How Does Your Net Worth Compare to People Your Age?

Saving is not a competition, but if you’re wondering where you stand, here’s the average net worth by age in the U.S. Plus: tips on increasing yours.

Written by Melissa A. Watkins / December 9, 2021

Quick Bites

  • Net worth can be an easy way to understand your financial condition, and a helpful tool for spotting things you need to do to improve your financial future.
  • To calculate your net worth, add up all your savings and other assets and subtract any debt you owe.
  • Knowing the median net worth can help you understand how your net worth measures up to the rest of your age group. Average net worth can help you decide on your net worth target.
  • You can increase your net worth by saving money, paying off debts, investing and hiring a financial advisor.

Of course it’s impolite to ask how much money someone makes or how much they’re worth, but c’mon, we’ve all been in situations where we’re dying to know how a friend could afford a new BMW or an addition to their house.

While we can’t answer for your friends, we can provide a broader picture. We’ve researched the net worth of Americans in various age groups, and the numbers may surprise you.

While net worth is not the only number that defines your financial value, it’s one of the most important. Knowing how your net worth compares can help you set realistic goals, decide on good financial habits and keep you from stressing out about how you measure up with your peers.

Use your net worth as a tool to understand your finances better, and you’ll be ready for big financial decisions and opportunities when they arrive.

Inside this article

  1. What is net worth?
  2. Net worth by age
  3. How does yours compare?
  4. How can you increase it?

What is net worth?

Net worth is a measurement of your total financial assets.[1]

It’s not your salary or your credit score. It’s a number that gives an overall idea of how much money you are worth. It can be an easy way to understand your financial condition and progress, and a helpful tool for spotting things you need to do to improve your financial future.

How to Calculate Your Net Worth

Calculating your net worth is pretty simple, though it may take some legwork to gather all your financial information. Basically, you want to add up all your savings and other assets, and subtract any debt you owe.

If you’re not sure of what asset to add up, here’s a helpful list:

  • Money in your savings and checking accounts

  • Real estate: The current value, not the amount of the mortgage on it

  • Investments: This includes things like stocks, bonds, ETFs and mutual funds

  • Retirement accounts: This includes 401(k)s and employee pensions

  • Life insurance policies: Specifically the cash value of any permanent policies you own[2]

Once you add up the cash value of all of these things, it’s time to subtract the value of what you owe. This includes things like:

  • Mortgage: Use the amount that you have left to pay

  • Car loans and other personal loans

  • Credit card bills

  • Medical and dental bills

  • Unpaid taxes

Once you add up the value of these two lists individually, subtract what you owe from what you own. The number you have left is your net worth.

But what does net worth really mean? One way to begin understanding that number is to look at the net worth of other people your age.

What’s the average net worth by age?

Here’s what average net worth for different age groups in the USA is, according to the Federal Reserve[3]:

  • Under 35: $76,340

  • 35 to 44: $437,770

  • 45 to 54: $833,790

  • 55 to 64: $1,176,520

  • 65 to 74: $1,215,920

  • Older than 75: $958,450

If these numbers seem high, it’s because they represent average net worths, not median.

The average net worth is calculated by adding up all of the net worths in a group, which means that a few really high net worths can skew the results. A few 30-year old billionaires make the average net worth for that age group quite high, even though most people under 35 are children and have very little net worth and no income.

However, if you’re 27 years old and trying to figure out how much money you should have saved, looking at the average net worth can give you a good goal to work toward that you know is attainable for people your age.

In contrast, the median net worth is the number in the middle of a population. Half of the population has a net worth lower than the median, and half has a net worth that’s higher. For comparison, the median net worth for different age groups is[4]:

  • Under 35: $13,900

  • 35 to 44: $91,300

  • 45 to 54: $168,600

  • 55 to 64: $212,500

  • 65 to 74: $266,400

  • Older than 75: $254,800

Looking at these numbers, you can see that if you’re under 45 and have a net worth of $100,000, you’re doing better financially than half of the population. Knowing median net worths can be more helpful for understanding how your net worth measures up to the rest of your age group. On the other hand, average net worth is a good way of deciding your net worth targets—that’s the number you want to meet or exceed.

So, now that you’ve calculated your own net worth and compared it to the national averages and median, let’s use it to understand the answer to a big question.

How does your net worth compare?

It’s important to realize that net worth is just one number in a collection of figures that make up your total financial picture. A financial advisor or creditor would also look at things like your earning potential, quality of investments and total debt compared to the averages for all of those things before making a complete assessment of your financial status and future.

It’s also important to note that there are hidden factors that can influence an individual’s net worth and capability to build net worth as well. Some of those factors include your city of residence and whether or not you have a partner. Other factors are built into our social systems or are processes that can’t be changed by an individual. These include things like age, disability, patterns of discrimination, family wealth and inheritance.

However, if you feel that your net worth is a little low compared to the average (or if you’re an overachiever and want to have a 65-year-old’s net worth by the time you’re 35), there are choices and changes you can make in almost every situation.

How can I increase my net worth?

Saving more money is of course one way to increase your net worth. But here are some other ideas that could help you achieve your goals:

  • Pay off debt. Some debt, like student loans, medical bills and even credit cards bills can seem inevitable. However, since your net worth is calculated by subtracting the amount you owe from the amount you own, it makes sense to decrease the owed amount. The clear way to do this is to pay down as much debt as you can, so that your assets have a bigger impact on your net worth number.

  • Invest wisely. While you’re saving more money, be sure to put it in places where it will grow. While it’s always good to keep some of your savings in a standard bank account that you can access easily, the interest rates on that type of account can be low. Using some of your savings to invest in stocks or bonds, or even making larger contributions to your retirement accounts can be a way to make your savings grow and increase your net worth.

  • Hire a professional. If you’re not really sure where to start on the path to increasing your net worth, you can always hire a pro. A good financial advisor can help you with a plan specifically for you—from calculating your net worth, to creating a budget that will help you save, to creating a plan to pay off debt or for investing.


Article Sources
  1. DeMatteo, Megan. "What is net worth and why is it important?" Cnbc.com. Published June 8, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/select/what-is-net-worth.
  2. "Know Your Net Worth." Finra.org. https://www.finra.org/investors/personal-finance/know-your-net-worth.
  3. DeMatteo, Megan. "Here’s the average net worth of Americans ages 65 to 74." CNBC.com. Published October 5, 2021. https://www.cnbc.com/select/average-net-worth-of-americans-ages-65-to-74.
  4. "Income and Wealth in the United States: An Overview of Recent Data." Pgpf.org. Published November 17, 2021. https://www.pgpf.org/blog/2021/11/income-and-wealth-in-the-united-states-an-overview-of-data.

About the Author

Melissa A. Watkins

Melissa A. Watkins

Melissa Watkins is a former social and cultural studies lecturer who became a writer. Her financial experiences overseas and abroad include small business ownership, endless side hustles, and founding a networking organization for overseas business owners in South Korea.

Full bio

Related Content