The Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person

Average Net WorthEverything is relative when it comes to money.  If we all earn $1 million dollars a year and have $5 million in the bank at the age of 40, none of us are very wealthy given all our costs (housing, food, transportation, vacations) will be priced at levels that squeeze us to the very end.  As such, we must first get an idea of what the real average net worth is in our respective countries, and then figure out the average net worth of the above average person!

According to CNN Money 2014, the average net worth for the following ages are: $9,000 for ages 25-34,  $52,000 for ages 35-44, $100,000 for ages 45-54, $180,000 for ages 55-64, and $232,000+ for 65+. Seems very low, but that’s because we use averages and a large age range.

The Above Average Person is loosely defined as:

1) A person who went to college and believes that grades do matter.

2) Does not spend more than they make because that would be irrational.

3) Saves for the future because they realize at some point they no longer are willing or able to work.

4) Largely depends on themselves, as opposed to mom and dad or the government.

5) Takes responsibility for their own actions when things go wrong and learns from the situation to make things better.

6) Has an open mind and is willing to look at the merits of both sides of an argument.

7) Welcomes constructive criticism and is not overly sensitive from friends, loved ones, and strangers in order to keep improving.

8) Has a healthy amount of self-esteem to be able to lead change and believe in themselves.

9) Understands the mental to physical connection in everything we do so that that a healthy mind corresponds with a healthy body.

10) Enjoys empowering themselves through learning, whether it be through books, personal finance blogs, magazines, seminars, continuing education and so forth.

11) Has little-to-no student loan debt due to scholarships and part-time work.

Now that we have a rough definition of what “above average” means, we can take a look at the tables I’ve constructed based on the tens of thousands of past comments by you and posts I’ve written to highlight the average net worth of the above average person.

THE ABOVE AVERAGE NET WORTH DECONSTRUCTED

First, we must highlight what the average tax-deferred retirement savings plan is for those in America. We’ll focus on the simple 401K system we have here where one can contribute $17,500 of their pre-tax income every year as of 2014.

This chart can be used as a rough estimate for those with the RRSP plan in Canada, and retirement plans in Europe and Australia as well. In fact, any country that has any sort of tax-deferred retirement plan and social safety net program for retirement that has a GDP/capita of $30,000 or more can use the below chart as an aspirational guide. Remember, we are talking about the “above average person”.

FINANCIAL SAMURAI TAX DEFERRED (401K)  SAVINGS GUIDE

Age Years Worked Low End High End
22 0 $0 $0
23 1 $8,000 $17,000
24 2 $25,000 $35,000
25 3 $42,000 $60,000
30 8 $127,000 $182,000
35 13 $215,000 $331,000
40 18 $300,000 $521,000
45 23 $383,000 $764,000
50 28 $468,000 $1,075,000
55 33 $553,000 $1,470,000
60 38 $638,000 $1,974,000
65 43 $723,000 $2,618,000

The assumption here is that the above average person is able to start maxing out their tax-deferred retirement plan every year after the second full year of work, and continue on without fail until 65.  The low and high end account for 0% to a relatively conservative 5% constant rate of return.  Of course you can lose money and make much more if you are good and lucky.

This chart does not take into consideration any after-tax savings post 401K contribution.  To understand what the average after-tax savings rate is post tax-deferred retirement contribution is a gargantuan task because there are too many assumptions that are debatable eg. income and after-tax savings rate post maximum pre-tax retirement contributions.  That said, I’ll offer a base case guide anyway.

FINANCIAL SAMURAI AFTER-TAX SAVINGS GUIDE

Age Years Worked Low End High End
22 0 $0 $0
23 1 $5,000 $10,000
24 2 $10,000 $20,000
25 3 $15,000 $35,000
30 8 $50,000 $85,000
35 13 $100,000 $130,000
40 18 $125,000 $200,000
45 23 $150,000 $250,000
50 28 $175,000 $300,000
55 33 $200,000 $350,000
60 38 $225,000 $400,000
65 43 $250,000 $500,000

The above chart assumes on the low end that one saves about $5,000 a year in after-tax income and around $10,000-$15,000 a year in after-tax income on the high-end after maxing out their tax-deferred retirement vehicle. I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible, assuming no inflation and no investment returns. I also believe saving $5,000-$15,000 a year in after-tax income is very realistic for the above average person, and probably very easy for many who earn more than $85,000 per person. Finally, the chart should show you the power of consistency.

THE IMPORTANCE OF REAL ESTATE

A 2010 study showed that the average net worth of a homeowner is roughly $200,000, or 40X greater than the average renter’s net worth of $5,000. We can debate the merits of this study (done by a real estate association of course) all day long (demographic sampling, housing price changes, etc), but the point is, “above average” people generally all own homes and are wealthier, be it 2X wealthier or 40X wealthier than the average renter.

The return on rent is always -100%. You get a place to live and that’s that. There is never a positive return on an asset after a month, or 30 years of renting. A renter cannot pass on her paid off house to her kids or grandchildren. There is no asset accumulation at all.  There is a reason why some 97% of millionaires are property owners.

The value of real estate varies across all the land and the world. It is very hard to make an assumption of what should be inputted as a result. According to the US Census bureau, the median home price in America is $221,800 while the average home price is $272,900. You can’t get anything livable in San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and maybe even Washington DC and Boston for $250,000. But, you sure can in the mid west for $250,000.

Hence, let’s construct an equity value chart of something based on a range of $250,000-$500,000, with the assumption that upon retirement, you have your house paid off and can attribute this amount into your net worth, or the capitalized value of all rents you would pay if you did not own.

FINANCIAL SAMURAI HOME EQUITY PROGRESS GUIDE

Age Years Owned Equity Build Progress (Low) Equity Build Progress (High)
28 1 $3,500 $7,500
30 3 $12,000 $23,000
35 5 $20,000 $40,000
40 10 $45,000 $95,000
45 15 $85,000 $150,000
50 20 $110,000 $215,000
55 25 $150,000 $300,000
60 30 $190,000 $390,000
65 35 $250,000 $500,000
Total Home Equity $250,000 $500,000

I assume that the above average person buys a $250,000-$500,000 piece of property at 27. By the time they turn 28, they will have owned the property for 1 year and have paid down $3,500-$7,500 in principal on a $250,000-$400,000 loan. I conservatively assume a $250,000 no money down loan for the low end house, even though after 5 years of working, the low-end above average person should have around $25,000-$30,000 saved up in cash based on the after-tax savings charts above.

By the time a 27 year old pays off his or her mortgage in 30 years, s/he will be 57 years old with a place to live rent from for the rest of his/her life. That is the true value of the property, the rent saved for the remainder of the owner’s life. It can be calculated as the present value of those future rental payments, or simply the market value of the home. I assume zero price appreciation on the home to keep things conservative and no extra payments to accelerate the payoff either.

THE X FACTOR

So far, we’ve touched upon pre-tax savings, after-tax savings, investment returns of 0 for those savings to remain conservative, and real estate. You need to spend less than you earn for that inevitable day you no longer have an income. You also need to live somewhere, hence, you should own your property if you know you will be there for much longer than 5-10 years.

There’s something missing in all of this, and that something is what I call the X Factor. Above average people seem to always be thinking of new ways to build wealth.  There is an optimism about them that no matter what happens, they can always find ways to make more money. It’s hard to quantify what that X Factor is for the average above average person, but it’s there somehow through music, writing, athletics, communication, entrepreneurship, hustling, and so much more.

The great thing about savings and real estate is that the process is highly automatic.  If you implement the plan and wake up 10 years later, you will inevitably be worth much more provided you keep your job and your home.  Given savings and building equity in your home over the next several decades is largely automatic, the X Factor comes out because you have so much more free time to do something else!

