The typical American household has an average of $8,863 in an account at a bank or credit union, according to a recent report from Bankrate that analyzed inflation-adjusted data from the Federal Reserve. That’s purely in liquid savings, so it doesn’t include retirement funds or other investments.
However, that amount varies greatly by age and household type.
Among those 34 and younger, couples without children have the most put away: They have an average of $4,727 in savings. Single people without children in that age range have an average of $2,729 in savings.
However, the situation seems to shift as people age, at least for a while. For those between the ages of 35 and 44, couples with children have the most in savings: an average of $10,399. That’s significantly more than any other household type for that age group. And among those aged 45-54, couples with children also have the highest average savings account balances of their age group, with $15,589.
After about age 65, though, couples without children regain the advantage.
Older families tend to have considerably more put away as well. Couples aged 55-64 with children have the most saved overall, with an average of $17,587 in the bank.
Here’s a closer look at how much money Americans at every age have socked away.
- Singles with children: $1,350
- Singles with no children: $2,729
- Couples with children: $3,682
- Couples with no children: $4,727
- Singles with children: $2,422
- Singles with no children: $3,693
- Couples with children: $10,399
- Couples with no children: $5,306
- Singles with children: $4,163
- Singles with no children: $5,763
- Couples with children: $15,589
- Couples with no children: $11,483
- Singles with children: $6,911
- Singles with no children: $6,786
- Couples with children: $17,587
- Couples with no children: $15,722
- Singles with children: $6,652
- Singles with no children: $7,292
- Couples with children: $13,164
- Couples with no children: $15,297
- Singles with children: $6,909
- Singles with no children: $9,981
- Couples with children: $8,967
- Couples with no children: $16,025
For many families, this amount of savings falls short, some experts warn. “The ultimate destination should be enough to cover six months’ expenses, perhaps nine to 12 months for sole breadwinners or self-employed individuals,” Greg McBride, CFA and chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com, says in the report.
“Here’s the thing with emergency money: More is always better,” best-selling author and co-founder of AE Wealth Management David Bachtells CNBC Make It. “You hear all the time experts say, you should have three months of expenses set side. Well, it depends. In the recession, when people lost their jobs, three months of expenses set aside wasn’t enough.”
Suze Orman argues that, to feel secure, you should have enough money saved to cover at least eight months’ worth of expenses: “Not six months, not three months. I’d like to see you have eight months to one year.”
Meanwhile, other research has found that 60 percent of millennials don’t have enough money to cover a $1,000 emergency.
In addition to building your emergency fund, you should aim to put around 15 percent of your income towards retirement savings, according to the financial services company Fidelity.
If you want to put more away each month, start by cutting back on Americans’ three biggest expenses: housing, transportation and food. You can also research ways to trim your budget and look into strategies for boosting your income.
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