Money

Here's how much the average American family has saved for retirement

Layland Masuda | Getty Images

Many Americans are not prepared for retirement.

In fact, "nearly half of families have no retirement account savings at all, " the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported.

Just how much has the average American family saved up? According to the EPI, the mean retirement savings of all families is $95,776.

But that number doesn't tell the whole story. Since so many families have zero savings and since super-savers can pull up the average, the median savings, or those at the 50th percentile, may be a better gauge. The median for all families in the U.S. is just $5,000, and the median for families with some savings is $60,000.

Retirement account savings are inadequate and unequal

"The large gap between mean retirement savings ($95,776) and median retirement savings ($5,000) indicates inequality — that the large account balances of families with the most savings are driving up the average for all families," the researchers explained.

When it comes to retirement, the rich get richer and the poor barely scrape by, the EPI reported: "Participation in retirement savings plans is highly unequal across income groups. In 2013, nearly nine in 10 families in the top income fifth had retirement account savings, compared with fewer than one in 10 families in the bottom income fifth."

To see how the size of your nest egg stacks up against your peers, check out the average amount families have saved broken down by age:

savings have stagnated in the new millennium

  CEO annual compensation (in thousands)   Worker annual compensation (in thousands)   Stock market (adjusted to 2016)   CEO-to-worker compensation ratio  
 Based on options realizedBased on options grantedPrivate-sector production/nonsupervisory workersFirms industryS&P 500Dow JonesBased on options realizedBased on options granted
1965$843 $800 $40.00 n/a587"6,066"20.2,18.4
1973"$1,102 ""$1,046 "$46.90 n/a519"4,464"22.5,20.5
1978"$1,508 ""$1,431 "$48.00 n/a325"2,774"30.1,27.4
1989"$2,808 ""$2,664 "$45.60 n/a604"4,694"58.9,53.7
1995"$5,947 ""$6,595 "$45.70 $53.10 848"7,042"122.6,136.8
2000"$20,664 ""$21,313 "$48.30 $56.00 "1,989""14,947"376.1,411.3
2007"$19,112 ""$13,282 "$50.20 $56.00 "1,710""15,255"347.5,240.8
2009"$10,746 ""$10,341 "$52.20 $58.20 "1,061""9,941"196.6,183.9
2010"$12,827 ""$11,677 "$52.40 $59.00 "1,255""11,744"230.3,206.3
2011"$12,958 ""$11,997 "$51.80 $58.70 "1,353""12,760"232.7,213.2
2012"$15,261 ""$11,587 "$51.40 $58.30 "1,442""13,554"281.5,209.8
2013"$15,603 ""$11,986 "$51.70 $58.50 "1,694""15,465"291.8,214.5
2014"$16,569 ""$12,469 "$51.90 $58.80 "1,958""17,011"298.7,224.5
2015"$16,341 ""$12,496 "$52.70 $59.70 "2,087""17,810"286.1,219.7
2015 (June 2016)"$15,699 ""$12,173 "$52.90 $59.20 "2,087""17,810"275.4,215.4
2016 (June 2017)"$15,021 ""$12,636 "$53.30 $60.80 "2,095""17,927"259.8,218
2016(projection)"$15,636 ""$12,970 "$53.30 $60.80 "2,095""17,927"270.5,223.8
         
Percent change      Change in ratio 
1965-1978,78.90%78.90%19.90%n/a-44.70%-54.30%9.9,9
1978-2000,1270.10%1389.50%0.60%n/a512.70%438.80%346,383.9
2000-2016-24.30%-39.10%10.50%8.50%5.30%19.90%-105.6-187.5
2009-2016,45.50%25.40%2.20%4.50%97.50%80.30%73.9,39.9
1978-2016,936.70%806.50%11.20%n/a545.20%546.30%240.4,196.4

Again, due to retirement inequality, the median savings broken down by age is very different.

Whereas the average savings of a family with members between 32 and 37 is $31,644, the median savings is less than $500. At the other end, the average savings of families close to retirement — ages 56 to 61 — is $163,557. The median is $17,000.

Most families—even those approaching retirement—have little or no retirement savings

How big should your nest egg be? According to retirement-plan provider Fidelity Investments, to be financially ready to retire by age 67, you should aim to have 10 times your final salary in savings.

Layland Masuda | Getty Images
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