Nearly half of American households have no retirement savings (2024)

In 2022, almost half of American households had no savings in retirement accounts, according to the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). These accounts include individual retirement accounts; Keogh accounts; certain employer-sponsored accounts, such as 401(k), 403(b), thrift savings accounts; and pensions.

Personal saving has grown more important as employers have shifted away from defined benefit plans, or pensions, putting more of the responsibility on workers to plan for retirement. In 1989, half of working households ages 50 to 60 had a defined benefit plan. In 2022, only a quarter did.

How much do people save for retirement?

In 2022, about 46% of households reported any savings in retirement accounts. Twenty-six percent had saved more than $100,000, and 9% had more than $500,000.

These percentages were only somewhat higher for older people. Those ages 50 to 54 were the most likely to have a retirement account. About 63% in this age group had any savings, and 35% had saved more than $100,000.

Households with more than $0 saved for retirement, by age

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Retirement savings accounts are not the only place that people could store money for retirement. Is it possible that people are primarily saving their money elsewhere?

Who has more than $0 in these types of accounts?

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Retirement Savings

e.g. IRA, Keogh, pensions

Checking and Savings

Including money market accounts

Financial Assets

e.g. Liquid assets, stocks, bonds

Most American households have at least $1,000 in checking or savings accounts. But only about 12% have more than $100,000 in checking and savings. About 45 percent of the households nearing retirement age have that amount of financial assets, including checking and savings accounts,retirement accounts, stocks, bonds, and certificates of deposit.

Higher percentages of households have a net worth of at least $100,000, especially as they grow older. Net worth includes non-liquid assets, such as a vehicle or house, that would have to be sold to provide income.

Even including these assets, many Americans appear to be set up to depend heavily on Social Security benefits after they stop working. Workers currently younger than 63 are eligible for full Social Security retirement benefits at 67. The average yearly Social Security benefit is currently about $22,000.

How do your retirement savings compare to others?

Households with higher incomes have more saved no matter what is counted as retirement savings.

How do your savings compare to other households?

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At 30 to 34 years old, median retirement savings was$4.7K.


The median household between the ages of 30 and 34 had $4,700 in dedicated retirement accounts, $7,000 in checking and savings accounts, $20,100 in financial assets, and a net worth of $89,800. (In the surveys, the age of the household reflects the male’s age in mixed sex couples and the older individual in same-sex couples.)

At ages 55 to 59, the median household had $24,500 in retirement accounts, $7,900 in checking and savings accounts, $76,000 in financial assets, and a net worth of $320,700.

Read more about the net worth for different types of families, the wait time for Social Security disability benefits, and get the facts every week by signing up for our newsletter.

Sources & Footnotes

Nearly half of American households have no retirement savings (2024)


Nearly half of American households have no retirement savings? ›

According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, in 2022 almost half of American household retirement savings accounts were empty. The accounts included individual retirement accounts; Keogh accounts; certain employer-sponsored accounts, such as 401(k), 403(b), thrift savings accounts; and pensions.

Why is it difficult for almost half of Americans to save for retirement? ›

And saving for retirement is only becoming more difficult as Americans deal with rising costs. Escalating housing, healthcare, and long-term care costs in retirement are creating financial obstacles for many Americans.

What percentage of Americans are saving enough for retirement? ›

62% of Americans aged 18 to 29 have retirement savings, but only 28% feel on track
AgeAny retirement savingsRetirement savings on track
30 to 4475%39%
45 to 5984%45%
1 more row
Mar 18, 2024

Why are Americans not saving for retirement? ›

Saving is hard. Few jobs offer traditional pensions anymore. A 401(k) puts the burden of financial management largely on the employee. And Social Security is a labyrinth of complex regulations and difficult calculations, administered by a seemingly indifferent bureaucracy.

How many households have no savings? ›

As of May 2023, more than 1 in 5 Americans have no emergency savings. Nearly one in three (30 percent) people in 2023 had some emergency savings, but not enough to cover three months of expenses. This is up from 27 percent of people in 2022.

Do half of Americans have no retirement savings? ›

As families continue working to make ends meet, a report from USA Facts reflects that almost half of American households have no retirement savings. According to the Survey of Consumer Finances, in 2022 almost half of American household retirement savings accounts were empty.

Do most Americans have enough saved for retirement? ›

More Than Half of Americans Have Less Than $10,000 Saved

Many Americans have a long way to go when it comes to affording retirement. According to the survey, 53% have less than $10,000 saved.

What does life without retirement savings look like? ›

Without savings, it will be difficult to maintain the same lifestyle an individual had in working years. Some retirees make adjustments by: Moving into a smaller home or apartment. Reducing television or streaming services.

How much does the average 70 year old have in savings? ›

The Federal Reserve also measures median and mean (average) savings across other types of financial assets. According to the data, the average 70-year-old has approximately: $60,000 in transaction accounts (including checking and savings) $127,000 in certificate of deposit (CD) accounts.

What is the average 401k balance at age 65? ›

Average and median 401(k) balances by age
Age rangeAverage balanceMedian balance
2 more rows
Mar 13, 2024

How much money does the average American retire with? ›

The Federal Reserve's most recent data reveals that the average American has $65,000 in retirement savings. By their retirement age, the average is estimated to be $255,200.

Is 100K in retirement by 30 good? ›

“By the time you're 40, you should have three times your annual salary saved. Based on the median income for Americans in this age bracket, $100K between 25-30 years old is pretty good; but you would need to increase your savings to reach your age 40 benchmark.”

Why don t Millennials save for retirement? ›

By some measures, millennials lag on retirement preparedness and net worth relative to older generations such as Gen X and baby boomers. There are many reasons for this, such as a shift away from pensions toward 401(k) plans and high student debt burdens.

Can $1000 last a month? ›

The harsh truth is that $1,000 per month is very hard to live on, even if you lower your costs to the bare minimum. With inflation causing the prices of goods and services to increase every year, $1,000 a month will become harder and harder to live on going forward.

How much money does the average American have in their bank account? ›

According to the Federal Reserve's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances, the median savings account balance for all families was $8,000 in 2022. Savings account balances can vary greatly depending on income, age, education and race.

How much money does the average person have in their bank account? ›

About 29% of respondents have between $501 and $5,000 in their savings accounts, while the remaining 21% of Americans have $5,001 or more. Few hold much cash in their checking accounts as well. Of those surveyed, 60% report having $500 or less in their checking accounts, while only about 12% have $2,001 or more.

What are two reasons Americans don't save more for retirement Quizlet? ›

What are two reasons Americans don't save more for retirement? Aside from inflation, respondents cited stagnant or reduced income, new expenses and the desire to keep more cash on hand as key reasons they're not saving more.

How many Americans fear running out of money in retirement? ›

New survey results released by the AARP this week paint a less optimistic outlook for Americans ages 50 and up, with 20% indicating they have no retirement savings. Moreover, 61% say they worry they will not have enough money in retirement.

Do most people spend less in retirement? ›

Starting at age 55, spending tends to increase slightly, as some younger retirees travel or take on new pursuits. In the age range when most are retired at 65+, there is a significant drop in overall spending. Source: Consumer Expenditure Survey data 2022, average US retiree total expenses by age.

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