Here's How Much the Average 60-Year-Old Has in Their 401(k)

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At age 60, you’re not too far from retirement. In fact, the average retirement age is 61, although there are plenty of Americans who continue working into their late 60s and beyond.

It’s always important to know whether you’re on track with your retirement savings. That’s especially true as you reach your 60s, since you’re getting close to the end of your career. If you’re trying to figure out where you stand, you’ll find data on the average 401(k) balance below, plus some tips on what to do if you need to save more.

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The average 60-year-old’s 401(k) balance

The average 60-year-old has $70,000 to $210,000 in their 401(k). Why such a wide range? There are two recent sources with a fairly large difference:

  • Vanguard reported that Americans ages 55 to 64 have a median 401(k) balance of $70,620 and an average balance of $232,710 in How America Saves 2023.

  • A 2024 Empower article reported that Americans in their 60s have a median 401(k) balance of $209,382 and an average balance of $555,621.

The median balances are likely a more accurate representation of the overall average. When there’s a big difference between a median and an average, it’s because outliers are having an outsized impact on the average. In this case, people with very high 401(k) balances bring up the average quite a bit.

A popular guideline on retirement savings is to save eight times your salary by age 60 and 10 times your salary by 67. Many 60-year-olds are likely well behind that guideline, based on the recent data. To be fair, some Americans also have other forms of retirement savings, such as individual retirement accounts (IRAs).

What to do if you’re behind on your retirement savings

Even at 60, there’s still time to make significant contributions to your retirement savings. If you feel like you won’t have enough money to retire, here’s what you can do.

Max out your 401(k) contributions

The 401(k) contribution limit is $23,000 in 2024. But one of the advantages of being 50 or older is that you can also make additional catch-up contributions of up to $7,500, for a combined limit of $30,500. If you can’t contribute that much, try to at least put in enough to max out any 401(k) match your employer offers.

Contribute to an IRA, too

Just like 401(k) plans, IRAs allow you to save for retirement while saving on taxes. The contribution limit is $7,000 in 2024. When you’re 50 or older, you can make additional catch-up contributions of up to $1,000, for a combined limit of $8,000.

Retire later

There are several financial benefits to delaying your retirement. By working longer, you’ll be able to save more. You’ll start withdrawing from your retirement savings later, and you can also delay taking Social Security. If you wait until age 70, you’ll receive your maximum Social Security benefits.

Consider relocating or downsizing

Another way to make up the gap in your retirement savings is to reduce your cost of living. You could start looking into areas with a lower cost of living for after you retire — some people even choose to retire abroad. If you want to stay in your current city, you could move to a smaller, more affordable home.

If you can max out your 401(k) and IRA, that’s $38,500 in retirement savings per year, and potentially more if contribution limits increase. After five years, you’ll have added $192,500 to your retirement. That money could also grow if you invest in stocks and bonds.

Most people can’t max out all their retirement accounts, so don’t feel bad if you aren’t contributing that much. Just put in as much as you can. If you do that, combined with potentially working longer and cutting costs, you can still retire with financial security.

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Here’s How Much the Average 60-Year-Old Has in Their 401(k) was originally published by The Motley Fool

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