If you’re here, you’re obviously asking yourself the question, “How much should I have in retirement at 35 years old?“. You’re thinking about whether you’re behind, on track, or ahead of others your age.
And for most things in life, comparison is an ugly game, but it can be helpful when it comes to retirement benchmarks.
This post is written by our staff writer, Lindsey Smith.
According to the Fidelity Investments Retirement chart, you should have twice your annual income saved by age 35.
For example, if your salary at age 35 is $58,000 per year, about the median for the 35-44 age group, you should have saved $116,000.
This is just a fancy way of illustrating that your savings should be just over $100,000.
What happens if you’re behind with your retirement at age 35?
If you’re not up to that number yet, don’t worry, you still have plenty of time to catch up. Chances are you still have 25-30 years left until retirement. It’s about now that you should bring planning for retirement to the forefront of your mind though, so you’re not missing out on compound interest.
How Much Does The Average 35 Year Old Have in Savings?
As we just stated, a good benchmark for your mid-thirties is to have double your annual salary saved, or just over $100,000.
In the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances, the most recent year data was collected, they found the median balance for retirement accounts in the 35-44 age group is $60,000 (and not the $100k+ number we’re recommending…which means the majority of people are behind!).
Often people in this age group are working on…
- building their wealth,
- paying their mortgage, and
- raising a family.
But it is the age that people start seriously planning and saving for their retirement. So like I said, you’re definitely not alone. Most people have little more than half the amount they “should” have saved.
Behind in Retirement at Age 35? Here are Some Catch-Up Strategies
Deciding to take intentional steps and create strategies to build your retirement savings now is a great idea. “Catching up” to where you want to be by this age will take a little more focus than you’ve maybe had in the past, but here are some proven ways to add more to your retirement fund at age 35.
1) Take Care of Debt
Maybe you’ve been working really hard at your student loans or credit card debt, and maybe you haven’t. If you’re part of the latter group, now is the time to get rid of them, clear the slate and make room for that monthly money to head to your retirement.
Begin with credit cards if you have them, as they tend to have the lowest balance and the highest interest rates, followed by private student loans.
Because of the pandemic, all federal student loans are in forbearance until at least the end of September.
There are several options you could consider when it comes to the money you would have been paying on those student loans.
- Pay off any debts that are not your mortgage – as above, credit cards or private student loans are a good option.
- If you don’t have six months worth of income saved up in your emergency fund you could allocate some money to that.
- Or if all of that is in top shape, you could continue to pay on your federal loan, since 100% of payments go directly to paying down the principal right now.
Speaking of emergency funds, when you own a home or are raising a family, you want about six months worth of expenses in yours.
How does this help you save more for retirement at 35 years old?
It saves you from taking on more debt in an emergency, and allows you to keep putting money away rather than repaying interest on a credit card or loan.
3) Never Quit Your Monthly Payments
As you begin to pay down your debts, continue to allocate the same amount to other debts.
For a rough example…
- Let’s say you were paying $50 per month on a credit card and $100 per month on a loan.
- Once you pay off the $50 per month credit card, add that $50 per month to the loan.
- Now you’ll be paying $150 per month on the loan, and it’s paid that much faster.
When the debts are completely paid off, continue “paying” that $150 per month that you already have allocated into your retirement fund.
Keep your money working for you. You still have a good 30 years to earn some compound interest if you get focused and put your money to work.
As with everything so far, this is about buckling down and being smart. At 35 years old, it’s time to push the gas with your savings and your retirement investing.
While you should always, ALWAYS be contributing enough to get the full 401(k) match from your company, you’ll likely need to save a higher amount than that if you’re 35 and you don’t have anything saved yet. Saving around 20% of your pre-tax income is a good goal to set for this.
Once you’ve hit the full match amount from your employer, your next best bet is to invest the maximum amount into an individual retirement account like a Roth IRA.
If you still have money leftover after maxing that out, you can add more to your 401(k).
If you’re self-employed, you can look at retirement plans that are specifically geared to your situation. No matter which form your employment comes, this is the time to max out what’s available to you.
Do You Have Enough in Retirement at Age 35? In Summary…
Sometimes in your thirties, you see everyone around you doing more and getting more. Living in a way you can afford can feel like you’re doing something wrong. But it also gives you a lifetime of freedom, and helps you build your wealth.
Ensuring you’ve taken care of your debt, saved enough to keep you out of it, and then aggressively saving for retirement will make sure you’re financially taken care of throughout your entire life.
So how much should you have in retirement at age 35?
Double your income….which is likely $100k or more.
If you’re not there, apply the ideas above. Focus in and do all you can. You’ll never regret creating a larger retirement fund!!
How are you doing with your retirement at age 35? Are you ahead or behind?
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.