Many people dream of the day when they will longer be part of the daily grind. If age were the only requirement, I think it is safe to say most of us would retire as soon as possible. But how much money should you have saved for retirement before you hang up your work boots? This answer will differ from person to person. The first step is making an honest assessment of your financial situation versus the average net worth of retirees. An easy way to achieve this is by figuring out your net worth and comparing with others in the same age group here. These figures can provide a clearer picture to help you plan for your future.
What is Net Worth?
If you feel you are ready to join the ranks of retirees, you should have a keen sense of your net worth. It is one of the strongest indicators of your financial status and an important tool to help you reach your retirement goals. You can calculate your personal net worth with some basic math. First, you need to add up the total value of all your assets and your liabilities. Then, subtract your liabilities from your assets to determine your personal net worth.
You should consider all assets, including bank accounts, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, real estate holdings, retirement savings, and partnerships in your tallies. All your debts, loans, and mortgages would fall on the other side of the ledger. This number will either be positive or negative, depending on the amount of debt you have accrued.
The Average American’s Net Worth at Retirement
The three major contributing factors to your net worth are home equity, retirement accounts, and cash savings. According to the most recent figures compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau in 2015, the national median for homeowners over the age of 65 was $201,500. Bear in mind that this figure is limited to households and may not take into account for the homeless or other members of the household who would not qualify as retirees.
Data collected from the Survey of Consumer Finances indicates that the total value of retirees’ assets has nearly doubled in the last 20 years and accounts for a large portion of a retiree’s net worth. However, it also means that they carry more debt due to mortgages. The median net worth of retirees when home equity is excluded drops to $59,780. The majority of the remaining funds are tied to retirement accounts while cash savings only account for a small fraction of a person’s overall net worth.
How Much Should I be Saving?
Most financial planners agree that a good rule of thumb for retirement is to save at least ten times your annual income. This figure may vary based on your lifestyle and spending habits, so it’s wise to sit down with a professional to discuss your options and decide what is best for your circumstances.
For those who are struggling to make ends meet, pay off student loans, and refinance home mortgages, contributing to your retirement funds may seem like a low priority. However, in a society where the future of social security is uncertain and employers offer less comprehensive pension plans, one thing is perfectly clear; it’s never too soon to begin thinking about retirement.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.