THE AVERAGE NET WORTH OF THE ABOVE AVERAGE PERSON

I have gone ahead and averaged the averages for pre-tax savings, post-tax savings, and real estate equity progress in the spreadsheet below. The pre and post tax savings can be invested however you see fit and is a topic of another post. Another thing to note is taxation, given pre-tax savings have to eventually be withdrawn and taxed. Again, these are rough estimates to give you an idea of the average net worth of the above average person.

THE AVERAGE NET WORTH OF THE ABOVE AVERAGE PERSON
Age Yrs Worked Avg Pre-Tax Savings Avg Post-Tax Savings Avg Property Equity Avg Total NW
22 0 $ - $ - $ - $ -
23 1 $ 12,500 $ 7,500 $ - $ 20,000
24 2 $ 30,000 $ 15,000 $ - $ 45,000
25 3 $ 45,000 $ 25,000 $ - $ 70,000
30 8 $ 154,500 $ 67,500 $ 17,500 $ 239,500
35 13 $ 273,000 $ 115,000 $ 30,000 $ 418,000
40 18 $ 410,500 $ 162,500 $ 70,000 $ 643,000
45 23 $ 573,500 $ 200,000 $ 117,500 $ 891,000
50 28 $ 771,500 $ 237,500 $ 162,500 $ 1,171,500
55 33 $ 1,011,500 $ 275,000 $ 225,000 $ 1,511,500
60 38 $ 1,306,000 $ 312,500 $ 290,000 $ 1,908,500
65 43 $ 1,670,500 $ 375,000 $ 375,000 $ 2,420,500
Source: FinancialSamurai.com 2014

There you have it! Based on my assumptions above, the average net worth of the above average 30 year old is around $240,000. By the time this person is 40, his/her net worth should climb to around $650,000 and all the way up to around $2,000,000 million by the age of 60.

Of course some of you above average Financial Samurai readers will have a total net worth much higher than the chart. But then, I’d have to write another post entitled, “The Average Net Worth Of Financial Rockstars!”

Note: The figures in this post are per person, not per couple. Here is the average net worth for the above average married couple.

Recommended Actions For Increasing Your Net Worth

* Manage Your Finances In One Place: The best way to build wealth is to get a handle on your finances by signing up with Personal Capital. They are a free online platform which aggregates all your financial accounts on their Dashboard so you can see where you can optimize. Before Personal Capital, I had to log into eight different systems to track 28 different accounts (brokerage, multiple banks, 401K, etc) to track my finances. Now, I can just log into Personal Capital to see how my stock accounts are doing, how my net worth is progressing, and where my spending is going.

One of their best tools is the 401K Fee Analyzer which has helped me save over $1,700 in annual portfolio fees I had no idea I was paying. You just click on the Investment Tab and run your portfolio through their fee analyzer with one click of the button. Their Investment Checkup tool is also great because it graphically shows whether your investment portfolios are property allocated based on your risk profile. There is no better free online tool that has helped me stay on top of my finances more than Personal Capital. It’s important to aggregate all your accounts to get an entire view of your net worth profile. It only takes a minute to sign up.

* Check Your Credit Score: Check your credit score at least once a year given the risk of identity theft as well as the importance of having a good credit score when borrowing money, apply for a mortgage, and applying for a job. For over a year, I thought I had a 790ish credit score and was fine, until my mortgage refinance bank on day 80 of my refinance told me they could not go through due to a $8 late payment by my tenants from two years ago. My credit score was hit by 110 points to 680 and I could not get the lowest rate. I had to spend an extra 10 days fixing my score by contacting the utility company to write a “Clear Credit Letter” to get the bank to follow through. Check your credit score for free here at GoFreeCredit.com and protect yourself.

Updated 3/31/2014.

Regards,

Sam

Sam started Financial Samurai in 2009 during the depths of the financial crisis as a way to make sense of chaos. After 13 years working on Wall Street, Sam decided to retire in 2012 to utilize everything he learned in business school to focus on online entrepreneurship.

You can sign up to receive his articles via email or by RSS. Sam also sends out a private quarterly newsletter with information on where he's investing his money and more sensitive information.

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Comments

  1. jim says

    I am 33 years old. I’ve working at Samsung for 9yrs so far. My cash net worth is $6.6M (USD) and $245,000 in Euros since I travel a lot. I don’t have 401K but I do have a Swiss bank account. I usually keep $2.4 Million dollar in my checking account (Capital One) My annual salary is around$546,000 after taxes. My goal is to save at least $56M until I became age of 65. I still feel like I am making less money than most of people, cause Most of my colleague saved more than $35M (USD) not include their property just pure cash.

        • fred says

          I’m the CFO of a 1.7 billion revenue consumer product company. He’s trolling. Not even our senior executives come close to that $. Margins are too low to afford that kinda money.

    • Aly says

      You are a douchebag for thinking you are making a lot less than most people! are you so self-centered to not look around the world and see how people struggle day to day just to have a decent meal on their table?!?
      Your words will become your punishment… be humble you idiot!

  2. Brian says

    Man, after reading all this I feel poor. I’m 31, and have been working for 8.5 years. My salary as an engineer was low for several years which finally drove me to get another job and move from my hometown. I earned $92k last year, which is pretty good for the area of the county I live in.

    I have $30k in checking, $86k in 401k (I save 15% and get a company match of 4.5%), I have about $18k in home equity on my $158k house which is financed at 4%. I have three several year old vehicles. I do owe $3k on one but the interest rate is 1.99% and I owe $12k in student loans but the interest rate is 1.625%. Any time I can borrow at less than inflation I’m going to do it.

    I recently got married after a very long engagement. My wife does not work and probably never will. I think this is a huge opportunity cost but health issues prohibit her from working.

    Being married has changed my retirement strategy 180 degrees; before I was plowing all my money into tax deferred accounts, but now our marginal rate is 15% so I am going to switch contributions to my Roth 401k.

    We don’t have big expectations – if I live in this house forever I don’t really care. If I never drive a new car, I don’t care. If in order to retire I have to sell this house and buy a decent mobile home out in the country, I don’t really care. What I am most worried about is what will happen with Medicare or how to pay for health insurance if I retire before 65. It’s worrisome so much that I am considering trying to get a Federal civil service job because they still offer retiree health benefits.

  3. David says

    Very cool website. I’m thinking of checking out Personal Capital, just want to make sure its safe!

    I’m in the above average pool. I own a business, eventually want to be able to live off passive income, don’t think I’m too far off, but right now not trying to really grow business much, more concerned with quality of life. Right now I’m single and 34. Cash of about $90,000. IRA and brokerage accounts of $115,000. Also have 3 investment properties, where I generate about $12,000 a year in passive income (while leaving plenty for repairs and other expenses). Have a primary residence with worth about $225,000, with a mortgage of $160,000. I have no CC or auto debt. Any ideas on how to get more passive income? I like real estate but looking for other options also.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Welcome to my website! Don’t forget to subscribe.

      Personal Capital is safe. The CTO founded the encryption technology used by many of the big banks online now. After 1.5 years using the free Dashboard, I decided to take a part-time consulting job there for 3 months in 2014. I’ve met over 50 people there and talk to the CEO every week.

      The other way for passive income is simply dividend stocks or munis. Just got to pick the ones appropriate for your risk tolerance.

      Sam

  4. Jay says

    Very nice website, I on above average on all the categories except the pre-tax 401k, me and my wife started late on 401k savings.

