Save. Spend. Splurge.

How much should you have saved for retirement so far?

I’ve always wondered what the benchmarks were for saving, net worth and retirement numbers by age.

It can be so hard to judge all of that, seeing as our income varies over our lifetime, and we don’t know how long we’ll live or how much we will really need.

According to Fidelity, here are some numbers they tried to pony up for us:

By age 35, your goal is to save an amount equal to your annual pay.

By 45, you will want to have saved about three times your salary, rising to five times your salary by 55.

Typical wage earners should aim to save at least eight times their final annual pay to be sure they can afford basic living expenses in retirement.


Naturally, this is assuming that you will eventually get promotions and climb that proverbial ladder to earn $75,000 by the time you’re 55 or so.

Let’s say you get a 3% raise per year as an average, and you started working at 24 for about $30,000 a year.

Here are your numbers:

35: Saved $41,527 as your net worth (1 time)

45: Saved $167,426.51 as your net worth (3 times)

55: Saved $375,012.05 as your net worth (5 times)

65: Saved $806,375.74 as your net worth (8 times)

These numbers are not terribly realistic, as not many people at 65 will reach $100,000 as their annual income, but they’re a start for people to see where they’re at.

Here’s the simple chart I made to calculate the numbers above for your geeky perusal:

So if I made a chart for myself, it’d look like this:

  • 35: Saved $221,377
  • 45: Saved $750,000
  • 55: Saved $1,250,000
  • 65: Saved $2,000,000

(Adjusting for:

1) I’d DEFINITELY max out at around $250,000 a year for an income, and

2) my average income has actually been around $75,000, accounting for the fact that I’ve been working 2 out of the 5 years.)


I’m on track then.

I am also aiming to save $1,000,000.

I don’t think I need $2M, and it’d be nice to have, but I’m not going to kill myself for it.

What about you?

What do you want to have saved by the time you retire?

Are you as freakily obsessed about having enough money at retirement as I am?


  • Christian

    I am 34 and have saved $735,000 to date. I never earned better than 3% on my savings (I m currently earning 1.22% on a two year CD. In fact, the extent of my “investing” has always been no risk CDs. I have stayed out of the market (good or bad to do so, you can be the judge). I simply save as much of my money as I possibly can, sometimes up to 80% of my take home salary but never less than 75%. I earn 90k per year before taxes. I want to retire as soon as possible. That is my motivation. I hate getting up in the morning knowing I am not free to do as I please. As such, I am saving this intensely so that I can change that as soon as possible. I will have a Million Dollars saved by age 37 (God willing). Yes, I am single, yes, I have no kids. It is all quite easy for a person in my position, but I do know many other single people my age (with similar or higher salaries) that cannot seem to save a dime. It is both sad and unfathomable

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I hear you. It all depends on priorities however. You are in the case I would call extreme (a good extreme though) whereas perhaps people without kids and are willing to retire later would be OK with only having $200K saved between them and so on. It is a balance that should work for you and no one else!! 🙂 great job on the savings by the way!!

  • Dustin Small

    Interesting way of looking at retirement goals. It makes sense – my own personal goal is to have about 10 times my annual salary by the time I retire.

  • Jacq

    The calculator works out about right for me. BUT I started late (not something I’d recommend that most people do.) So I’m playing catch-up and saving 70% of net and 50% of gross – this year and up to April 2013 I guess.

    M&M, that’s what will get you interested in investing – when you see that the decisions you make in that arena make more of an impact to your bottom line than your hourly negotiated rate. That’s what did it for me anyway. You have to have enough saved though where the differential starts becoming substantial. Before then, it’s easy to focus on your savings rate and think that matters more.

  • Simply Rich Life

    The trouble with trying to set standards is that I can’t understand why you would want to aim that low, while others won’t get why you would go that far!

    Counting only our investments (which seems to match the definition of what you have saved) we have 50% of our current combined income as reported on personal taxes. We’ll add nearly that much again next year and we should be at least 7 years early on the first goal (taking our average age).

    Our plan is based on the idea that having a high savings rate early on makes everything else easy. It doesn’t matter what your rate of return is if you don’t have much to work with. Tripling your savings rate will triple your portfolio value and income later on. I plan for a fairly low rate of return and if it ends up being higher that’s another bonus. Since we’ll have a lot of time for the investments to grow that could end up being a huge bonus.

    It’s hard to find something that’s directly comparable but I would say we’re meeting all applicable standards since we’ll be doing better than expected if our investments continue to do as well as they have in the past, and if we have to work twice as long to earn our freedom there is plenty of room for that. In fact we’ll probably do it anyways and use it as extra spending money.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I am of the former mindset — I find the targets too low, but they’re a good way to gauge your current level and how far you need to beat it by. 😉
      I just think to myself: Save as much as you can. I mean, enjoy yourself…. but don’t go crazy.

      My savings rate over the past couple of years has been pretty good. Net saved income was great in 2010, then 2 years of rocky “are we leaving or staying?” indecisiveness killed my saving potential, and now I am hoping to replicate that in 2013.

      That’s not to say I didn’t save ANYTHING in 2011 or 2012, but I didn’t save as much as I could have (maybe around $45,000, having wasted a lot of money shifting countries.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Okay, you went and made me play around a lot in excel. To achieve the final goal, with a 5% return, you need to save around 13% of your income every year. If you have an employer match, that shouldn’t be too, too hard. If you want to ramp up instead, starting around 7.5%, and upping each decade, you end up having to contribute a whopping 16% of your income.

  • tomatoketchup

    After playing around with online retirement calculators, I’ve found that market performance (which we have no control of) has a much more profound effect than savings.

    Let’s say you have $100,000 sitting in a stock index fund and it grows at 5% for the next 35 years. You’d end up with $551,601 at the end of that time period. If the market does slightly better and your stock fund grows two percentage points higher at 7%, now you have $1,067,658; nearly double the amount of money over the same exact period. In order to get a million dollar return with the lower 5% rate, you’d have to double the amount of cash you start off with in the beginning.

    So I’m hoping that our generation (I’m in my early 30’s) gets lucky and the market does reasonably well over the next several decades, as that will impact the final return proportionally more than boosting one’s savings rate by a few percentage points. Having said that, we have no control over the market, but we can control how much we save and invest, and money invested as a young adult is much more valuable due to the magic of compounding interest.

    • Mochi & Macarons


      I’m seeing that in my savings, and it’s the reason why last month I went up slightly at around $1300 in my net worth without doing much. I earned about $700, and spend more than that, yet it was my investments that made the difference.

  • PK

    Freakily obsessed? Absolutely – as must be everyone who started a blog about this stuff, haha. When I look at the Fido numbers they actually seem a bit low to me, especially for folks on the younger part of the scale, where promised benefits might not be headed their way (in whatever country you hail from!).

  • Cassie

    I honestly thought I was pooched having taken $15k out to buy my place 3 years ago. Assuming I keep doing what I’m doing, receive a 3% raise every year, and my retirement savings increase by 5% a year, I’ll actually beat the benchmark for 35 😀 Thanks for the excuse to crunch numbers! 😉

  • Bridget

    I’m at $15,000 for retirement now at age 27, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect that to be 1x my annual salary at 35 (that’s still 8 years from now and I’ll be contributing more to retirement starting in 2013 onward…) I don’t think a lot about retirement because I like to accumulate money for money’s sake so I feel like as long as I keep doing that I’ll always be ok.

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I should mention that this formula doesn’t take into account student loans by assigning a number but as at 35 it says 1x your salary, it takes it into account that way.

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