Retirement Savings by Age: How Much to Save Benchmarks

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Thinking about saving for retirement is about as much fun as getting a root canal. In fact, I’ve even been putting off writing this blog post! Many of us may not want to think about our retirement savings for fear of becoming overwhelmed and discouraged. However, it’s good to know some benchmarks for retirement savings over the different decades of your life.

By Age 30

Fidelity Investments recommends that by age 30, you should have at least one year’s worth of annual salary saved for retirement. This can be a time to be more aggressive with your retirement investment portfolio. You will have more time to recoup any losses you might incur. Fidelity also suggests that 30 somethings contribute at least 8% of their income to retirement savings, or around $3500/year. The average 401(k) balance for this group is $38,400.


By Age 40

By age 40, it is recommended that you have three times your annual salary in retirement savings. For many people, their 40s are their peak earning years. This can be a time to put any raises or bonuses towards retirement. Around 8% of your salary should be going towards retirement, or around $6500/year. The average 401(k) balance for people in this age group is $93,400.


By Age 50

At this time, retirement may seem like less of an abstraction, and it can be time to start getting serious about retirement savings. Ideally, the earlier you’re able to start saving, the better. Regardless, this can be the time to kick your retirement savings plan into high gear. By age 50 you should have 6 times your annual salary in retirement savings. Fidelity recommends putting away 10% of your salary towards retirement in your 50s. The average 401(k) balance for this group is $160,000.

By Age 60

This is the “now or never” time where savings for retirement should be at their highest, if possible. Ideally, you will have 8 times your annual salary in retirement savings. This is a time to become more conservative with your investment portfolio. Aim to put away at least 11% of your earnings into retirement savings. The average 401(k) balance for this age group is $171,400.

Age 65 and Beyond

Many people set a target date of retirement as 65. However, depending on your circumstances, how much you have saved, and the kind of lifestyle you would like to lead post-retirement, you may have to adjust this timeline. In order to draw full Social Security benefits, you need to wait until at least age 67. Having retirement savings means you would not have to rely as much on Social Security to fund your retirement.

Even if you’re not able to hit the benchmarks in this article, having something in savings is still better than nothing. Remember – don’t be discouraged, every little bit helps! For more financial health tips on retirement savings by age, check out our Money Minute blog: Retirement Saving Tips by Age Group


This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific individual. Regardless of your age, and what you may or may not have saved, consult a Financial Advisor to discuss your retirement needs and to establish a retirement plan.

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