    I’m 39 and my wife is 34 and our combined 401k is just over 450k (250 for me), our savings + investment (stocks) is 560k. Total net worth is 3.5M, plus 450k debt (properties). Our income on 2013 was just over 500k (still crunching final # for 2013 tax). Both of us have full time jobs with a online business.

    My experience is setting a realistic short term goals and long term goals. And when if I met my ST goals within certain time period, I increased my next set of ST goals.

    I use mint.com to monitor all my financial data and watch my budget and cash flow.

    How is mint.com compared to Personal Capital?

    My goal is to have net worth of 10MM at the age 50.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Mint is good for basic budgeting. Personal Capital is good for cash flow analysis and portfolio analysis (investing). I’d give Personal Capital a shot and at least run your investment portfolios through its free Investment Checkup feature.

      A $10 million net worth would be great and a worthwhile goal. You can earn $300,000 a year from interest alone and live a pretty good life. Good luck to you!

      • Jay says

        I’ll definitely try out personal capital, I was tracking my finances with excel spreadsheet since 2007, and found mint last year. I bought quickbooks for my business but hated it.

  5. Sig Sharma says

    29 yo, just stumbled on your website. This is awesome! I rarely find people to openly discuss finances with in my friends/co-workers.

    Have about $90k in 401k (started maxing it out 3 years ago), 110k in cash + stocks (mostly cash) and 125k in home equity. So I would say I’m on track with a net worth of $325k. Got married 3 years ago and wife and I maintain separate finances. She has about 200k in cash & $70k in 401k (32yo) so nw of about 270k. I’m encouraging her to move more of her cash into inflation proof investments like index funds/ETFs but havent had much luck so far.

    I’m so excited to discover this website that I think its blocking me for having too many comments under moderation ;)

  6. David says

    Reading all the comments of all these rich people is really depressing. I am 28 years old and am in a transition phase of my life. I am bringing in about $2200/month in unemployment/rental income yet have a mortgage that is a couple hundred dollars shy of that. I’m hoping to find steady employment soon to get back on track and not fall into foreclosure. I started working at 23 and my net worth is currently around $180K. I have about $100K in retirement and investments, $20K in savings, and about $60K in home equity. I thought I was doing pretty well but some people my age already have 2-3 times this amount saved. That’s amazing. I initially was very bullish about the stock market in 2009; however, after being up about 30% in one year, I got very shy and pulled almost everything out. I did but a house but after a year it is only up about 5% from what I bought it for. Definitely an economically challenging time for me but I hope to find the light soon and start saving again. Good luck to everyone!

    • cephlon says

      I was going to ask the same thing. Almost all my net worth is tied to my business, which I know is a little too risky, but it is what it took to build a multi-million $ company with very little debt.

      Now at 38, I am trying to diversify with real-estate and savings.

  7. MJ says

    hi guys, glad i found this website.

    i am like reading others experiences especially ones which show me where i am behind. i need to up my savings after putting 105k in an investment in 2012. though i have started maxing out my 401k recently i also am avid real-estate investor and feel like this is where my wealth will really stand out. i have an estimated 360k in equity over two properties which net about 40k in income. i think i can improve the performance to get that number up substantially. i am hoping to surpass my income with passive income in 5 yrs.

  8. J says

    Sam, glad I found your site. I did a google search for “45 year old average net worth”. I get kind of depressed reading some of the posts above for someone my age (45). I only make 100K, sometimes a bit more with bonuses. I’m married with a kid and we only have one income now. I am on track only because I’ve inherited some money.

    Retirement accounts $620K, Cash and stocks $259K, Real Estate $570K equity. That puts my net worth about $1.4M

    I’ve been using SigFig and Mint, but am interested in Personal Capital. I will give that a try.

    Thanks!

  9. Lindsey says

    My main problem with this is the assumption of no student loan debt for the “above average” person. This seems more like the “had rich parents” person. I had a half tuition scholarship and worked part-time throughout college. However, my part-time wages only covered my housing and food – and that was a huge stretch that included additional money saved up over summers and in high school. Parents also contributed a lot towards college, but I graduated with around $35,000 in student loans. Add my car loan on top of that, and my net worth after graduating started out at a little below -40,000. I would guess that this is fairly normal.

    Of course, there are other variables at play. Cost of living in the city where you attended college, for one thing, as well as whether or not you attended a state school or a private university. However, even for the above average person, I don’t think starting out at 0 net worth is average.

  10. Alex says

    Very well written paper with solid math & statistics. Thanks for posting it. I will be sending this on to many others…

  11. Brian says

    This is sort of a funny article in my eyes. There are so many variables. 1. How many 26, 27 year olds are maxing out their 401K’s when they have Student Loans, Rent or a mortgage to pay, and then factor in babies? None that I know of. I am 35 and am STILL unable to max my 401k.

    Also, the chart on homeownership and equity is laughable. Has the author not seen the housing market decline? My house which I bought for 250k in 2007, now 7 years later it worth a Paltry 200k. And those numbers dont add up. I refinanced once and I still owe 240k.

    I have a college degree, never been unemployed, and neither has my wife, who has 2 Masters Degrees. Low end on home equity is in the negatives. High end equity right now would maybe be your low end numbers. This is at least with what I see from myself, and my 35 year old friends. Unless you want to factor the one friend who is a 1%’er. Then yes, your assumptions would be right, except that at 35, he is worth $20 Million.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Maybe we just have different friends? I would say 80% of the 26-27 year olds I knew growing up and those I know today are maxing out their 401k.

      I am also well aware of a very large nationwide housing recovery since 2012.

      Where do you live and how much do you and your wife make?

    • Yeahok says

      My 401k has been maxed out since I got my first serious job at 19. I’m now 44 and I have $677k in my 401k.

  12. George Goetz says

    I would not count home equity as part of net worth unless it is rental property that generates an income.

  13. Brillo says

    I love places like this, and the comments that come in. People love to brag and spin tall tales in the comment sections. My fav might be the first guy (Jim?) This guy goes on about his millions, but writes like a 3rd grade dropout. LOL.

  14. hawaiilife says

    Interesting website. Good to hear where people stand.
    Im 24, currently around 100k net worth all in cash besides mode of transportation (paid for)
    no debts whatsoever, looking to put some money in an index fund. thinking vangaurd.
    Any suggestions for investments to offset inflation?

  15. AB says

    This is a great site.
    I’m a 50 year old, recent divorcee, who is a low wage earner to an ex who is a high wage earner.

    Even after the divorce settlement, I am way behind, especially since I was out of the work force for almost 10 years; and am basically starting my career over.

    At least this gives me a starting point to gauge my progress.

    Thanks,

  16. sarah says

    Why are you maxing out your 401(k)? It seems like quite a bit of money to put in a set plan designated by your company. Especially when you will be unable to use it until you retire. Wouldn’t it be better to contribute up to the matching maximum and put the rest , up to10% of salary, into a roth or traditional ira?

    I’m 23 paid for college through federal loans and a moderate college fund. Still have student loans of about 20k but the rates are so low its not worth it to pay them off in full. Net worth is about 10k and I’ve been working almost a year. Half is in cash and half is in index funds and retirement accounts. Most of my money goes to rent living in a large city but there isn’t a way around that. Buying is actually more expensive than here once you consider interest, hoa fees, insurance, maintenance.

    • Yeahok2 says

      There are ways to access your 401k before retirement age penalty free if necessary. Look into rule 72(t) distributions. You can also avoid penalties if you retire at 55 (rule of 55). Both of these strategies involve strict restrictions. Consult your financial advisor.

  17. James Morrison says

    Here is a statistic for you kids . . .

    I would say 80-90% of you are LYING!! The author included.

    Now if even half of these are true then it was CLEARLY a case of “mommy and daddy are rich and gave me everything.”

