Millennials tend to get a bad rap for how they manage their money. But how much are young people actually saving for their future?
For 20-somethings with 401(k) plans, the average balance as of Q1 2019 stood at $11,800. Fidelity also found that this group contributes 7% of their paychecks and their employers match, on average, 4%, which puts their total savings rate at 11%.
Here are the average contribution rates by age, also from Fidelity. These rates do not include any matching contributions from employers.
Keep in mind that Fidelity's data only takes into account those Americans with a retirement account, so it doesn't present the full picture. Almost a quarter of U.S. adults have no retirement savings and young workers aged 18 to 29 are less likely to have savings, with 42% saying they have nothing stashed away.
The answer to this is highly personal and depends on your lifestyle, expenses and spending habits, but there are a few basic guidelines to follow if you want to retire comfortably.
Some experts, including co-founder of AE Wealth Management David Bach, say that if you set aside at least 10% of your income, you'll be fine. More is always better: Bach says that if you want to retire "rich," save 15-20% and, if you want to retire early, save 20% or more.
Fidelity recommends saving 15%. That amount includes personal contributions as well as any matching contributions from your company.
If you can't save 15% right away, "make sure that you're saving at least enough to get the full match that your employer offers," Katie Taylor, vice president of thought leadership at Fidelity Investments, tells CNBC Make It. Then "make a commitment to yourself that you're going to increase your contribution by 1-2% every year until you get there," she says, adding: "Getting started early at any amount is always a great idea."
Time is on your side when you're young. The sooner you start putting your money to work, the less you'll have to save each month to reach your goals, thanks to the power of compound interest.
If you start at age 23, for instance, you only have to save about $14 a day to be a millionaire by age 67. That's assuming a 6% average annual investment return. If you start at age 35, on the other hand, you'd have to set aside $30 a day to reach seven figure status by age 67.
No matter how far off retirement may seem in your 20s, don't wait to start saving.
If you're one of the many Americans without access to a 401(k), don't stress. Most importantly, "don't let that be a deterrent for not saving for the future," says Taylor. "Whether or not you have access to a 401(k), at some point, you will want to retire and you will need to have money saved."
Read up on all of your options, choose an account to fund and start setting aside money for your future today.
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