How Much Money Does the Average American Have in Savings?

FT Contributor  | 

You may wonder how much the average American has in savings if you’re worried about your own budget and financial progress. If you’re like most, you want to make sure you have enough in savings to reach your financial goals while still living comfortably.

Comparing your savings to the “average American” may help you to determine whether you’re on the right track or need to start saving more aggressively. However, it’s tough to calculate how much the average American has in savings because it can be hard to single out an average American.

When addressing the finances of average Americans, it can be more beneficial to break down these median calculations into age groups. Americans have different experiences, average incomes, expenses, and financial goals, depending on where they are in life. By dividing Americans into age groups and analyzing their savings, you can have a better understanding of how much the average American saves.

Baby Boomers

Baby boomers are those who were born between 1944 and 1964. As an older generation, these Americans are generally nearing retirement age or already in their retirement years. With so many years behind them, this generation generally has the most in their savings accounts and retirement funds. At these ages, they’ve probably only just begun to tap into these retirement funds and spend the savings they worked so hard to accumulate over the years.

According to CNBC, couples that have children and are in the 55 to 64 age group have an average of $17,587 tucked away in savings. Single Americans that have no children and are in the 55 to 64 age group have a median savings account balance of $6,786.

Most people start saving money in their 20s, so baby boomers have usually been saving this money for over 30 years. However, their savings accounts may ebb and flow, depending on expenses and what they’ve already spent in retirement.

Generation X

If you’re wondering how much money the average American has in savings, you may benefit from analyzing the average savings accounts of Generation X. This age group follows the baby boomers and includes those who were born between 1965 and 1979.

In this age bracket, most Generation Xers are still currently working but should be on a path to retirement shortly. They may be contributing to their savings account to pay for:

  • Children’s college funds.
  • Retirement.
  • Family vacations.
  • Home repairs.

Most Americans in Generation X are still responsible for household expenses and have yet to retire, so they may be saving up so they can have a substantial emergency fund. The average Generation Xer between the ages of 45 and 54 who is single with no children has about $5,763 in his or her savings account. Couples that have children and are in the same age bracket have an average of $15,589 in their savings accounts.

Millennials

Millennials are also commonly referred to as “Generation Y” because they’re the age group that immediately follows Generation X. While the exact age ranges that fall into the “millennial” category are controversial, most sources conclude that Generation Y includes Americans born between 1980 and 1994. At this younger age, millennials have pressure to save up for life experiences and short-term financial goals, as well as retirement and long-term plans.

There are several millennial debt trends on the rise, including using credit cards for large expenses. Credit card debt can make it hard for millennials to increase their savings account balances or meet other financial goals, especially if they’re only paying the minimum balances due for these credit cards. However, responsible millennials use credit cards for basic necessities and pay off their balances every month. The average single American that has no children and is between the ages of 35 and 44 has $3,693 in savings, while couples with children have an average of $10,399 in savings.

Most millennials have ambitious financial goals, which can vary depending on where they are in life and how they want to plan for the future. Long-term and short-term financial goals may include saving:

  • To purchase a house or car.
  • To pay off credit card debt.
  • To pay off student loan debt.
  • For a vacation.
  • For a wedding or engagement ring.
  • For children’s education funds.
  • For retirement.

Generation Z

Generation Z is the newest generation and includes those who were born between 1995 and 2015. As young Americans, this group simply hasn’t had much time in the workforce and therefore, their savings accounts won’t be as impressive as older generations. Single Americans that have no children and are 34 years of age and younger have an average of $2,729 in their savings accounts. Couples in the same age group that have children have an average savings account balance of $3,682.

While these savings account balances may seem low, a 2018 Career Interest Survey conducted by the National Society of High School Scholars found that the saving habits and career ambition for Generation Z seem to be more ambitious than generations of the past. The survey found that 70% of Generation Z participants plan to work while attending college or pay for school by using their savings to avoid student loan debt. It was also concluded that 76% plan to attend graduate school and are confident they can obtain high-paying professional careers within six months after graduating.


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