    DON’T KEEP LYING TO YOURSELVES!!

    I have multiple friends whose families have net worth in the millions and they have good jobs right out of college and aren’t even CLOSE to these numbers.

    It seems like you just made this up to make yourself feel better. I would highly doubt if you are making that much you would even bother to write an article like this. . .

    This is obvious. . .

    You people are in reality, just trying to make yourselves feel better.

    It’s true, really reality check yourselves and maybe you’ll see that living in a fantasy world is NOT the same as a basis in reality.

    Trust me, and I am in the top end of your “average.”

    BUT I HAD ZERO HELP FROM FAMILY ZERO!!!

    NO ONE HERE CAN SAY THE SAME!!!

    • Financial Samurai says

      Thanks for your kind comment.

      Can you share where your anger is coming from, even as you say “I am in the top end of your average”? Are you saying that it’s OK for you to be in the range, but not everyone else? If so, why do you think you are more special?

      There’s a lot more money out there than people think. People are just practicing the Stealth Wealth Movement (link).

      • James Morrison says

        Sarcasm noted, thanks for trying to “act like the bigger person” by deflecting the negativity with a “positive” comment, textbook psychology.

        I am just saying most of these posters are lying about their TRUE LIQUID net worth, home equity is not stable as we all have seen from the last decade and the same is true for stocks. But of course this is common knowledge for all of you “20s millionaires.”

        ETFs, mutual funds, bonds and other supposedly “stable” investments are at an all time low return, and unless you have at least a cumulative 1 million in one of these type of accounts accounts, after taxes, you make little to no meaningful money. (Still better then nothing.)

        I am just saying that if even half of these stories are true there was OBVIOUSLY A HELP FROM THE PARENTAL SIDE OF THEIR LIFE and I would guess that zero to no one came from “nothing.” Yet everyone of these “success” stories, no true logistics are mentioned, just random numbers.

        If these stories are indeed accurate then your “net worth of the above average person” should read “the net worth of daddy and mommies money helped me.”

        As I stated previously, all of my friends whose parents I would consider “well off,” aka 2+ million in worth still graduate with debt, even if it is just a little bit, and MOST of them immediately continue the lifestyle their parents success afforded them their entire lives, meaning your “goals” are pretty much unreachable unless you started out with a substantial nest egg right out of college and forgo having children until your 30s or later.

        I was looking for a real article with some depth and strategy and instead I find a generic “shift your assets from A>B>C (early in life) to C>B>A (late in life).

        This just feels like a jack off thread where people can come to sniff their own excrement and try and make others, who might actually be looking for some real guidance, feel bad.

        Articles like these are pretty worthless, and I would have not been angered at all if I was not just looking for something you can learn from common sense.

        Like I said, the fact that you still try and maintain an active posting thread in such a retarded article I would guess that your TRUE net worth isn’t even over 200k and your age is much older then you imply.

        If I am wrong then go ahead and feel good about yourself, but I seriously doubt your current job writing “feel good about lying to yourself” threads pays the bills, let alone allowing you to build any kind of meaningful wealth.

      • Louis Bois says

        Weird how this guy is in your net worth range, yet is so upset Sam. Must be some 20-something year old who is really insecure with his life.

        James, and what’s wrong with parental help? You can’t fight reality. If you are destined to serve people who are wealthier than you, then just be comfortable with your situation in life.

        I’m 37 years old and have a net worth of $2.8 million. My parents paid for my public school college. The rest, I made myself.

    • melkore says

      Hey, I am 34 and have a net worth of 8.2mm, not sure what makes you so skeptical of people on here. It’s nice to have a forum to share this information anonymously since it’s such a taboo subject in real life. Good luck and stay positive!

  18. Thomas47 says

    Thank you for the pointer about Personal Capital. It is a great site and app, too.

    We did the fee analysis and were surprised at how much it came out to be. I think this single change could bring retirement in closer by one year. I had been lazy about tracking these fees, and that was an expensive mistake.

  19. Debbie says

    Hey Jim Morrison, (nice name by the way!)

    Don’t be a hater! People read these blogs to learn not put people down! Perhaps maybe learning something will help you increase your net worth! Putting people down for achieving financial independence early is beyond stupid! Grow the hell up!

    People are strange! (get it?)

  20. john says

    @sarah

    To your 401k question, if you include contribute anything to a retirement plan (just to get employee match) as you suggest, and make good money, you will be limited and usually not allowed to take any deductions for a traditional ira (no benefit) and be disallowed from contributing to a roth. Therefore your better off maxing your 401k if employee matches. Mine doesn’t, so I max out ira for wife and myself and invest myself.

  21. BM says

    These numbers are only possible with a far above average paying job beginning at age 22. And no student loans, car loans, or spousal debt.

    I’m age 25 and just began working after finishing my masters degree in a feild that pays above average. My student loans are near the average and are all from undergrad since I earned a full scholarship for my graduate degree. I still owe some on a modest used car I bought out of need in graduate school. Through loans work and scholarships I paid about 80% of my education costs and my parents helped with the other 20%.

    The numbers from age 22-30 make sense for someone who got their bachelors in petroleum engineering and makes 90k out of school.

    I would say a good above average measure would be 15k or less in total debt (combined student and car loans), makes $60,000 a year starting out (mostly engineers; average BS starting salary in most feilds is 30-40,000, so 60k is very good). If this person is an above average saver they may reduce expenses to 70% of take home and save the other 30% about 15,000/yr for retirement funds and debt payment. In 5 years assuming some invesent returns and salary growth and they buy a $10,000 used car in this time, I think a networth of about $100,000 is to be expected.

    It is from this lint I believe froth accells as there is 5 years of career specialization to leverage raise work compensation and now a substantial amount allowing for business startup capital or home and real estate investment.

    Since I’ve been working the last 6 or so months I’ve about cut my negative networth in half but it’ll be about a year before I really have a stable positive networth. It may be even longer if you factor in getting married and shared student loan and vehicle debt, or that could possibly speed things up by sharing living costs.

    I think the early wealth progression theorized in this article is too rapid even for above average (they are more like birth rights, having zero debt, low expenses, and a completed education and earning a high income by age 22… Very very rare), and the wealth growth in later years too slow but also more realistic.

    I’ve set some aggressive goals for myself regarding wealth building and expect to at least double these figures God be willing.

    Reading about others success gives me motivation to keep working hard to become financially independent. I just want to build enough wealth that I won’t be dependent on an employer or the government.

    I agree with another poster some
    of the success touted in these comments is hard to believe. I’m sure there are the rare successes out there, but they are indeed rare.

    Home owning is not the investment it once was and people are a lot more transient than they once were so buying and selling a home every 5 years and the associated costs make renting more desirable, but home owning in the long run is still probably the better choice in most cases if one has the means.

    Fortunatley, wealth building for the above average has become easier than it was a generation ago.

    • Financial Samurai says

      BM,

      It’s great you’ve got a good attitude on your hands. I would say if one can start earning $50,000/year +/- $5,000 out of college, then one can achieve these figures with normal raises, promotions, and aggressive savings habits.

      There’s more difficulty achieving these charts the first 10 years, then the rest of the years. With six months of work experience under your belt, you should look at these charts as a guideline. I think you will SURPRISE yourself at how much you can build.

      Good luck! Sam

    • Jonathan says

      “These numbers are only possible with a far above average paying job beginning at age 22. And no student loans, car loans, or spousal debt.”

