In Investing, Money

Perspective: How much people have saved for retirement by age (informal)

Completely informal poll, a cumulative effort of a poll by Alyssa of Mixed Up Money‘s stories, a fellow Canadian and advocate for all things money & equality, I created a chart and a table with our followers’ responses to her and my question showing what people responded to in her polls of what they have saved by age for retirement.

In the cases where it was marked “joint” or “family”, I split the amounts in half because to have a solid, starting base that is equal for all, we cannot put joint amounts together and consider it to be equal to someone who is single and (perhaps!) in despair that they have not saved that much (and really, how could they!? they were only one person!!)

Amount saved by age

Note: This is just their investments. This is not their net worth. Their net worth could be higher or lower, as it includes debt or properties. This is simply how much they have for retirement in their accounts.

OBSERVATIONS

  • Most people are clustered around the $300K and below portion from ages 25 – 40
  • There are outliers in every age group; the ones from $300K to higher, as you can see their dots clearly
  • Then there are the super outliers in each age group such as the ones hovering alone above the $500K to under the $1.5M mark

Data by age group

20s

Age Amount Saved
20 $-
22 $-
22 $300.00
23 $12,000.00
23 $60,000.00
23 $43,000.00
23 $600.00
23 $3,000.00
23 $56,000.00
23 $13,000.00
23 $16,000.00
24 $18,000.00
24 $10,000.00
24 $8,000.00
24 $70,000.00
24 $2,000.00
25 $18,450.00
25 $75,000.00
25 $6,000.00
25 $9,200.00
25 $7,000.00
25 $550.00
25 $125,000.00
25 $5,000.00
26 $-
26 $15,000.00
26 $65,000.00
26 $80,000.00
26 $6,000.00
26 $95,000.00
26 $35,000.00
26 $110,000.00
27 $150,000.00
27 $20,000.00
27 $28,000.00
27 $35,000.00
27 $410,000.00
27 $15,000.00
27 $37,000.00
27 $275,000.00
27 $100,000.00
27 $1,200.00
27 $100,000.00
27 $204.00
27 $42,000.00
27 $15,000.00
27 $55,000.00
28 $-
28 $500.00
28 $1,200.00
28 $25,000.00
28 $35,000.00
28 $35,000.00
28 $45,000.00
28 $88,000.00
28 $25,000.00
28 $449,000.00
28 $351,000.00
28 $5,000.00
28 $30,000.00
28 $13,000.00
28 $100,000.00
29 $50.00
29 $165,000.00
29 $30,000.00
29 $208,000.00
29 $40,000.00
29 $15,000.00
29 $97,000.00
29 $15,000.00
29 $1,000.00
29 $1,900.00
29 $75,000.00
29 $10,000.00
29 $84,000.00
29 $120,000.00
29 $37,000.00
29 $210,000.00
29 $18,000.00
29 $120,000.00
29 $100,000.00
29 $5,500.00

30s

30 $-
30 $15,500.00
30 $7,500.00
30 $6,500.00
30 $40,000.00
30 $22,000.00
30 $15,000.00
30 $330,000.00
30 $182,000.00
30 $35,000.00
30 $40,000.00
30 $200,000.00
30 $125,000.00
30 $45,000.00
30 $77,000.00
30 $40,000.00
30 $21,000.00
30 $42,000.00
30 $337,000.00
30 $30,000.00
30 $250,000.00
30 $155,000.00
30 $66,150.00
30 $263,000.00
31 $240,000.00
31 $50,000.00
31 $25,000.00
31 $70,000.00
31 $20,000.00
31 $169,000.00
31 $25,000.00
31 $175,000.00
31 $100,000.00
31 $51,000.00
31 $10,000.00
31 $142,000.00
31 $-
31 $60,000.00
31 $112,000.00
31 $87,000.00
31 $2,900.00
31 $158,000.00
32 $2,000.00
32 $-
32 $87,000.00
32 $13,000.00
32 $75,000.00
32 $275,000.00
32 $1,500.00
32 $39,000.00
32 $79,000.00
32 $280,000.00
32 $184,000.00
32 $44,000.00
32 $120,000.00
32 $215,000.00
32 $280,000.00
32 $200,000.00
32 $6,000.00
32 $26,000.00
32 $61,000.00
32 $185,000.00
32 $50,000.00
32 $86,000.00
32 $15,000.00
32 $80,000.00
32 $130,000.00
32 $113,000.00
32 $79,500.00
32 $35,000.00
32 $33,500.00
32 $196,000.00
32 $50,000.00
33 $5,000.00
33 $78,000.00
33 $6,000.00
33 $4,000.00
33 $48,000.00
33 $125,000.00
33 $195,000.00
33 $100,000.00
33 $55,000.00
33 $100,000.00
33 $119,000.00
33 $166.00
33 $154,000.00
33 $70,000.00
33 $102,000.00
33 $15,000.00
33 $100,000.00
34 $140,000.00
34 $130,000.00
34 $6,000.00
34 $38,000.00
34 $100,000.00
34 $400,000.00
34 $190,000.00
34 $100,000.00
34 $500,000.00
34 $-
34 $100,000.00
34 $250,000.00
34 $108,000.00
34 $120,000.00
34 $450,000.00
34 $130,000.00
34 $110,000.00
34 $25,000.00
35 $300,000.00
35 $230,000.00
35 $82,000.00
35 $35,000.00
35 $1,100,000.00
35 $337,000.00
35 $40,000.00
35 $225,000.00
35 $380,000.00
35 $51,000.00
35 $127,000.00
35 $77,000.00
36 $150.00
36 $-
36 $90,000.00
36 $160,000.00
36 $130,000.00
36 $142,000.00
36 $87,000.00
36 $31,000.00
36 $64,000.00
36 $456,000.00
36 $450,000.00
36 $105,000.00
36 $201,000.00
36 $50,000.00
36 $45,000.00
36 $51,000.00
36 $100,000.00
36 $92,000.00
36 $48,000.00
36 $72,000.00
36 $180,000.00
36 $285,000.00
36 $168,000.00
37 $260,000.00
37 $220,000.00
37 $473,000.00
37 $18,000.00
37 $15,000.00
37 $695,000.00
37 $350,000.00
37 $80,000.00
37 $50,000.00
37 $217,000.00
37 $250,000.00
37 $490,000.00
38 $450,000.00
38 $700,000.00
38 $47,000.00
38 $8,059.00
38 $30,000.00
38 $46,000.00
38 $180,000.00
38 $350,000.00
38 $1,250,000.00
39 $-
39 $-
39 $250,000.00
39 $-
39 $5,000.00
39 $450,000.00
39 $210,000.00

