While you might not be a fan of looking at your overall financial health, understanding the average net worth and how to calculate your own are quite important.
After all, if you have financial goals or retirement plans in mind, understanding where you currently stand and how to improve your net worth will be valuable.
But don’t worry, understanding net worth and how to improve it are not difficult to understand. However, it can take some hard work and patience to achieve what you want.
And remember, do not compare yourself to anyone or even these averages.
Your situation and personal living choices will be unique to you, so try not to feel overwhelmed or discouraged!
Table of Contents
What is Net Worth?
Your net worth is the total value of everything you currently own (your assets) minus everything you owe still or are currently in the process of paying off (these are called liabilities).
Knowing what your net worth is will give you a pretty good overview of how you are doing financially.
According to a MarketWatch article I came across, in the U.S., the overall average American net worth is $690,000+.
And between 2013 and 2016, the average American’s net worth grew by 26%, according to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances.
As mentioned above, your net worth is composed of your assets and liabilities.
Your assets are mostly things you own, including cash.
This could be:
- The total value of your checking and savings accounts
- Your current value of your investment accounts, such as stocks and bonds, real estate crowdfunding
- The equity value of your primary home or any rental properties
- The market value of your retirement accounts, such as 401ks and Roth IRAs
- Any other valuables such as jewelry, art, or antiques
Your liabilities are things you owe to someone else or to a separate entity.
That could be:
- Your mortgage
- Car loans
- Credit card debt
- Student loans
- Medical debt
- Personal loans
What’s the net worth formula? It’s actually quite easy to calculate.
All you have to do is add up all your assets and then subtract all your liabilities. If you’ve got a lot of debt, don’t be surprised if your number is negative.
As you can imagine, the goal is to try to get the number as positive and as high as possible. We’ll be covering some ways to do that in a section below.
Average Net Worth In Your 20s
What should your net worth be in your 20s? Your 20s are usually a time when you’ve just graduated from college, trade school, and are starting your career.
This means your net worth is most likely negative, and your salary isn’t so high (so you won’t be able to save as much money).
This is a time when you want to be focusing on paying off your student and consumer debt as quickly as possible.
The sooner you pay it off, the less interest you’ll pay and therefore, less of your hard earned money will be sent off to large institutions and companies.
Although retirement may seem very far away, saving some money is still important for the future. With compound interest working in your favor, every dollar you set aside will grow your net worth every year.
You’ll also want to be setting aside money for emergencies, a down payment or other costs down the road.
According to various numbers and studies, the average net worth range of Americans in their twenties is $56,000+.
Don’t freak out! Most people in their 20s are significantly under that or will have a negative net worth.
But, higher earners who may be debt free can skew the average numbers. So don’t worry if your net worth is nowhere near this in your 20s!
Average Net Worth In Your 30s
Your 30s are the years that you can work to set yourself up for real wealth and success. Most financial gurus recommend having half of your annual salary saved up by the age of 30.
However, people in their 30s often find themselves in different financial situations. Some may be paying off their debt still, some will be married with children, and others will be buying their first house.
This is why your 30s are a time to set a dedicated budget and start getting real about your finances. You’ll want to have an emergency fund of at least six months of expenses in case things go wrong.
You’ll also want to consider contributing more to your retirement accounts such as your 401k or 403b, and getting your company match. At this point, you also want to get rid of any student loan debt you have remaining.
In general, your 30s are a good time to get serious about money management and further boost your own financial education. Maybe read a couple of finance books, follow some personal finance blogs (like this one!) and learn about index investing. Your future self will thank you!
According to various numbers and studies, the average net worth of people in their 30s is $170,000+.
Again, there is a full 10 years that can make huge leaps in net worth, so you may be below the average still. Don’t sweat it!
Average Net Worth In Your 40s
Your 40s are a time to keep growing your net worth, with your eye open to new opportunities. Most advisors or financial experts you’ll find, recommend having a net worth of two times your annual salary, at this point.
So if your salary is $100,000 in your 30s, you’ll want a net worth of $200,000 when you’re in your 40s.
Your 40s are a good time to start looking for other ways to increase your net worth. This may be an opportunity to look into real estate, grow your retirement savings or take your career to the next level by setting up a side business.
Your 40s are when you’re most likely to be at your peak in your career in terms of experience and flexibility. For some this may mean getting an even larger promotion and for others this may be an encouragement to go out on their own.
According to various numbers and studies, the average net worth of people in their 40s is $450,000+.
Average Net Worth In Your 50s
Your net worth in your 50s will mostly be based on large investments such as retirement accounts and real estate.
Here, you’ll generally find experts and financial advisors recommend calculating a net worth that is four times your annual salary. So if you’re making $100,000 per year, you’ll want your net worth to be at $400,000+.
You’ll want to be taking a serious approach to building your net worth: do your best to maximize your 401k, contribute to an IRA and look for other opportunities for tax-free growth.
