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A Look at the Average American's Savings

Tyler Parker, Preferred Banking Office Manager, First Republic Bank
January 13, 2022

  • Many factors affect the average American's savings, including age, education level and income bracket.
  • Retirement savings is considered a different pot of savings versus total account balances.
  • Ways to increase savings include creating a budget, automating savings, consolidating debt and speaking with a financial professional to make a plan.

The average American's savings varies by household and demographic. As of 2019, per the U.S. Federal Reserve, the median transaction account balance (checking and savings combined) for the American family was $5,300; the mean (or average) transaction account balance was $41,600.

With these figures in mind, how much does the average American save a month? Savings-specific data are difficult to come by, but the 2019 Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances provides information about transaction account balances, which cover both average checking account and average savings account balances. Here, we’ll primarily explore the latest transaction account balance data from this survey.

Average savings by age

We can identify savings trends based on age. Older age groups, for example, generally have larger mean and median account balances (though some exceptions exist). A more than $6,000 differential appears between the median account balances of Americans younger than 35 and Americans older than 75.

Here are some key statistics:

Age

Median Balance of Accounts

Mean Balance of Accounts

Younger than 35

$3,240

$11,250

35 to 44

$4,710

$27,910

45 to 54

$5,620

$48,200

55 to 64

$6,400

$55,320

65 to 74

$8,000

$57,670

75 and older

$9,300

$60,410

Average savings by education level

The data on the average American's savings balance also correlate to education level. The data concerning education support the conclusion that more education typically translates to higher bank account balances. Higher education likely explains the difference in savings levels: it paves the way to higher-paying employment and thus the ability to save a percentage of one's income.  

Here are some key statistics:

Education

Median Balance of Accounts

Mean Balance of Accounts

No high school diploma

$1,020

$9,190

High school diploma

$2,050

$20,100

Some college

$3,900

$23,550

College degree

$15,400

$78,890

Average savings by income percentile

The Federal Reserve’s data also shed light on the relation between income and account balances. The income data suggest higher income correlates to higher savings. For example, Americans who earn less than $20,000 have a median account balance of nearly $70,000 less than those who make $90,000 to $100,000.

Here are some key statistics:

Income Percentile

Median Balance of Accounts

Mean Balance of Accounts

Less than $20,000

$810

$8,400

$20,000 to $39,900

$2,050

$1,126

$40,000 to $59,000

$4,320

$16,390

$60,000 to $79,900

$10,000

$28,680

$80,000 to $80,900

$20,000

$51,850

$90,000 to $100,000

$70,000

$190,660

Average retirement savings

Researchers have also looked at retirement savings, which is typically considered a separate savings concept from traditional checking and savings account balances. Looking at these data are correlated to age can highlight the way American households save money when preparing for the future. Keep in mind that the amounts are shown in the table for ages 75 and older reflect the fact that these individuals are likely drawing on their retirement and/or no longer contributing to their retirement. 

Here are some key statistics:

Age

Median Balance of Retirement Accounts

Mean Balance of Retirement Accounts

Younger than 35

$13,000

$30,170

35 to 44

$60,000

$131,950

45 to 54

$100,000

$254,720

55 to 64

$134,000

$408,420

65 to 74

$164,000

$426,070

75 and older

$83,000

$357,920

Tips for maximizing your savings

A thorough approach to savings is essential to any financial plan, and creating a strategic approach is a deliberate way to boost savings. Saving wisely can help you achieve financial goals while ensuring you have enough emergency savings in case of unexpected expenses.

Savings tips include:

  1. Create a budget: Budgeting can help you know exactly where your money is going each month, enabling you to develop strategies to reduce spending and contribute more money to savings.

  2. Automate your savings: Scheduling automatic allocations from your monthly income to either a savings account or retirement plan can help you ensure you are contributing to your savings on a regular basis. 

  3. Consider creating separate accounts: Having separate bank accounts for different purposes — for instance, one for checking and one for savings — can help you ensure savings remain untouched.

  4. Save different ways: Using different savings vehicles, such as money market accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs), can give you steady returns you can devote to savings, and better protect you against market fluctuations. You can also put money into investments, such as mutual funds, to grow your savings.

  5. Consolidate debt: Consolidating debts, such as credit card debt, to a lower interest rate can aid you in saving money in the long term, helping you reduce your overall payments each month and enabling you to contribute to savings and retirement accounts.

  6. Consult a financial professional: Financial experts can provide a holistic custom savings plan based on your financial situation, which can allow you to grow your account balances, as well as your retirement savings.

Once again, a strong savings balance can help ensure long-term financial wellness. Doing so begins with looking at your savings strategically and creating both a budget and a family savings plan

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