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Here's the average net worth of Americans ages 45 to 54

Net worth — or your total amount of assets minus debt — tends to increase with age. CNBC Select breaks down the average net worth of people in their 40s and 50s.

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Tracking your net worth over time is a helpful indicator of your financial stability, since it shows you the value of everything you own minus your debts. It's not something you should necessarily obsess over, but it's a helpful number to know when thinking about your overall finances.

The average American has $90,460 of debt, but the average net worth is $748,800. Net worth tends to increase with age as assets appreciate in value over time and people's salaries grow over their careers.

According to the Fed, the median net worth for people between ages 45 and 54 is $168,600. The average net worth is $833,200. This is almost double the net worth of Americans ages 35 to 44, who have a median net worth of $91,300 and an average of $436,200.

Economists argue that it's better to look at the median net worth to understand where most Americans fall on the spectrum, since it's not skewed by mega-high-worth individuals or those deep in the red.

Here is a break down of both the average and median net worth across American households by age, according to the Fed's latest Survey of Consumer Finances from 2019.

Household net worth by age

Age of head of family Median net worth Average net worth
Less than 35$13,900$76,300
35-44$91,300$436,200
45-54$168,600$833,200
55-64$212,500$1,175,900
65-74$266,400$1,217,700
75+$254,800$977,600

How to calculate net worth

To figure out your net worth add up your assets (the cash you've got in bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, etc. as well as the value of any properties you own) and then subtract any liabilities (debt, including student loans, credit card, your mortgage, etc.) that you owe.

How to calculate net worth

Net worth = assets - liabilities

What 40- and 50-somethings need to do to build their wealth

When you're on stable financial footing, growing your net worth gets a little bit easier compared to someone just starting out in their 20s. Though you might have more expenses in your 40s and 50s, (thanks to children, car payments, mortgages and other costs), you can still be strategic by investing small amounts over time and paying down debts consistently.

Look for opportunities to grow the money you already have at higher rates. An easy step is switching to a better savings account that earns you a little bit more on your cash. The Marcus by Goldman Sachs High Yield Online Savings or the Vio Bank High Yield Online Savings Account are two options to consider. You can also opt for a higher-interest checking account like the Alliant Credit Union High-Rate Checking Account.

Once you've exhausted your options for low-hanging fruit, it's time to consider ways to invest, earn more and/or acquire new assets (like a house) that can help you grow your wealth. Apps such as Personal Capital and Mint let you view your assets and track how much you have across you bank accounts, including checking, savings, money markets, CDs and investment vehicles such as mutual funds, index funds, 401(k)s, IRAs, etc. In both apps, users may also include properties with cash value, like houses, vehicles, etc., to their net worth calculation.

Also take a look at your mortgage and other debt to make sure you have a plan for paying them off in a timely way. Experts say you should have roughly 10 times your income saved by retirement age, which is an easier goal to achieve if you have a clear plan for how you're saving and paying off debt.

You may not have reached your net worth goal by 45 or 50, but with some planning you can use your dream number as a guiding compass that helps you stay motivated along the way.

How credit impacts net worth

Having a high credit score qualifies you for the best interest rates, helping you borrow money more affordably without cutting into your net worth too much. Credit monitoring services like CreditWise® from Capital One and IdentityForce® help you monitor your credit score so there are no surprises.

Check out our list of best credit-building cards to repair or improve your score.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.