      There are lots of ways to make these numbers work, and lots of people who make them work. I graduated in 2006 with student loans, and bought a brand new car immediately (in hindsight not the wisest choice). I started out making $40k a year and with regular raises I hit the 6-figure salary mark just last month. My wife makes much less. We both make good salaries, but not “far above average”. However, our net worth is nearly double the upper end of the range for our age. How? By living fairly modestly (having a good sense of what does and doesn’t add value to our lives), spending well below our means, saving and investing constantly, including all sorts of unusual investments, and most importantly, giving generously out of a recognition that we have been blessed with abundance.

  22. Phil says

    I call BS… on Jim
    http://www.glassdoor.ca/Salary/Samsung-Engineering-Salaries-E318434.htm
    And I will add, My wife is an Aerospace Engineer (P.Eng, 17+yrs) specializing in Propulsion Systems for spacecraft, now more to the Program Management of technical resources… I was an R&D Engineer (P.Eng 15+yrs) specializing in Quality / Reliability with Stanley Black & Decker… I’m just say’in but I know many who work throughout the world in many global industries in highly specialized industries, some of whom own their own companies… again I call BS. At 42/41 our NW is 1.4M, and we are pretty conservative with our conventional investments (self directed retirement funds, non-registered stock accounts and 2 owned properties (home and recreational). At 1.4M NW we are probably in the top 5-10% of households at our age… So Jim, if you feel it necessary to just type, many of us on these sites would rather you do it somewhere else…

    To JamesM – chill man… My wife and I both were not privileged, but worked hard to achieve what we have achieved. Yes, some have a helping hand, and well, what’s wrong with that? we both wish we had… Unfortunately I can remember trying to balance my 3 part-time jobs with passing 1st year exams… That’s probably why it took me a couple of extra years to get through…

    As to other commenters in this thread especially BM, Sam’s NW guidelines are pretty accurate for those I associate with, who have University degrees (I’m Canadian), or who own their own small businesses The key to financial success, live on less than you have coming in, and learn how to invest the rest. Every goal is achievable with a realistic plan, and the right education – Cheers.

  23. Steve says

    Sammy My Boy — Your points #6 through #10 seem to all be grounded in having a positive mindset. What are your favorite books on this topic, if you have any?

  24. nk says

    Its nice to see how others are doing (if for no reason other than as additional reference points), some appear to be doing better/worse than I am. Some of the posts do not appear economically feasible, but maybe a little luck was a part of the equation.

    My numbers appear relatively close to the above benchmark, income/net worth:
    24: $59,000 / $32,488
    25: $63,000 / $64,584
    26: $72,219 / $89,830
    27: $104,275 / $141,245
    28: $140,166 /  $185,969
    29: $224,150 / $277,220
    30: $265,731 / $447,443
    31: $246,295 / $571,356
     
    Projected Net Worth (assuming saving 50% of projected gross earnings, 1% interest on cash, 6% gains on investment portfolio and 2% appreciation of rental property that will be mortgage free in 2016):
    35: $1,093,712
    40: $1,977,062
    45: $3,289,926
    50: $4,751,967
     
    The single greatest blessing in this long journey towards financial independence was my willingness to take a leap of faith and accept a job opportunity overseas (this accounts for the large jump in income when I was 29). I now work in a country with no income taxes, and after considering all the US tax deductions/credits I only pay US federal income taxes on amounts I earn over ~$160K. This has led to a situation where I can still save over 50% of my gross income, while not only living for the future (e.g. my wife and I take ~4 international trips a year now, we try not to spend too much on material things but find it sensible to ensure exposure to the many amazing things the world has to offer).

    This is an interesting site, other than your insistent push for people to onboard Personal Capital (given the volume of recommendations i would question your true independence in the matter). My wife and i prefer Mint since it has a better interface for budget planning purposes. We have all our brokerage and retirement account with Vanguard so can leverage their available portfolio analytics online.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Nice projections, and glad you’re doing well. Where overseas are you?

      I’m a consultant for Personal Capital and have been using their free software for two and a half years now. When I believe in a no-brainer, I’ll highlight it in relevant articles about investing, savings, and retirement. You’ve got to be proud of what you do.

      Mint is great for budgeting. Personal Capital is focused on the mass affluent who have over $100K liquid to invest. PC has a good cash flow tool like Mint.com, but they’ve also got great risk and fees tools.

      • nk says

        I currently live in Dubai, a place i would never have thought i would end up. But it’s a great hub (spend about 30% of the year traveling for work and leisure).

        I think Personal Capital makes sense as an aggregator when investments are spread across various institutions, but i have close to 250K in various investment accounts that are all with Vanguard, and they have portfolio analytic tools that provide data like fee analysis and risk exposure. We use mint solely to monitor our expenses vs our budget (which when married is a huge factor in maintaining financial order).

  25. Bex says

    I fit the “Above Average Person” definition but I tell you my equity, savings, and overall net worth are WAY WAY WAY below average. Because it’s negative. I managed to pay off my tiny student loan quickly but I started saving for retirement a bit late. But the biggest factor was that I bought my home right before the crash and now I’m $43k underwater :(
    I keep pushing forward though and I hope that one day I can be on the low end of your above average estimates!

  26. Wallstreet25 says

    I am over high end for my age. Been maxing out since 22 in 401k cuz I get taxed a lot and do Roth IRA to diversify tax risk and cuz I can’t do trad Ira. No plans to buy a home. I am in the top 10 percent of earners. Came from middle class immigrant background. Full ride scholarship and I am a level 3 cfa candidate. Series 7 and 66. Now some education, home equity real returns is about 0 using shillers data that is over 100 yrs old. People in it made money due to the bubble that started in 90s and a ton of leverage. Equity real returns is about 7 percent using same data or 10 percent nominally. Now I am juss surprised that the people who have money under 40 keep so much in cash.Having said that the economic cycle is prolly in the back end and I would not lever up from your allocation. But the idea that you successful people kept so much cash with no liquidity expectations is retarded to me. I suggest getting an advisor to tell you what to do cuz frankly you may be rich but you have no idea what you are doing. Lastly, don’t time the market. No one can. I saw people up top who ditched the market completely because of a 30 percent gain. Right mind set, you derisk when it’s going up, but still retarded, you never leave the market altogether. Having said that great site.

    • Financial Samurai says

      If you can survive on Wall Street for 10 years, you will have it made, even in today’s somewhat compressed compensation environment. I did 13 years and got out to work on my online media business full time. Survive and you will be rewarded!

  27. andy says

    Hmm, I though I was doing extremely well! Maybe I am..
    Also, I am guessing that most people ( who make less) feel afraid to comment after each person is making 100k or 500k a year.

    My wife and I have a business that is growing each year.

    Equity on the house is probably close to $160k
    cash on hand $80+
    cash on hand in business accounts $50k
    Merchandise on hand (business) : about 120k that can easily turn into cash
    I wouldn’t call the business actual money since it has to be sold first… but I probably have more than 500k there… but without counting business value.
    then total NW should be around $410k

    We are 26 and 25 yr old. I don’t know anyone my age making more than 100k a year … that’s why I think ( smaller city) we are doing really well in our area.

    We probably start making $500k+ a year on 2015 if business keeps growing.
    Right now, I know that we can easily get to 2-3 million NW… But, when I get to 35 I want to slow down.. I want to buy two rental properties this year, My idea is to be a landlord and not have a business at all ( to stressful we work 80 hrs a week easily, and the times we work 20 hrs, I look like teller marketer getting calls from employees 10 hr a day.. )
    Goal: have 20 houses paid off… maybe when I get to 35-40 yr old. ( so is not much when you think about it, it be around 2.5 million dollars invested)

    • Financial Samurai says

      Your figures do look good. And if you stay on your path, there’s no doubt you’ll gain financial independence before 50.

      Everything is relative in personal finance after all. Good luck!

