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  • Writer's pictureSteve Coker, CFP

How Do My Savings Compare

We all want to know whether we are saving enough for retirement. We also want to know if we are doing a good job compared to our neighbors. Whether you are 35 or 55, many wonder how much the typical American has saved. Perhaps we shouldn’t ask because the retirement savings data coming out of the typical American household is not encouraging.

According to the National Institute on Retirement Security, of nearly 40 million working-age American households, about 45%, have no retirement savings at all. And while this data is discouraging it includes younger families that may not have begun saving. What may be more relevant is the data for those aged 55-64, those nearing retirement. For this age category, most have some savings, but 62 percent have retirement savings that are less than one year’s salary, nowhere near the savings that they will need to maintain their existing standard of living during retirement.

Of course, there is some good news on the state of US savings. Since the financial crisis, the US savings rate has increased significantly, now at 5.5%. When employer matching is included the savings rate increases to 8.5%, still below the 10-15% that most households will need to retire, but a significant improvement compared to pre-crisis lows of 1.9%.

If your savings and saving rates are above these levels, then good for you! You are doing better than most Americans at saving for the future. However, given the low bar that the average American has set, you may want to measure yourself against the level of savings that you will need to keep your existing standard of living. Above is a helpful chart based on retirement research by Wade Pfau. The table shows what multiple of your current income you should have saved based on how old you are and what percent of your income you expect to save for the rest of your working years.

Of course, if you are still uneasy about your plan for retirement, please feel free to give us a call. We would be happy to develop a retirement plan for you to help you get on track.


Rhee, Naria and Llana Boivie. “The Continuing Retirement Savings Crisis.” National Institute on Retirement Security. March 2015.’,

“United States Personal Savings Rate.” Trading Economics: US Bureau of Labor Statistics. May 2017.,

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