40s & older

Age Amount Saved
40 $40,000.00
40 $50,000.00
40 $60,000.00
40 $365,000.00
40 $441,000.00
40 $55,450.00
40 $195,000.00
40 $355,000.00
40 $83,000.00
41 $32,000.00
41 $15,000.00
41 $250,672.50
41 $58,000.00
41 $560,000.00
41 $330,000.00
41 $130,000.00
41 $77,000.00
42 $360,000.00
42 $201,000.00
42 $100,000.00
43 $283,000.00
43 $30,000.00
43 $11,000.00
45 $60,000.00
46 $35,000.00
46 $250,000.00
46 $300,000.00
46 $400,000.00
49 $175,000.00
49 $175,000.00
49 $175,000.00
49 $900,000.00
49 $1,300,000.00
50 $360,000.00
52 $8,000.00
53 $2,000,000.00

“Oh dear, I feel so left behind!”

You’re not.

It’s better to start at 25 than at 60. It’s better to start at 35 than at 70. It is always better to start NOW and take action NOW at WHATEVER AGE AND WHATEVER AMOUNT rather than wait until you’re actually nearing retirement to think about it. Compounding interest is really the key in all of this.

You are not behind. This is where YOU are starting. Just because one person at 25 has $75,000 saved (*eye pop*), it doesn’t mean you’re behind at 25. Lots of factors go into this, and your individual situation should be taken into account. You can only focus on your individual journey, not on someone else’s.

Remember: We are not normal

The sheer fact that you are even reading this post, tells me you have some knowledge and/or leaning towards money & financial literacy. Remember, however that this money community is made up of a small percentage of the general population.

WE ARE NOT NORMAL. We are not the people who are likely your typical friend/neighbour/colleague/family member. Truly, we are money nerds and this is our hobby to basically track our money, save it, invest it, and record all of it like a bunch of MONEY NERDS.

So we are NOT NORMAL in this mindset. NO ONE thinks about money the way we do, talking about it, and discussing it openly because it’s such a taboo subject for the general population.

Go ahead, ask someone how much they make or have in the bank or invested, and see how they respond (if they respond with exact numbers down to the penny, you have found your people. LOL)

Most of the people you know, do not talk about money. They do not talk about their money. They haven’t the slightest clue even though they pretend they do (*cough* male colleagues *cough*), and they may sound knowledgeable because they’re talking about things like buying cryptocurrency and stonks/meme stocks like $AMC or $GME), but those are highly risky, highly NOT RECOMMENDED, stable nor sound investing strategies.

So please. If you see someone at 23 with $500K, they are outliers. Please do not compare what you are accomplishing to what they have done. You don’t know their history, their environment, the help they’ve gotten (just look at this little lucky Little Bun with a money nerd as his mother), but you are starting with a completely different story that is uniquely yours.

What affects your money:

Things that affect savings and net worth are, broadly, the following….

Your start, upbringing, and environment

Growing up starving for instance, is not a recipe for success for many children. You cannot concentrate when you are starving in school (I know this from my mother’s accounts of what it was like to feel like that as a child). You simply cannot concentrate. You are not stupid, you’re hungry. The basics have not been taken care of, and that is a rough start.