  28. Margaret says

    Great website. Thank you.
    Have been a single mom w/ no financial support from ex for 12 yrs- have a 14 yr old. (Lost half my 401k to him and got half of zero in return so basically had to start over.)
    My current stats:
    Age 52
    Earn: $50,000. yr
    Save 21% to 401k and Roth plus 9.9% company match (balance $235,000)
    $30,000 in Savings and Checking acct.
    Home value: $325,000. – owe $84,000.
    Am I doing enough? Not sure what else I can do, I think I am already doing my best. Any thoughts? Thx.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Hi Margaret,

      Given your circumstances, I think you are doing GREAT! Keep up the good work. Excellent home equity, good savings rates. I would try inching up your savings percentage 1% at a time until it starts to hurt. The pain will go away eventually, and you can try saving more.

      Best to you!

      Sam

      • Margaret says

        Thanks Sam,
        I try to be a mom, first and foremost. I struggle w/ the balance of live for today, but save for tomorrow. (I am a workaholic)
        The 9.9% match is brand new only after my employer froze our pensions 2 yrs ago. Everything I have, I’ve earned the hard way.
        We did just get a one dollar an hour raise so I did raise the 401k 1% to the current 21%. Sometimes I think I am working just to fund my retirement so know what you mean about the pain, but I’ve done it.
        I do try to take a vacation every year to show my son the world-my reward for being a penny pinching, frugal single mom.
        My mortgage interest rate is 2.75% so happy about that.
        Thanks again for your positive words! :)

    • Thomas47 says

      Margaret
      you are managing your expenses and savings in a very smart and reasonable way. Inspiring.

      I think you net-worth is on track to exceed $1m before you are in your mid-60s.

      For your income, what is the best-case, worst-case, and most-likely over the next 15 years?

      • Margaret says

        Hi Thomas,
        Thank you for your encouraging words!
        Was out 4 mos last year due to work related injury and surgery so only earned $43,000. (plus some tax free work comp wages) Really missed out on the employer match and my own contribution during this time.
        This year on track for around $60,000.- if I keep up all my overtime.
        Not much room for raises, a percent here and there but I am ‘topped’ out.
        I have 26 years seniority so ‘safe’ as can be in today’s environment.
        Worst: Taking another pay cut as I have done twice in 12 years.
        Best: Getting some of it back.
        Most likely: Pretty much the same as I’ve been earning…
        Thank you again. Good to see I’m doing ok.

        • Thomas47 says

          Hi Margaret,
          Ok, back to your original question – about ideas on what more could be done.

          From your summary, about half of your net worth is in your home’s equity. Homes can be emotional, so I understand if this idea won’t fly, but I’ll put it out there for you to consider.

          If you were to sell your house, and buy a place for around $190k cash, you would be debt-free and double your liquid cash savings. You could then save even more at work, and you wouldn’t have mortgage payments.

          I am thinking along the same lines, since we also have a lot of net worth locked up in our house. In a few years, we will also consider selling and buying something for cash.

          Keep up the great work.

          • Margaret says

            Thanks for reply Thomas,
            Sorry out of town working. Do not have laptop, smartphone, Ipad, Ipod, etc..
            I kept the home after my divorce for a stable home environment for my son-rented out 2 rooms to cover 1st and 2nd mortgages and get out of divorce debt. Ex has moved 5 times.
            Just looked up the internet value (hmmm?) and says my home is $405,000. I live in CA so homes expensive and condo’s almost as much so not sure about down sizing. Emotional attachment yes but something to think about.
            I’ve rented a room out for over 10 yrs, same man that I forget about that income but it does help. His rent has paid for my vacations, home improvements and car payments over the years. I do give up privacy though.
            I asked my original question about doing enough as I always feel I am behind the ’8 ball’ in trying to catch up after my divorce and what I lost- and now being 13 yrs from retirement. I think I will have to work at least to that age to accomplish my retirement goals.

            • Thomas47 says

              You are on track to be a millionaire before 60. I think you are managing your finances well, and you are smart to seek opinions and ideas for improvement.

              I would continue to reduce debt and build savings.

              Like Sam said in this post, look into your annual fees for your funds. Ours were high, for funds that were not even outperforming the S&P500.

    • wallstreet25 says

      mad respect. you are basically in same position as my mom so here are a few tips. read your info and your home equity balance is good, really good cash reserves (maybe a lil too much), but your retirement is a bit low @235. Based on this, you shouldnt even contribute to anything roth related. You are most likely better off pre tax 401k investments and prolly want to focus on that until it reaches a million since you are prolly in the 15% to 25% marginal tax rate. At 21% contribution of salary thats ~12k/year. Assuming you are all in equity now, you’ll prolly hit millionare status at 65. Bottom line ditch the roth.

      Another question is what type of mortgage is this. 30-year fixed, 15-year fixed, or is this a 5/1 ARM. At that balance, and at those rates, I would assume you are in an ARM, if so, move it to fixed. These are prolly the lowest rates we will see in decades to come. having anything adjustable is silly, unless you plan on selling your house in the next 3 to 5 years. So bottom line get a 30-year fixed mortgage at the same balance if you want to be conservative.

      Now here is an optional portion. If I were you, with a steady job with seniority privelege, i’d classify you in the safe zone in terms of having a job in a market downturn which means you can take some risk, now add that you have financial sophistication and are willing to take risk. How to go about it? I’d monetize the house through a refinance, take that money and invest it in the market. You get a tax deductible plus you get the return on the market. You dont have to do this though, you are fine like that especially @2.75 interest rates.

      • Margaret says

        Thanks Wallstreet25 for the reply!
        My 2.75% is fixed for a 15 yr mortgage- have about 12-13 yrs left on that. (I did a no fee re-fi a couple years ago.)
        Did look at my 401k- have 9% in 401k and 12% in Roth. I am in the 15% tax bracket w/ all my deductions.
        I do realize my increased Roth is adding to my gross and possible move TO a higher tax bracket.
        Are you telling me to contribute only to 401k, not any to Roth because of my tax bracket?
        I was told to slowly start converting my 401k contribution to Roth the older and closer I get to retirement which I started doing hence the now 9/12 split vs. the 15/6 I had before. (Sorry if I ask a dumb question.)Thanks.

        • wallstreet25 says

          1st of lucky you. that mortgage you got 2 yrs ago was prolly 2012 when rates hit their all time low. I’d keep the mortgage.
          2nd, If your marginal tax rate is 15%, you can choose either. But that’s good that you notice that your bracket increases when you contribute to a roth vs trad. Bottomline, avoid the 25% tax bracket by increasing trad contributions as needed.

          As a general rule of thumb, you put money into roth when you are at a low marginal tax rate, or if you have a large tax deferred account (a 401k) already. But low marginal tax rates take priority.

          personally i would never use a roth. i like to offset my income. i prefer to pay taxes later. I also prefer to share the risk with the taxing authority. Lastly, its pretty easy to keep investment taxes to a minimum even in a taxable acct. So a roth juss does not do it for me. But i see why others see the benefits.

