It’s 2021 and we’re still struggling through the pandemic, which has brought eye-popping ups and downs in the stock market. It seems that everyone’s obsessed with the ever-growing net worth of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Bill Gates these days. So if you were bored and googled ‘Jeff Bezos Net Worth’ over the last year, you may have come across a staggering number like $200 Billion dollars! Ever wonder where you sit on the average net worth by age spectrum?
So What is Net Worth?
Simply put, Net Worth = Assets – Liabilities
This would mean that Jeff Bezos has approximately $200B worth of assets (including cash, investments, equity in property, value of vehicles, jewellery, etc.) after subtracting all the loans & bills that he owes.
Average Net Worth by Age
Unlike Jeff Bezos, being worth more than some small countries is not the reality for most of us. However, to plan your financial future and to set realistic goals, it can be a good idea to understand the average net worth of people in your age group.
So let’s dive in!
Average Net Worth in your 20s
If you’re a student or just starting out in your career, don’t be alarmed if you end up with a negative net worth when you do the math above. After all, it’s pretty typical to have student loans, low paying jobs and very little assets at this age. In fact, our net worth was negative well into our late 20s as a result of the debt accumulated from high tuition and living costs during our Master’s program.
Use your 20s to start building your net worth. It’s important to understand how to build credit, how to start budgeting and how to pay off debt before worrying about net worth. We started in our 20s and still managed to build a joint net worth of $2M in just under a decade. The earlier you start saving and investing, the higher your net worth in later years.
This is also a good time to mention that if you’re debating getting a college degree, the average net worth of Americans with a degree is $1.5 Million. The median is $300,000. The equivalent median with a high school diploma is only $74,000.
Average Net Worth by Age 35
As per the American Federal Reserve, the average net worth by age 35 is $76,300. If that seems high, it’s because the ‘average’ gets skewed due to ultra-high net worth individuals. To take away this bias, let’s look at the median net worth instead which is almost $14,000. That means 50% of people are above and 50% of people are below this number. This gives you a better idea of where you sit on the scale.
A rule of thumb says to have at least half your yearly income in assets by the time you’re in your 30s. For example, if you’re making $70K a year, plan to have at least $35,000 in assets (stocks, equity in a home, cash) after subtracting your debts & other liabilities.
In our late 20s, we consciously decided to grow our net worth and put a plan together to save as much as 70% of our income and started investing it in a balanced portfolio of assets.
If you are currently in your 20s or early 30s, take the above as a guideline but do not put undue pressure on yourself. The earlier you start saving & investing, the earlier you can attain your goals. Remember to have fun along the way though. We budgeted for travel and eating out as much as we paid attention to savings.
Average Net Worth by Age 55
The average net worth by age 55 is $833,000 and the median is $169,000.
If you are in your 40s and have not started taking concrete steps to increase your net worth, now is the time to start. Aim to grow your net worth to 5 times your annual salary.
You may be married and have a dual-income working for you or you may be getting promoted at work – use the extra income that comes with your 40s to grow your net worth & plan for your future.
Average Net Worth by Age 65
The average net worth by age 65 goes up to $1.18 Million, while the median sits at $212,000.
If you want to retire at this age, ideally there is enough of a cushion to sustain your expenses for the rest of your life. If you started investing in your 20s, you would’ve had 40+ years of compound interest accumulating wealth for you. Combined with prudent tax planning and a balanced approach to investing, you can realistically aim to have 6 to 10 times your annual salary as your net worth at age 65.
Here’s the detailed chart for all age brackets:
|Age Bracket||Median Net Worth by Age||Average Net Worth by Age|
|Less than 35||$13,900||$76,300|
|35 – 44||$91,300||$436,000|
|45 – 54||$168,600||$833,000|
|55 – 64||$212,500||$1,175,900|
|65 – 74||$266,400||$1,217,700|
Source: American Federal Reserve
Your Average Net Worth Isn’t Everything
It is important to remember that average net worth by a certain age is not the only measure of prosperity. In your younger years, it is perfectly reasonable to have a low or even negative net worth. As you grow older, your savings and investments will drive your average net worth higher.
At any age, if you are not yet close to the median net worth by age above, get motivated to formulate a financial plan and work toward your goals.
Ways to Build Wealth
Wealth can be attained in several ways – saving and paying off debt, investing in stocks (check out our recommended books on stock trading and day trading before you invest in the market), investing in real estate and maximizing your Roth IRA & 401K contributions can all accelerate your path to financial freedom.
In our mid 20s, our combined net worth was NEGATIVE $200,000. We owed hundreds of thousands in student loans, car loans and lines of credit. From there, we have been able to grow our net worth to $2M in just under a decade. If we can do it, you can as well!