Do you ever ask yourself “How Do You Compare To The Typical American?”
I know I’ve asked it in my mind, and I suspect most of you have asked it in yours. Even if you’re a European, an Aussie, or a Korean friend, you could still ask yourself that question with a voyeuristic interest in how you compare to folks living in the USA.
Today, we’ll give you a chance to answer that question.How Do You Compare To The Typical American? Today, you'll know. Click To Tweet
I read a fascinating study last week, and it led to the words I’m writing today. I’ve outlined some of the key findings of the study in today’s post. If you’d like to read the source survey, it’s: “The Typical American Financial Life”, which is a fascinating and wide-reaching study of 12,000 Americans. All of the graphs in this post are from the study, which the author graciously agreed to let me share with you in today’s post.
Are You On Track For Your Age?
The survey starts with a bang, showing the “typical” ages at which Americans achieve certain financial milestones. This is a great chart and shows why I was instantly intrigued by the survey.
Where do you compare vs. “typical” on these financial achievements?
My Thoughts On Milestones:
- $500k net worth by Age 39? Seems better than I would have suspected of a “Typical American”. I suspect the sample population of 1,200 was skewed a bit to those who have been more responsible with your finances than the “Typical American” population as a whole. Regardless, that makes the findings even more interesting to me, since the “Typical” in this survey may actually be someone who cares about personal finance like you and I do. Personally, I like comparing myself to that population rather than the American population as a whole, so I hope my thesis is correct.
How Does Your Home Ownership Stack Up vs. “Typical”?
If you’re a “typical” millennial, you have a 27% chance of being a homeowner. That jumps to 86% for the typical Baby Boomer. Wow, that’s a HUGE difference!
My Thoughts On Home Ownership:
- Are We Facing A Cultural Shift In Home Ownership? The stacked bars above are, to me, amazing statistics. Look at the difference between Millenials and Baby Boomers! Do you think only 27% of Baby Boomers owned homes when they were the age of current Millenials, or are we seeing a cultural shift away from home ownership? With the “average age” of Millenials in the study cited as 27.8 years, they’re in the peak “home buying years”, so that 27% will certainly climb. I wonder if it will climb to the 86% homeownership rate among Baby Boomers. I suspect not.
Since you are, at this very moment, reading a personal finance blog about retirement, I suspect most of the readers of The Retirement Manifesto are ahead of the “typical” American when it comes to retirement readiness.
Let’s see how you stack up:
My Thoughts On Retirement Readiness:
- More GenX’ers are saving for retirement than Baby Boomers! While the numbers are close, the survey shows that GenX’ers are slightly ahead of Baby Boomers in retirement readiness! While 59% of GenX’ers have started saving for retirement, only 58% of Baby Boomers can say the same thing. It’s concerning to me that over 40% of Baby Boomers have not yet started saving for retirement! Among Baby Boomers that haven’t yet started, the average age at which they plan to start saving for retirement is Age 60! If you’re in that group, I hate to break it to you, but you’re in trouble. On a positive note, it’s interesting to see the age at which folks who are saving started to contribute to their retirement savings. Note the big spike in the Age 25 bar in the chart on the lower right. Compounding will work it’s magic for a lot of people, and I sincerely hope you’re among folks in that group. If not, you may want to read “It’s Never Too Late To Start Saving For Retirement”, the story of a couple who had $0 saved at Age 50, yet managed to retire at Age 65.
Feelings About Saving Money
Do feelings differ about saving money between men and women? How about between savers vs. non-savers? As you’d expect, there’s a big difference between those who have saved, and those who haven’t. There’s not as much difference between men and women:
My Thoughts On Feelings:
- Anxiety Vs. Happiness: Need I say more? Anxiety shows up for non-savers, regardless of sex. It doesn’t make the top 3 among savers. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be Happy than Anxious. Enough said.
So, how do you compare to the typical American? I always enjoy the interaction in the comments and look forward to your thoughts on how you compare. I suspect most of you will find yourself “above average”, based solely on the fact that you’re reading this post.
However, given that 42% of Baby Boomers have saved nothing for retirement, it’s almost certain that someone in your circle of acquaintances has $0 saved. I suspect they’re anxious. Please consider sending them a copy of this post, and encourage them that it’s never too late to start.
BTW, I get a lot of emails from you, the reader, and I can’t tell you how good it makes you feel when someone tells you that you’re making a difference in their life (thanks for your recent note, Roger, it made my week!). I love those emails, and I thank the many of you who have taken the time to write.
Look for areas where you can also influence a life for good, and see if you can gently coach someone who needs some help getting started with their retirement savings.
Let’s work together in…..
Helping People Achieve A Great Retirement!