Founded in 1993 by brothers Tom and David Gardner, The Motley Fool helps millions achieve financial freedom through our website, podcasts, books, newspaper columns, radio programs and premium investment services. It's imperative that you're financially prepared for retirement. Living on Social Security alone is difficult, so you'll want an additional source of income. For most people, that extra money should come from retirement savings.
A 401 (k) is a popular retirement investment account used by millions of American workers, largely because this account offers generous tax advantages. Since it is managed by employers, it is desirable to invest in it. If you have access to a 401 (k) plan in the workplace, saving early and aggressively on it could help you achieve a secure retirement. But how have Americans fared investing in their 401 (k) accounts? Check the average 401 (k) plan balance by age and income level to see where you are when it comes to your retirement savings.
The sooner you start investing in your 401 (k) plan, the easier it will be to create a sizable balance thanks to compound earnings. When you invest money, your investments generate money for you. This can be reinvested to have a larger set of assets that generate benefits. This is why Albert Einstein is cited when he described compound interest as the eighth wonder of the world.
While saving when you're young can be a challenge, it's worth doing so. Not surprisingly, income affects the amount workers invest in their 401 (k) plan. The table below shows the average account balance by income level. Many workers contribute a fixed percentage of their income to their 401 (k) plan, such as 10%.
With this percentage-based approach, people with higher incomes inevitably invest more for retirement each year than their counterparts with lower incomes. Gender can also affect 401 (k) plan balances. In particular, men have much higher average balances than their female counterparts. This is explained by many factors, such as the gender pay gap (men tend to earn more than women) and the fact that women may have fewer years at work because they are more likely to take time off due to their responsibilities as caregivers.
The following table shows the average and median of 401 (k) balances by gender. Unfortunately, women often face an uphill battle to invest enough for a secure future, not least because they tend to live longer than men and, as a result, need larger balances. A 401 (k) plan can be a convenient and simple way to save for retirement, although you have other options, including traditional IRAs and Roth IRAs. You should invest in these retirement plans throughout your career with the goal of accumulating savings large enough to meet your needs.
If you're not meeting your investment goals, consider carefully reviewing your budget to find more opportunities to save. As you earn wage increases, you may also want to save those increases in your 401 (k) plan instead of spending the additional income, as this can make it easier to achieve your savings goals. By automating contributions to a 401 (k) plan and aiming to save 15% or more of your retirement income over the course of your career, you could end up with a 401 (k) balance well above the average or median of U.S. workers.
UU. We hope that you will have a more secure retirement. So, can you have both? Yes, with some limitations. If your 401 (k) plan is going in the wrong direction, learn what to do.
Did you get 401 (k) from previous jobs? Here's Why You Should Collect Them in an IRA. So what do you do if you've contributed too much to your 401 (k) plan? Why do we invest this way? Learn more Stocks that beat the market from our award-winning team of analysts. Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.
Making the World Smarter, Happier and Richer. Once again, the average 401 (k) plan balance is more than double the median balance, reflecting the greater savings capacity of high-wage earners and those determined to maximize their 401 (k) plan. .