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Are You on Track for Retirement? See How You Compare to Your Peers.

Updated: Feb 20

Middle aged family with their adult son

Written by John Hall

Financial Milestones: Saving for Retirement at Different Ages

Retirement planning is a journey that requires foresight, discipline, and strategic financial management. One of the key questions individuals often ask themselves is: How much should I have saved at various stages of my life to retire comfortably? While there's no one-size-fits-all answer, setting savings goals based on age milestones can provide a helpful framework. Let's explore how much a 35-year-old, 45-year-old, and 55-year-old should have saved to retire at 65 with a nest egg of $1.5 million.

35 Years Old:

At age 35, retirement might seem like a distant goal, but it's an ideal time to kick-start savings efforts. Financial experts often recommend having saved around one times your annual salary by this age. Assuming a median income of $60,000, a 35-year-old should aim to have roughly $60,000 saved for retirement. However, to accumulate $1.5 million by age 65, early and consistent saving is crucial.

  • Savings Goal: By 35, aim to have saved at least $60,000. Strategy: Start contributing to retirement accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs, or other employer-sponsored plans. Take advantage of employer matching contributions and aim to save at least 10-15% of your income annually.

45 Years Old:

As individuals reach their mid-40s, retirement savings should be a significant focus. By age 45, it's recommended to have around three times your annual salary saved for retirement. With a median income of $60,000, this translates to approximately $180,000 saved. While catching up if you're behind can be challenging, it's not impossible with disciplined saving and investment strategies.

  • Savings Goal: By 45, aim to have saved around $180,000. Strategy: Maximize contributions to retirement accounts, take advantage of catch-up contributions if eligible, and consider diversifying investments to potentially accelerate growth. Reevaluate spending habits and prioritize saving to reach your target.

55 Years Old:

Approaching the retirement age of 65, individuals in their mid-50s should have a more substantial nest egg. By age 55, financial advisors recommend having saved around five times your annual salary for retirement. With a median income of $60,000, this equates to approximately $300,000 saved. While this may seem daunting, diligent saving combined with wise investment decisions can help bridge the gap.

  • Savings Goal: By 55, aim to have saved around $300,000. Strategy: Maximize contributions to retirement accounts and take advantage of any additional catch-up contributions. Consider rebalancing your investment portfolio to manage risk appropriately as retirement draws nearer. Explore potential supplemental income streams or downsizing expenses to boost savings.

Final Thoughts

Saving for retirement is a marathon, not a sprint. Starting early, staying disciplined, and adjusting strategies as you age are key to achieving financial security in retirement. While these milestones provide guidance, individual circumstances and goals may vary. People are living longer and you should plan as though you expect to live twenty or more years in retirement. Consulting with a financial advisor can help tailor a personalized plan to ensure you're on track to retire comfortably. Remember, it's never too late to start saving, and every dollar saved today brings you closer to your retirement dreams.

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