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How Much Should I Have in Retirement at 35?

You’re 35 years old. You have a wife, some kiddos, and a decent job with benefits. Life is going pretty well, but you’ve got a looming question that keeps nagging at you (and many of us really)…”How much should I have in retirement at 35?“.

Are you on track?

Perhaps you’re behind?

But how’s anyone really supposed to know these days?

Nobody openly talks about money and how much they have stashed away. It’s almost more of a faux pas than talking about politics! So here you are, left searching Google and reading an article from some guy that claims to know something about money. 😉

Ha! But don’t worry. You’ve come to the right place. I live and breathe money – so much so that I often have to remind myself to think about something else!

Oh, and one more thing. I’m 35 too! The question of, “How much should I have in retirement at 35?” has been weighing on my mind lately as well! So let’s figure this thing out together!

Related: Free Downloadable Investment Calculator

How Much Should I Have in Retirement at 35?

You want to know the easiest way to accomplish something? Keep the process as simple as possible. That’s what we’re going to do here. After all, finance doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ll answer a few questions, help you out with the answers (with a few handy-dandy charts), and then you’ll know if you’re on track or not!

how much should you have in retirement at 35How Much Are You Content With Today?

How much do you earn today?

Does it feel like enough?

Would you be content with the same lifestyle in retirement?

Between all of our income streams (this blog, a rental house, and my day job), my wife and I earn roughly $100,000 a year. We’re blessed and we’ve really never had to think about our expenses too much. We just spend on what we need, buy a few toys here and there, and then we take a couple nice vacations a year. We could definitely live on a $100k lifestyle in retirement. 

In fact, we could probably do it on less pretty easily. I’d say $80,000 a year would be great. (Again, keep this step simple. Don’t assume that you’re going to have a ton of medical bills if you’re perfectly healthy today!). Just think about what you earn today and if you’d be content with more or less. That’s it!

What’s your answer to this question? How much would you ideally earn today if you were retired? 

The Effects of Inflation

Next, you’ve got to consider the effects of inflation. 

On average, the inflation rate is 3.22% each year, which simply means that your dollar is worth 3.22% less than it was in the previous year. This means that every 20 years or so, your money buys about half the amount it does today.

So, if you agreed with me that an $80,000 lifestyle would be great in retirement…

  • 20 years from now, that’s actually $160,000 a year
  • 40 years from now, that’s $320,000 a year
  • 60 years from now, that’s $640,000 a year

Well yikes!

That’s pretty freaky. But you know what? It’s better that you find this out now than when you’re 95, living with your kids, and dead broke!

And, lucky for you, we factored inflation into all of our numbers, so you can stop thinking about it now. 🙂 Read on!

How Much Do You Need in Your Nest Egg at Age 65?

Based on your desired yearly income (and the evil inflation rate that’s making the mountain higher every year), how much do you need to have stashed away for retirement at age 65?

Use the chart below to get a quick read on how much of a nest egg you’ll need:

how much should I have saved for retirement at age 35

This assumes: 3.22% inflation rate, 10% interest up to age 65, 6% interest after age 65, and that you won’t live longer than 100 years old

If you wanted that $80,000 a year income like I did, you’d need to stash away $4.5M in your retirement account by age 65 to make that happen! 


So now for the next big question…

Are You On Track?

You’ve now identified what type of lifestyle you’d like in retirement. And, with the handy chart above, you know how much you’ll need in your nest egg by the time you reach the retirement age of 65.

Now it’s finally time to answer your question, “How much should I have in retirement at 35?”

Based on your current contribution amounts per year, do you have enough saved up in your retirement accounts to meet your desired nest egg number?

Check out the chart below and you’ll soon find out (click on it to zoom in – there are a ton of numbers jammed in here!).

Retirement and Contribution Matrix

How are your numbers looking?

To be honest, I’m selfishly taking a look at my numbers! 😉

Let me use our situation as an example to help you read the chart accurately:

Liz and I have approximately $200,000 saved up for retirement. And, we contribute approximately $10,000 to our accounts each year. Based on the chart above, if we keep doing that up until age 65, we’ll have $5.1 million!

In order to have an $80,000/year lifestyle in retirement, we said that we’d need $4.5 million.

Looks like we’re on track! Hallelujah!

What about you?

How much do you have saved and how much do you contribute? Is it enough to provide the lifestyle you want in retirement?

How Much Should I Have in Retirement at 35? The Likely Answer…

Most people clicked on this article hoping to read a one-word post that said “$10,000″ or $75,000” or maybe $200,000…

I obviously didn’t do that. And the reason for that is we all have different goals and aspirations! If we want less for our retirement, we can have less now and still be fine. If we want more then we obviously have to save more.

As a general rule of thumb though (this is to appease all of you looking for that one answer by the way! ;)), I’ve stated before that a 30 year old should have $50,000 saved in their retirement. Therefore, a 35 year old should surely be able to get to $100,000 (with a $7,500/year contribution and growth in their investments).

If I were to give the generic one word answer, it would be, “$100,000”.

With that $100,000 paired with a yearly contribution of $10,000, that individual should be able to amass $3.4 million dollars by investing in low-cost index funds that follow the general market. And, with that $3.4 million, they should be able to live a $60,000/yr lifestyle (based on the charts I laid out above)!

Not terrible, but perhaps not what you were hoping for!

If you’re 35 and you have less than $100,000 in your retirement accounts, you’ve really got to get moving and get a little more serious about your retirement.

How about you? Do you have more than the recommended $100,000 in your retirement accounts? Why or why not?

Grow Rich Money Passive Income Retirement


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.


  1. One thing to realize though is that your 30’s are generally high-expense years–those kids are expensive hobbies. Everyone is different, and things don’t always go as planned, but if you are 35 with two kids and don’t plan to have any more, by 55 your child rearing costs should be done and you should have the 10 most high earning years of your worklife left. Your house should be paid for. In short, if things go the way they should, you should be able to make substantial retirement contributions during those last ten working years. I have the same job now that I had when I was 35 and I’m making about twice what I did then. Back then we paid about $800 per month on our house; now taxes and insurance are about $500 per month (and the young couple who just bought the house across the street are probably paying $1500 or more per month). This doesn’t mean don’t save now, it means don’t get too paranoid if your nest egg isn’t where you think it should be.

    • Thanks for the comment RAnn! The only problem with waiting is you don’t get the benefit of compounding interest, and that’s a BIG deal.

      I mean, look at the chart. If you have $200,000 saved now, that becomes $3M+ when you’re 65. If you wait till 55 to save up $200,000, that will only turn into $500,000 or so by age 65.

      Make sacrifices now so you don’t need to make 6 times the sacrifices later in life!

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