For anyone who scoffs at this, you’re heartless. I said it, fight me. Just imagine not eating for days on end, and then try to concentrate or learn anything. As an adult, when I am hungry, I get really cranky, I am grumpy, I am tired, and I don’t want to do anything.. BUT EAT.

Maybe you don’t even have electricity in your home or it is cut off again. Or you come from an abusive household (physical, substance abuse, alcohol, etc). There are so many varying circumstances of stress that are placed on very young, tiny shoulders at an early age, that if you grew up with a wonderful, happy, stable childhood (even if you were poor, but you were fed, clothed and warm), you had a decent life compared to many others who would have done anything for that. It is difficult to learn in such an environment, and then even more of a struggle to catch up when you are so far behind from the beginning, and then it just compounds as you get older.

It is a difficult climb uphill to get out of something you had no control over initially. Yes, some of this gap CAN disappear with focused teacher help, training, parental guidance, etc, but…. there is only so much as a child, that you can do if you are in a rough situation at home and no one else can help you (or can only help you to a certain point).

All of this affects you, and while I acknowledge it, I also want to say it is not really an excuse to not do anything about it, and to blame your situation on something you had no control over. At some point or another, you need to be able to stand up and say: Enough is enough. Let’s break the cycle and take responsibility for what I can control, and move forward. There is some personal responsibility to be taken, but of course, privileges and opportunities (or lack thereof) have also to be acknowledged.

Learning about money

I started at 23. Some started at 33. Others at 40. Little Bun started the day he was born. LOL… We can all agree that we have had different knowledge starts or “ah hah!” moments, at various points in our lives. Some of us have had parents who started them off very young (me with Little Bun), and others have had parents who taught them nothing (me with my parents), and everything in between, including parents who didn’t really know what they were doing and passed on not-so-great info they believed in, like buying new cars using debt to be a good thing.

Having someone to lean on

I am talking about people who are coupled up, and not single. It is much easier to afford things when you’re just paying half for rent or mortgage, and sharing the financial and household load. It’s just cheaper. Imagine if I was paying all of the condo fees and taxes on my own? I wouldn’t be saving as much as I can.

Having any financial assistance

This comes in so many forms, from being able to move back home with your parents, ask them for money, to having them pay for everything plus give you extra money and/or get you started in your investing accounts.

I didn’t have any of this, except being able to move back in with my parents (a pure privilege). I couldn’t ask them for money (they had none, and even when I went for a student loan they turned me down because my mother’s credit rating was atrocious). I moved out when I was 19, and paid my own way ever since from a mix of student loan debt and working like a mofo during school.

And even so. All of this is also a privilege in a sense because I was able to do all of this for myself and myself alone, whereas someone else in my situation may have had to pay for their siblings or their disabled parents (I have a friend who pays for her whole family, starting from day one of her career).

Making lots of money

I am not saying it is the ONLY way you can get rich, but it certainly helps, and it doesn’t feel quite as much as a hardship when you have so much buffer. It is SO MUCH EASIER to sock away money when you make bank. This is a fact, and not admitting to it or acknowledging it doesn’t make it any less true.

There’s no point in denying it, but it is not a reason why you shouldn’t bother with investing at all. It’s your money and your life after all. Even if other people make more money than you do, jealousy is inevitable (who wouldn’t be?), but remember that it is THEIR money, not yours. You need to secure your own financial future, and looking at what someone else has, doesn’t really help you, does it?

Feel those pangs of jealousy, anger, resentment, even at yourself (I sure did), at how late you got started or how little you’ve done thus far, and then move on.

Today is Day One. In a month, in a year, you will look back and think: Holy crap look at the progress! … It all takes time, and I can tell you for certain that I looked back after 10 years and couldn’t believe the progress I had made. But if I hadn’t started on Day One and thought it was all over, I wouldn’t have made any progress.

Read:

Having safety nets

In family, in friends. if you right now, can call any 5 people you can think of to ask for $100, even $50, you’re very lucky. Many people don’t have this. Even if their families loved them, they do not have the money to help them even if they wanted to. Many families also cannot just let you move back home and pay for you while they struggle. It’s such a rare and wonderful gift to have family and parents who can pay for you and help you unconditionally.

Or even the country you live in matters. Canada has excellent safety nets for those who fall between the cracks and need help. We have universal healthcare which takes the mental burden of paying for these procedures (and going into debt for it), off our minds, and though we ALL pay into it and we ALL may not use it, I am happy to do so to help… well, my community of Canadians around me. If we all do well, that’s much better than having a societal mindset of of Us versus Them.

Thoughts?

Anyone who feels comfortable to share what they have saved by age, or even to brag about it I’d love to hear it in the comments below. I think it’s a FANTASTIC thing to share where we are at, and to be proud of what you have accomplished.

ANY AMOUNT COUNTS. Even $1. It is a start towards something new and a change that will just collect and grow as you get more and more banked.

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