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Do You Know if You Are Saving Enough?

I remember when I was in my 20’s hearing that if your salary was your age, you were doing well. I think in my 30’s people would say if you were making 2–3 times your age you were doing really well. A number of investment companies have said if you save 10% of your salary you are doing great and much better than the average person. I often wonder if I have saved enough at this stage of my life. Did I have too much fun in my early years and because of that will work until I am 88?

One thing is for sure: whatever I didn’t save in those years is behind me, and I can never get it back.

I find discussions about money and savings very difficult. In my life there are maybe three friends I could have those types of conversations with. My sense is that most people are in the same boat. Of course I could have the conversation with my mom and dad, but no matter how much I have saved, it isn’t enough in their eyes.

A few weeks ago I was reading an article that I thought was very interesting, and I found it helped me answer these questions:

  1. How am I doing?
  2. Have I saved enough?
  3. How do I compare against other people?

VIP Forum, a Washington-based group that researches wealth and wealth management practices, does the number crunching to create The Wealth Scoreboard. The basic data comes from The Survey of Consumer Finances, a survey done every three years by the Federal Reserve. The last survey was in 2004.

THE WEALTH SCOREBOARD

The table shows the median net worth for households as of 2004, arranged by age of the chief wage earner. To find your rank, go to the appropriate age category and find the net worth closest to yours (dollars in thousands):

Age of Chief earner Top 1% Top 5% Top 10% Top 25% Median
80 or older $3,349 $1,770 $1,149 $536 $188
70-79 $9,198 $1,945 $1,106 $489 $183
60-69 $10,188 $3,075 $1,522 $699 $232
50-59 $9,554 $2,223 $1,180 $570 $188
40-49 $4,710 $1,297 $746 $353 $113
30-39 $1,971 $451 $272 $121 $39
20-29 $607 $206 $103 $30 $6

I hope you find this chart very useful. I know I have.

Please post any comments you have regarding any financial metrics you have heard over the years or best practices that work for you.

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