            • Margaret says

              Good article Sam!
              My original mortgage was adjustable and about 5-7% w/ a cap of 11%, but oh so up and down and stressed me for 10 years. I no fee re-fied to 3.25%, twice bought down the margin (for 2 x $500.) to get me where I am today. Very happy now!
              My ex is paying almost 2.5 times my mortgage (w/ insur and escrow). He never bought w/ all the money I had to give him. Not sure where all the money went, but he has continued to rent (a very nice house in a pretty nice neighborhood) cuz he cannot come up w/ the 20% down payment so understand what you meant in the above article link.
              Best of luck to you!!!
              Good luck w/

          • Margaret says

            Hi Wallstreet25!
            You all really make me think (a good thing..)
            I went back and looked at my 401k account. $200,000. in Traditional, and $30,000. in Roth plus $6,000. from company match and bonuses. (Have another $8,000. in another acct) I did not realize this was my split. I did start Roth when it was first offered though.
            As far as my taxable amount and looking at the 2014 tax table. I am well under the $49,400. My taxable was $33,000. in 2012 and $25,000. in 2013 due to my work comp injury and time off work. So far year to date I have $24,000. taxable income so think I am ok still w/ all my deductions.
            This was a big reminder to keep an eye on my 15% tax bracket.
            I ‘should’ be receiving during retirement (at current rate and working to (uugh) 65) about the same income I am earning now.
            Thanks for keeping me on my toes!!

  29. YY says

    This is a great site! I came across a few articles in the past couple of months when I was doing research on investment properties, personal finance, etc.

    I am 28 years old and have been working full-time for 6 years (salary range $70-105k) and worked part-time throughout high school and college. I lived at home for two years after college to pay off student loans (only had $15k in student loans) and saved over 50% after taxes. I did inherit about $30k in my early 20s which I saved for my first investment property. I currently own a couple of investment properties. My numbers are in the above average net worth:

    Category Amount
    401k $54,233.00
    Cash/Stocks $94,426.50
    Property Equity $151,610.00
    Total $300,269.50

    I didn’t max out my 401k because I’m always saving for down payment for investment properties. I’m considering purchasing another investment property but have to come up with 25% down payment for an investment property mortgage. I don’t want to sell my stocks and always keep at least 6 months of living expenses in cash. Do you think it makes sense to take out a loan against my 401k for an investment property?

    • Thomas47 says

      Very impressive, YY. You are doing so well for someone so young.

      I’m no expert, and have made plenty of financial mistakes – so please take this as an opinion and perspective to consider: Only borrow against the 401k for an absolute emergency.

      I think it’s OK to slow down a bit… first max your retirement savings, eliminate all debt, and then save enough to buy more properties with full cash offers. You seem to be very good at real estate.

  30. Ryan says

    Hi Sam,

    One thing to note about 401(k) contributions…..if one is considered “above average” then it also stands to reason that same person may be treated as a Highly Compensated Employee (HCE), in which case you may not be permitted to make the maximum $17,500 401(k) contribution. I find myself in this situation. Would you suggest contributing more to after-tax accounts to make up for the shortfall?

    I am 32, my wife is 28 and we have around $128k in my 401(k), $45k in wife’s solo 401(k), $22k in SEP/back door Roth, $85k in taxable accts. and around $150k in cash equiv. (we are making a down payment on our first home soon). Our vehicles and her wedding ring are valued at $30k for a total net worth around $460k.

    Seems we’re on track now but our income fluctuates substantially year to year and we are expecting our first child in 1 month!!

  31. Skeptos says

    Great table, but slightly misleading title.

    “Above average” implies anything above the mean or median net worth for the age bracket.

    I’m willing to bet the lower range is the top 10% for the age group and the upper range is the top 1%.

    Why? Aside from certain engineering fields, ibd + trading, and high end consulting, very few jobs make more than 70k pre tax after college.

    Add on to that the debt load upon graduation. I graduated from a “need blind” school with 80% of tuition + board covered by need based financial aid since my parents are “poor” at 70k annual income and still ended up with 20k in debt after graduation (net 15k of summer internship money and 30k from parents). Not many people am as lucky as I was with finaid or being an only child with supportive parents.

    In particular the first 8 years if your chart are very heavily tilted towards the top earners. After Bschool or med school I could see a lot more people definitely catching up to the above average definition. But even that debt for tuition isn’t built in at all. Even the would be entrepreneurs arnt striking it rich in the first 4 years.

    To those who’ve commented here: congrats! Virtually everyone’s way ahead of the curve and can probably get a college building named after then by the time they die.

    Even if your slightly below the curve your probably way above the actual average.

  32. andy says

    FanacialS,

    I dont really want to retire anyways ( but I want to feel retired when I am 35 yr old) by then I want to have properties paid off that paid for everything in case I dont the same income now.

  33. Dave says

    What is odd is when people comment about ‘being on track’ and then stating they have 1.4 million dollars in net worth. My question is, on track for what, you should already be retired!

  34. Singh says

    Good to see some numbers to compare my net worth with. I am 36 yrs old, have an engineering degree from a top school. I am married, but my wife is still in school and hasn’t started working yet. My numbers are as follows:

    House equity: $400K-450K
    Various retirement accounts(IRAs, 401Ks, etc.): 385K
    Regular investment: 105K
    Savings bonds: 25K
    Savings account: 77K
    Jewelry, gold, etc.: 25K

    Looks like I just crossed my first million in last few months…hopefully, it’ll grow much faster once my wife also starts working.

  35. Tony B says

    Just so you understand if you have met these numbers you are an absolute financial superstar. I mean you are really doing great. Lightyears ahead of most of the country.

    Let’s look at the 2010 data – the median household retirement account balance for workers aged 55 to 64 was $12,000. A third of households had no retirement savings at all! (“401Ks are a disaster” USA Today 3 April 2013.) 75% of Americans nearing retirement age had less than $30,000 in their retirement accounts, which Forbes called “the greatest retirement crisis in American history.

    If you are 30 and you have $250K you are seriously crushing it. I just say this because if you are not at these levels don’t beat yourself up. I got crushed by the stock market collapse, and then again by the real estate collapse and then had to take care of a sick family member. These numbers are a great goal but unless you have your own successful business or a six-figure job that you planning on committing 30 years to I’m afraid it’s not going to happen.

  36. Penny Smart? says

    Looking for a little guidance and insight from fellow posters on FS, as I have been impressed by the profound insight that has been offered. I am a recently turned 36 y/o married male, with a 220,000 fluctuating income in a sales positions. I have been fortunate that I have been in a relatively high income sales capacity since 26, however, the type of sales I am involved in is more of young man’s game than the middle age that looms in front of me.
    My family’s net worth is as follows:
    -Home is worth approx. $386,000- which we have paid off in full.
    -Retirement is approx. $321,000-I max out every year, but do not have a company match ( yeah working for a start-up)
    -Index Funds-$17,500 via vanguard
    -529 plan: 22,000 for our 18 month old, and we have #2 due early August.
    -Cash: 161,000 in various accounts due to real estate LLC’s
    -Real Estate LLC #1: 2 properties combined value 290,000 that generate 2350.00 a month, I am a member of the LLC with 50% share.
    -Real Estate LLC #2: 2 propreties combined value $280,000 and we owe $43,000. I am a member of a LLC, the properties generate 1925.00 a month. We have approx. 800.00 a month in combined mortgages.

    Through in a few ancillary items ( an e-trade account, wifes wedding ring, and 2 mid 2000 family sedans), and our total net worth is $1.2 million (depending on the markets, etc).

    My game plan was to buy 1-2 100,000 properties a year that would generate at least $1000,00 a month income. However, the property market in the Denver metro has gone nuts, and has most likely made this a pipe dream.

    I like my job, but recognize that it is:
    1. Volatile-you are only as good as your last quarter.
    2. to some degree I have hit a ceiling.
    3. As one would expect for the income, it monopolizes my time. With an expanding family, I would like to “live life a little more.”

    I am highly disciplined, and have been able to follow a budget the last few years. As you can tell, I am debt adverse. What would be some strategies other readers of Financial Samurai might employ at this point to increase net worth and also create cash producing assets for the elusive passive income we all crave?

    Thoughts, as the real estate boom, has forced me to look for other avenues?

