What Percentage Of People Retire With A $1 Million Nest Egg? It's Far Less Than You'd Expect

What Percentage Of People Retire With A $1 Million Nest Egg? It's Far Less Than You'd Expect

What Percentage Of People Retire With A $1 Million Nest Egg? It’s Far Less Than You’d Expect

For decades, the $1 million retirement savings goal has been considered the gold standard for a secure and comfortable post-work life. However, the reality for most Americans is quite different.

According to the Federal Reserve’s latest Survey of Consumer Finances, only about 10% of American retirees have managed to save $1 million or more. This leaves a significant 90% who fall short of this milestone.

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The median retirement savings account balance for all U.S. families, including all age brackets, is currently just $87,000.

Generation X, born between 1965 and 1980, faces a unique set of challenges regarding retirement savings. The median retirement savings for Gen X is around $40,000, which is alarmingly low compared to what they believe they need. On average, Gen Xers think they will need about $1.1 million to retire comfortably. However, they expect only around $661,000 to be saved by retirement, highlighting a substantial gap in their retirement planning.

This generation is in a tricky position. They are the first to rely more heavily on 401(k) plans and IRAs instead of traditional pensions, making them more susceptible to market fluctuations.

Baby Boomers aged 58 to 77 are in or approaching retirement. The median retirement savings for Boomers is about $120,000, while the average savings are higher at around $306,000. Despite being closer to retirement, many Boomers still find themselves far from their retirement goals. They estimate needing around $1 million but often fall short due to financial and economic challenges.

NerdWallet reports that those between 65 and 74 hold an average of $609,230 in retirement savings, with a median of $200,000. This figure is still far below the $1 million target, and many retirees need to adjust their lifestyle expectations significantly.

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So, what sets the 10% who reach the $1 million mark apart? There are a few key strategies that have proven effective:

  • Starting Early: The power of compounding is significant. For example, saving $400 per month starting at age 25 can grow to $1 million by 65, assuming a 7% annual return.

While $1 million is a common target, defining what “enough” means for you personally is key. This involves careful planning, considering expected longevity, health care costs, and desired lifestyle. By setting realistic goals and working with a financial advisor, you can develop a retirement plan that aligns with your specific needs and risk tolerance.

If you aren’t on track to reach the $1 million goal, that’s OK. What’s enough for some might be different for others. Consulting a financial advisor can provide personalized guidance, helping you set achievable goals and craft a strategy tailored to your circumstances. With discipline, strategic planning, and realistic expectations, you can work toward a retirement that fits your unique situation, even if reaching the $1 million mark remains out of reach for many.

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*This information is not financial advice, and personalized guidance from a financial adviser is recommended for making well-informed decisions.

Jeannine Mancini has written about personal finance and investment for the past 13 years in a variety of publications including Zacks, The Nest, and eHow. She is not a licensed financial adviser, and the content herein is for information purposes only and is not, and does not constitute or intend to constitute, investment advice or any investment service. While Mancini believes the information contained herein is reliable and derived from reliable sources, there is no representation, warranty, or undertaking, stated or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information. 

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