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? ›

Nearly half of American households have no retirement savings, says USA Facts. The cost of living has been the topic of conversation across the country. As families continue working to make ends meet, a report from USA Facts reflects that almost half of American households have no retirement savings.

What percentage of Americans have $0 saved for retirement? ›

The financial services company surveyed more than 1,000 Americans regarding their retirement savings. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they have $0 set aside for their later years.

What percentage of US households have a retirement account? ›

Washington, DC; February 29, 2024—ICI's latest research shows in mid-2023, 55.5 million US households, or 42.2 percent, reported that they owned individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

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

Among the chief shortfalls of the U.S. retirement system is access to a workplace retirement plan, experts said. About half of workers don't have access and are unlikely to save for retirement outside a 401(k)-type plan, they said.

Why are Americans not saving for retirement? ›

Another big part of the problem when it comes to saving for retirement is that savings plans are not universally available in the U.S. Almost half of private sector employees ages 18 to 64, or 57 million Americans, do not have the option to save for retirement at work.

What percent of people over 55 have no money saved for retirement? ›

According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 50% of women and 47% of men between the ages of 55 and 66 have no retirement savings.

How many Americans have $100,000 in savings? ›

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.

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.

How much does the average American have in non retirement savings? ›

The average American has $65,100 in savings — excluding retirement assets — according to Northwestern Mutual's 2023 Planning & Progress Study. That's a 5% increase over the $62,000 reported in 2022.

How much does the average middle class person have in retirement savings? ›

Median retirement savings: $87,000

The median retirement savings for American households has been growing since 1989 with few exceptions. Americans are saving more for retirement than they did 30 years ago in spite of economic challenges. Data source: Federal Reserve (2023). Values are in 2022 dollars.

Do half 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.

How do people retire with no savings? ›

Many retirees with little to no savings rely solely on Social Security as their main source of income. You can claim Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but your benefit amount will depend on when you start filing for the benefit. You get less than your full benefit if you file before your full retirement age.

Can I retire at 65 with 500k? ›

The short answer is yes, $500,000 is enough for many retirees. The question is how that will work out for you. With an income source like Social Security, modes spending, and a bit of good luck, this is feasible. And when two people in your household get Social Security or pension income, it's even easier.

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.

Is 100k in retirement by 30 good? ›

Recent data from Northwestern Mutual shows that the average 30-something has $67,400 saved for retirement. So if you're sitting on a $100,000 savings balance at age 30, it means you're ahead of the game. But is having $100,000 by age 30 enough for you to stop pumping money into your IRA or 401(k)?

How to retire at 60 with no money? ›

If you retire with no money, you'll have to consider ways to create income to pay your living expenses. That might include applying for Social Security retirement benefits, getting a reverse mortgage if you own a home, or starting a side hustle or part-time job to generate a steady paycheck.

How many Americans retire with no money? ›

A survey by the insurance firm Prudential found that 82% of Gen Xers are not confident they'll ever be able to fully retire . But this was far from the only generation to fall behind. Twenty-eight percent of Americans aged 18 to 24 had nothing in their nest eggs, as did 25% of 55-to-64-year-olds.

What percent of Americans have zero savings? ›

Nearly one in four (22%) of U.S. adults have no emergency savings at all, Bankrate found—the second-lowest percentage in 13 years of polling. That's especially bad news given that most Americans would need at least six months of emergency savings to feel comfortable day-to-day.

What percent of Americans had no saving? ›

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. Note: Not all percentages total 100 due to rounding. Also, nearly one in four (22 percent) U.S. adults said they have no emergency savings.

How many Americans are not financially prepared for retirement? ›

In September 2022, 55% of American workers said they felt behind and 35% felt “significantly behind.” Around one-quarter of workers haven't made retirement contributions in at least a year. 22% of American workers said they weren't making retirement contributions in 2023 or 2022.


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