    • wallstreet25 says

      You are kind of rich, so my advice to you is to get an advisor. why? easy, because if you dont hire ppl like my boss, then why would my boss hire people like me. Then if I dont get paid, then i dont get educated. Additionally, you seem pretty sophisticated with your llcs. go to barron’s find a legit one you like in the top bsds of the state. Most of them only go for ppl with a mill though meaning you are going to have to liquidate your stuff to even be considered, but juss sell them on your baller salary. Make sure their fees are reasonable at 1%. Anything more, i’d look elsewhere, they are likely charging you higher because they think your account is too small for them in which case find another. Having said that here is some short advice about real estate macro wise:

      real estate prices are more stable especially ones that are not publicly traded like yours. You are also renting out these assets, so it is not like your cash flow is negative. If I were you, and I had your expertise in real estate, I would stick to it. Its a more stable game (excluding the last decade, this shit was just bubblicious). You seem to be a worrier who likes to make active decisions. So i advice you to continue what you are doing. Your Real estate is pretty concentrated though, which is a big concern. I like the idea of having multiple 100k real estate assets, dats kind of diversified if you have a mill. Additionally you could buy reits, but they are almost equivalent in volatility to equity markets. I’m going to guess your sales job is correlated to equity markets, so your diversification to real assets is a huge positive, since everyone needs shelter. You are right to have concern though as I am for sure that real estate is going back to its regular crap 3% nominal returns in no time. I dont care how fast the economy picks up, rates will rise with it, and it will hold house prices from goin up, but I doubt it will go down as well since it is a renting asset that you can raise rents from. So as people become richer via higher wages, you can juss collect it through higher rent. Lastly these renters are cash starved and their credit may not close that deal. At the same time, interest rates will rise making their payments higher while banks gobble up their higher income. Meaning: they aint going to buy a home anytime soon meaning your rent income is safe.

      In any case, i have no idea about denver specifically, but if you are concerned, then you need to start divesting slowly. Try to get get good prices you dont have to get out right away. Federal reserve will not notch them rates until next year (this is consensus, i think), additionally they are only targeting short term rates, not long term rates, we could end up with a flatter yield curve, meaning short term rates equal long term rates. If you worry this much about the real estate market, then you are not going to be happy with equity markets. That being said equity markets have the highest rate of return at ~10%. Not gonna get a cap rate like that. Anyways good luck! I personally dont think I can hit your number at your age so mad props.

  37. Jake says

    I consider myself above average. I started out of college with a good IT consulting job making $42k in 1998. Consistently have made 10% per year raises until now. I took your numbers and one would have to save 26% of pre-tax income and make 7% yearly on that to make it work. Thats fairly aggresive I would think. I would put myself in the top 20% of my peers from an income standpoint based on what I know. Perhaps “Above Average” isnt the right description. I would call your numbers probably a top 10% or top 5% scenario.

  38. Feeling Poor says

    I’m 42 years old and feel pretty good about myself until I read this site. I have a 100k year job (plus 20k or so in bonuses) but am a bit behind on the 401k balance. A lot of that has to do with aggressively paying on my house because it makes me feel good to have a a mortgage free house.

    My wife who isn’t a saver makes considerably less: around 40k.

    Our house is easily worth 300k with no mortgage.
    We just paid off a condo worth around 130k (for a college residence–I intend to try to rent it out afterwards, or sell it).
    350k in 401k (I’ve recently bumped up my contributions to start maxing it out)
    Around 68K in Roth IRAs
    Around 80k in 529 plans
    Around 50k in an e-trade type of after tax account–this is where I want to start aggressively building up passive income investments, with dividend stocks and REITS.
    Around 30k in cash savings.
    Both of our jobs currently have defined benefit pension plans in place, both of which we are vested in–I don’t put a dollar figure on those but figure those will provide 3k to 4k in retirement income when we retire, depending upon when we retire and then when we choose to draw it.

    I generally don’t count 529 plans in my net worth. Without those Quicken is telling me I’m right at 950k . . so approaching one million. I’ve probably been too conservative and skittish when it comes to 401k savings rates and investment choices.

    Which ought to be pretty good. But this site makes me feel poor.

    The upshot: I have no mortgage so maybe I can double down on the retirement savings.

    What do you think?

    • Thomas47 says

      I don’t think you should feel “poor” :-)

      You deserve credit for how well you’ve done, and you seem to have potential to save even more. When I read many of these posts, I feel motivated and inspired to see how I can improve.

      Be inspired.

  39. Gocong says

    This article is bs about saving $17,500 a year into 401k for people who just got out of college.

    An average American makes $45k a year.
    If you were to put $17.5k into the 401k plan, that leaves you $27.5k before tax. After tax, the take home is $21k thats $1,700 a month.

    How could you survive on a $1,700 a month with the most basic requirements below?

    Rent: $800
    Food: $300
    Gas: $150
    Phone: $50
    Internet: $50
    Student loan: $150
    Car insurance: $100
    Utilities: $150
    Entertainment: $200
    Car maintenance: $100
    Household items such as toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, clothing, …$200

    You also need to get a life by having friends, families, vacations, dating,…

    This article is too bs

  40. Catherine Jean Rose says

    Great article. I’m 40 and my husband is 44. He lost his job one year ago and started his own business – which he loves – but now makes about half of his former salary.

    Our home is valued at $350,000. Neighbors (comparable) just sold theirs for $372,000. We owe $70,000 and plan to pay off entirely within two years. I’d like to sell – move into a doublewide – and get my cash out, but the husband and three kids love it here..

    Other than that we drive a 10 year old mini-van and 10 year old truck (both paid for). No credit card/student loan debt or any other nonsense like that.

    So, according to this information I surpass the “average” Joe my age with $280,000 home equity.

    However, Retirement accounts are only at $330,000

    Cash, DRiPs, savings bonds, 529 plans, and Brokerage accounts total $120,000

    Grand total of $730,000 net worth.

    Even though my husband lost his job and employer matching 401k – we both contribute the max to our Roth IRA’s ($5500 each). I also have a pension, and contribute an additional $9600 annually to a 403b.

    I can’t believe some of the people wanting 10million or more to be happy! I don’t want to work past 50 or 55. My husband is already semi-retired and loving it. I guess the question for each of us is when is “enough” enough? With no mortgage, I can live comfortably on about $30,000 a year – but that’s me – low maintenance and frugal.

    • Financial Samurai says

      Gotta love low maintenance and frugal people. I experienced two years of early retirement and I must say, you need much less than you think to be happy in retirement.

      Save on!

  41. Mary N says

    I am 59 YO with 896K in 401K/IRA and 65K in pensions. I have 516K equity in my move that is worth 600K. I figure my net worth is $1.3M- how does this line up with the above average?

  42. Kyle says

    I’m 27 years old, work in the financial services industry making about $70K a year. I have $120K in home equity, $37K in stocks, $27K in 401K (contributing 10% with 6% match), $4K in cash just for expenses. Only debt right now is a car that I’m paying down, about $14K. I’m frugal and don’t need material things at all to be happy, just give me my kindle with my books and I’m set. Any suggestions? I think I just need to find a way to make more money! Let the applications begin.

  43. Squid4Life says

    I see a lot of people doubt you can make a decent amount of money and be relatively young. I am not from a wealthy family and yet I made it just fine. At 34 I am pretty well off and that was due to a lot of HARD work. If you really want something you will find a way to get there. Take it from this single parent who became financially independent in five years without a dime of child support. I still do work because an opportunity presented itself that I just had to take, it was directly in line with what I wanted to do with my life and I thoroughly enjoy what I do. Save, invest (in the market and in yourself) and develop some kind of discipline.

    Net worth 7 figures :)

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