But, you should also start to consider protecting your assets further. Consider some safe investments to help protect against market volatility.
According to various numbers and studies, the average net worth of Americans in their 50s will be around is $950,000+.
Average Net Worth In Your 60s
Your 60s is usually the last period of time before retirement (although many people keep working past 65! Hopefully, that’s not me!).
At this point, you’ll want your net worth to be six times your annual salary. So if you’re earning $100,000, you’ll want your net worth to be around $600,000. The total amount you have will be a good indicator of how much you’ll be retiring with.
In order to reach your retirement goals, this may be a good moment to consider lowering your cost of living and moving even more investments into safer assets, such as bonds.
If you live in a large house, for example, you might want to consider downsizing and decluttering your stuff too. You may also want to look into buying disability insurance depending on your health situation.
Many people continue working after the age of 65. That doesn’t necessarily mean nine to five jobs; many people working on the side or even some under the table jobs to bring in some extra money.
If you want to keep working, look for fun hobbies that make money or passions that you’d like to continue doing.
According to various numbers and studies, the average net worth of Americans in their 60s is $1,100,000+.
Average American Net Worth at Retirement
Once you are ready to fully retire, you’ll want to be aiming for a net worth ten times your final salary. So if you finish with a salary of $120,000 — your net worth should be $1,200,000.
This will be a time when you’re making important decisions about your retirement, such as moving to a smaller and cheaper home and moving your assets into safer investments.
You’ll also be able to start receiving Social Security. Keep in mind that the longer you delay it, the more you’ll receive in monthly income.
Once you reach your retirement number, you can use the 4% rule to safely withdraw your savings every year. Withdrawing 4% every year means your investments will still be able to grow regularly every year (**read more about the 4% rule)
The average net worth of Americans between 65 and 74 is $1,000,000+.
How You Can Improve Your Net Worth
Depending on your age group and situation, the goals you’ll be aiming for will vary. If you feel you’re behind your age group, don’t get too worried: there are plenty of ways to increase your net worth and improve your own individual situation.
Every individual situation varies: those with children will have larger expenses, and those who inherit money reach their goals sooner. No matter what situation you find yourself in, keep tracking your net worth and setting yourself adequate goals. i
Here are some basic things you can start doing to improve your net worth:
Every time you spend less than you earn, you’re able to save money and contribute to your net worth.
The less you spend, the more money you can contribute to your savings and retirement accounts. With compound interest, your returns will grow exponentially.
Start by doing a budget review and seeing what expenses you could cut back on. Although cutting back on restaurants may not seem like a huge difference, the more areas you can cutback the better.
Consider cutting out larger expenses too, such as your transportation, food costs, and even living that could put decent chunks of cash back into your pockets every year.
Pay off your mortgage:
One of the largest liabilities Americans will hold during their lifetime is their mortgage. But once you pay off your mortgage, that liability turns into a potentially large asset.
Start paying off your mortgage by making payments every second week, instead of every month. Talk with your lender to see how much of your balance you can pay off earlier.
Max out your contributions:
Once you’re enrolled in your employer’s 401k make sure to max out your contributions, even when you’re just starting out with your career.
Employer contributions are essentially free money from your company due to the tax-free return. By investing early on, compound interest and no tax means you’ll be increasing your net worth at a faster rate.
Once you’ve maxed out your contributions, consider taking your savings one step further. If your money is just sitting in a regular bank account, your savings will barely beat inflation.
Naturally, you should keep an emergency fund and consider a high-yield savings account.
If you start investing in index funds via the stock market, your money will have greater returns over time (an average of 7% if you’re investing for more than 20 years). Even if it’s just $50 every month, compound interest will work its magic and you’ll be growing your money exponentially.
You can also look at additional investment avenues out there beyond the stock market. Things like:
- Real Estate Crowdfunding, like with Fundrise or DiversyFund
- Establish well-known art, like with Masterworks
- Personal loans or Peer-to-Peer lending, like with LendingClub
- Investing in businesses or websites
Multiple income streams:
While you might be working a 9-5 already or climbing the corporate ladder, the best way to start improving your net worth is having multiple streams of income.
Your main job and investments will certainly count, but how else can you bring money in?
Maybe it’s a passive side hustle, working a second job, rental income, or doing some general freelancing on the side. The more income streams, the quicker you can pay down debt, save money, and invest more.
There has been a lot of research done in the past, and it was found that millionaires typically have up to seven streams of income!
What is the net worth needed to be considered wealthy?
Everyone has a different view as to what net worth is considered to be wealthy. Many studies have been done around this as well and found that Americans think over $2 million in net worth places you in the wealthy category. However, being wealthy depends on your cost of living, as you can live large on much less by keeping expenses low.
There you have some of the net worth numbers according to age ranges in the United States.
These numbers are not exact and will fluctuate, but they are accurate to the various ranges that different financial studies have been done.
Hope this helps you see where you stack up and that the above tips can help you increase your own net worth.