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How Much Money Should You Have Saved by 30, 40, 50, 60, and Beyond

Here is how much should you have put aside at various life points.

These days, retirement is a potentially sore subject. Like, seriously painful. A recent Axios-Iposos poll found that two-thirds of Americans age 55 and older plan to delay their retirement. Among that group, 70% say they believe they won't be able to afford to retire at all. Even against that cloudy backdrop, financial experts have more bad news: Half of Baby Boomers have no retirement savings at all, and most Americans—even those who have made provisions for their retirement—underestimate how long life expectancy really is these days, jeopardizing their chances for truly secure post-work years.  So how much does a person really need to save for retirement now, and how much should you have put aside at various life points, from age 30 to your 60s? MoneyWatch recently consulted experts to get the answers. 

The Big-Picture Goal in Your 20s


"A good first savings goal is an emergency fund. Having one of these enables you to save for other goals without going into debt when life happens," wealth manager Doug Ornstein told MoneyWatch. "Establishing 3-6 months of living expenses, which of course varies based on your life situation, is a good place to start."

The Ideal Number in Your 20s


Financial experts advise saving 15% of every gross paycheck you make for retirement. For twentysomethings, that might be challenging. If that's your situation, T. Rowe Price advises starting with 6% and adding 1% a year until you reach that 15% ideal. Saving something is better than nothing—decades of compounded interest really pay off and are hard to compensate for later (unless you get rich quick or win the lottery).

The Big-Picture Goal in Your 30s


By age 40, many people want to have saved enough to purchase a home. These days, average home prices with a standard down payment mean you'll need to have saved about $80,520—a number that can vary widely depending on your location and housing preferences. Oh, and buying a home means you'll need to have beefed up that emergency fund for any unforeseen homeowner-related expenses. 

The Ideal Number By Age 35


According to T. Rowe Price, having 100% to one-and-a-half times your annual income saved for retirement by age 35 is "a reasonable target." "For example, a 35-year-old earning $60,000 would be on track if she's saved about $60,000 to $90,000," the financial experts say.

The Big-Picture Goal in Your 40s


In your 40s, your "main focus changes gears to building assets, including liquid savings," certified financial planner Laura Redfern told MoneyWatch. A good idea in this decade is to start separate savings accounts for each major purchase—such as a second home, new car, or travel—and plan for how much you need to put away each year, given a typical rate of return on your savings and investments.

The Ideal Number At Age 50


By age 50, T. Rowe Price considers you to be "on track" for retirement if you have three to six times your preretirement income saved.

The Big-Picture Goal in Your 50s



In your 50s, "turn up the volume" and refocus on retirement savings, advises Redfern. Re-evaluate your insurance coverage and emergency fund to ensure they cover the lifestyle you want to live. 

The Ideal Number At Age 60


"By age 60, you should have 5.5 to 11 times your salary saved in order to be considered on track for retirement," says T. Rowe Price.

By Age 70


In your 60s, paying off your mortgage is key, experts say. You should also start to convert high-risk investments—such as those in the stock market—into lower-risk products like bonds. You'll need the money soon and can't afford to weather a turndown in the market.

So, Bottom Line?


Today, most experts recommend saving 10% to 15% of your pretax income for retirement. Recent surveys indicate that not many of us have pulled that off. A common rule of thumb is that you'll need to have saved 70% of your pre-retirement income to live comfortably in your post work years. Two caveats (and they can be big ones): If you haven't paid off your mortgage, or you have ongoing healthcare-related expenses, you may need 100% of your pre-retirement income or more. Several online calculators can help you figure out your individual ideal number.


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