof of that! You’re ready. It’s time to earn more, invest more, and become rich in the end!
How Much Should You Have Saved by 30? Wrap Up
After looking at the scenario from multiple angles and reviewing the averages, the apparent answer to the question above is $50,000.
If you’re not there yet, just relax. Breathe. Take a moment and realize that it’s not the end of the world. You’ve got time and you can fix this.
- Get out of debt (need a debt snowball spreadsheet? Here’s a great download for you! 🙂 Just look at all this free stuff you’re getting today!)
- Build up an emergency fund of 6-12 months of expenses
- Then invest like crazy. 15% of your income at minimum
If you start to focus on your money goals now, you’ll be amazed at where you end up 5 years from now. I promise you that.
Are you investing enough? Do you have better than average savings at 30 years old? Be sure to comment below!
My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.