According to the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, the average US household net worth is a whopping $692,100! And that’s based on data from 2016, when the S&P 500 was ~30% lower. Further, real estate prices in many major cities have also increased substantially since 2016. Surely, the average US household net worth will be even higher when the next survey comes out in 2019.
What’s also interesting from the chart below is that the average net worth for a college educated person is $1,511,000 compared to a net worth of only $249,600 for someone with just a high school diploma.
Further, the average net worth for a homeowner is $1,034,200 versus only $91,100 for a renter. A 11X difference is massive! For all of you who still think it’s wiser to short the real estate market by renting over the long-term, the data does not support your belief.
Redemption For Above Average People
A lot of people have given me grief about my Average Net Worth For The Above Average Person post. People said my figures were too aggressive. Some even said I was out of touch with reality, implying their reality was more real than my reality. Fascinating!
But given the median age in America is about 38, you can see that my estimate of $660,250 for an above average 40-year-old is actually a little conservative compared to the Federal Reserve figures. This makes sense because when I created my net worth guideline chart in 2012, the S&P 500 was 25% lower than in 2016, and the real estate market still hadn’t taken off.
Financial Samurai is not an average personal finance site. I want us to achieve financial independence ASAP through aggressive wealth accumulation. We can only save so much, which is why I’m so focused on investing, entrepreneurship, real estate, and alternative investments like venture debt and real estate crowdfunding.
My hope is that we can all live our best lives without needing to live like paupers in a cave somewhere. Aggressive savings is a given precept we should all practice. Financial independence is all about turning our savings into elite money warriors who will defend our freedom forever.
Given the latest data from the Federal Reserve, it’s only right that I update my above average net worth figures for 2019 and beyond.
The Median US Household Net Worth
Clearly, the $692,100 average US household net worth figured is skewed by the super-rich who’ve done extremely well since the financial crisis. But it’s still a good number to know if you want to compare yourself to the average.
The median net worth of US households is a more pedestrian $97,300. Median is the middle point where half the households have more and half have less.
$97,300 isn’t terrible, but you’re certainly not going to be retiring any time soon if that’s all you got at around 38-40 years old. You will likely go the traditional route of working until at least 62 when you can start collecting Social Security.
I don’t want Financial Samurai readers to compare their net worths to the median because it will give you a false sense of security. If you’ve got a $200,000 net worth at age 40, you might start patting yourself on the back, when in reality, you’re just comparing yourself to the fella that slacked off in school and graduated with a D- GPA!
Here are the median and average net worth by age according to the Federal Reserve Survey:
Under 35: Median net worth: $11,100, Average net worth: $76,200
35-44: Median net worth $59,800, Average net worth: $288,700
45-54: Median net worth $124,200, Average net worth $727,500
55-64: Median net worth $187,300, Average net worth $1,167,400
65-74: Median net worth $224,100, Average net worth $1,066,000
75+: Median net worth: $264,800, Average net worth $1,067,000
As you can see from the data, the average 55+ year old is a millionaire, which is exactly what I expect all personal finance readers to be by the time they turn 55 years old as well. Heck, based on 401(k) alone, we should all be millionaires by 55.
It’s reassuring to see that the median net worth amount for Americans eligible to start receiving Social Security benefits is around $200,000. Without any debt, living off a $2,000+ a month Social Security check + $500 – $800 a month in dividend income from $200,000 in investments is doable in most parts of the country.
Note: The current maximum Social Security benefit is $2,788 a month to those who had the maximum taxable earnings for at least 35 working years.
Top 1% Net Worth Levels By Age
Once again, don’t get too comfortable with the Federal Reserve figures – median or average. Although the average household net worth is likely over $700,000 today, the average could be so much greater if Americans weren’t so addicted to consumerism.
If you really want to get motivated, take a look at the chart I created below highlighting the top 1% income by age and multiplying each figure by an ideal income multiplier to figure out what the top 1% net worth is by age.
Yes, these net worth figures will be difficult to achieve, hence why only around 1% of the population can achieve them. But if you focus on building multiple income streams, continuously take calculated career and investment risks, religiously track your net worth, and stay disciplined with your consumption habits, you’ll come closer to these figures than the average American who doesn’t focus on their finances until it’s too late.
Achieving a net worth equal to 20X your average annual income is the level where the true feeling of financial freedom begins to happen. Give it a go and when you get there, let me know if you agree.
Despite all the doom and gloom about how the average American is woefully unprepared for retirement, we now know that the average American is a big proponent of Stealth Wealth. Congratulations everyone! Time to treat yourself to something special.
My boy needs a new pair of shoes.
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