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Average Net Worth - by age
Old 07-23-2012, 07:42 PM   #1
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Average Net Worth - by age

The Average Net Worth of Americans: Where Do You Stand? | Money Relationship

The most fascinating thing that I've found on FIRE, is the wide, wide range of perceptions on the amount of money needed for retirement, or early retirement. $200,000, $500,000, $1, 000,000, $2,000,000... more?Surprising that so many people can have such different needs, and still be sociable and able to interact on the forum.

My farmer friend 82, has (probably) $8 to $10 Million, and lives in his small farmhouse in Illinois, and goes to work in the fields every day, as well as running his small town... one of the happiest people I know. Another friend 65, lives on an acre of land in central Florida, and is now living... happily... on $20,000 in savings, and about $15,000 from SS. He too farms, and eats the produce from his garden.

So the subject of net worth, by age. Interesting to find averages for anything. Income, Savings, Salary, Inheritance, Workman's Comp, etc.

Any philosophical thoughts on these disparities?
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:51 PM   #2
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The corny phrase that "Money does not buy happiness"?

Still, I tried out the Net Worth calculator on that link to see where I stood. I am not rich, but not doing badly at all compared to peers. That was for both age group and (past) income group.

As someone has said, "Money can't buy happiness; it can, however, rent it". Excess money most likely does not help, but it does not hurt to keep some extra. In fact, the only way I now have more money than my peers was the way I practice LBYM compared to them, i.e. I have not been buying renting happiness with my money.

Party on!
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Old 07-23-2012, 08:29 PM   #3
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There are numerous articles like the above that state where a person's net worth should be at a certian age or some thing similar with implications that if you are under the stated amout you are in for dire straits. However, the articles rarely mention what is really important - what is the persons/couple cost of living each year. A person who has $10 mil in investments but has expenditures of $1 mil/year is going to to be no better off than someone with $100k and has yearly expenditures of $10k. Everything is relative. The secret to success is LBYM.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:22 PM   #4
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this is a very interesting calculator. I entered my age (62) and it gives me a more or less common sense response of average net worth of $180K. The fun part is with the income information:

Income at $60K - NW is $168k
Income at $100k - NW is $301k
Income at $150k - NW is $1.1M
Income at $250k - NW is $1.1M
Income at $1M - NW is you guessed it $1.1 M

It seems that once your net worth hits $1.1 million regardless of your income you be done - that's it. Glad to know that I'm set.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:30 PM   #5
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By age I'm being compared to people with a wide range of incomes. By income I'm being compared to people with a wide range of ages. It would be nice to compare to people the same age with the same income. Not to mention households instead of the implied single person. Typical mostly meaningless stats.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #6
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this is a very interesting calculator. I entered my age (62) and it gives me a more or less common sense response of average net worth of $180K. The fun part is with the income information:

Income at $60K - NW is $168k
Income at $100k - NW is $301k
Income at $150k - NW is $1.1M
Income at $250k - NW is $1.1M
Income at $1M - NW is you guessed it $1.1 M

It seems that once your net worth hits $1.1 million regardless of your income you be done - that's it. Glad to know that I'm set.
By the bar chart, I think they top out around $150k income.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:33 PM   #7
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Averages can be so misleading. After all the average person in the US has about one testicle.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:37 PM   #8
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Averages can be so misleading. After all the average person in the US has about one testicle.
But it is a damn big brass one. On average, of course.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:39 PM   #9
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But it is a damn big brass one. On average, of course.
you bet.
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Old 07-23-2012, 09:48 PM   #10
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Beyond the nonsensical calculator, once the very basic needs of shelter and food are covered, the additional utility of extra income or NW is so varied that in my opinion comparisons are senseless. A lifestyle thats comfortable to me is probably dire poverty to someone else or unbridled luxury to another. And even basic shelter and food needs are so flexible that its difficult to think of what the norm ought to be. There are many extreme LBYM folks that take great pride in in expenditure levels that would barely cover a fraction of my living expenses and yet they are perfectly happy. And conversely as well. That's what makes me very optimistic, whatever comes, someone will figure out a way no matter what.
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Old 07-23-2012, 11:21 PM   #11
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Good catch there, ejman, about the nonsensical calculator result showing that the 1% people with an annual income of $1M still having a median NW of just $1.1M.

But back on the OP question, let's think about this. We all know some people who have less than what we do, and we always say that they can be just as happy. Yet, we want more, more, more... We try to compute different withdrawal schemes, ages to draw SS, effects of shuffling our money between IRAs, 401k, and Roth, etc... to have more.

We say we retire early to enjoy life. Yet, I think the subforum called "FIRE and Money" always has a lot more visitors than "Life after FIRE", "Travel Information", and "Other Topics". Yes, it is always about money, money, money. If not always, then 90% of the time.

Am I the only one here who openly admits that I know I do not really need more, but still want more because I am greedy, because I am related to Scrooge?
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Old 07-24-2012, 12:05 AM   #12
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Happiness is poorly correlated with the size of bank accounts. However, being able to sleep stress free thanks to being financially independent : priceless.
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Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
Any philosophical thoughts on these disparities?
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Old 07-24-2012, 03:47 AM   #13
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Am I the only one here who openly admits that I know I do not really need more, but still want more because I am greedy, because I am related to Scrooge?
Some may want more because they are fearful.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:48 AM   #14
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Some may want more because they are fearful.
I think this is the biggest driver for wanting more, the fear of uncertainty regarding how one's finances will hold up. Stocks tank for decades, out of control inflation, unexpected expenses, health problems, etc... All have happened, are very possible going forward and one has no income to offset the damage - thus the never ending question of "do I have enough?" (with more being better)

As far as net worth and what it takes to enjoy life: "He is richest who desires the least".
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:55 AM   #15
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Median net worth for my age is $8,525? I guess i'm doing ok even after being unemployed(but looking for work) for a year.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:53 AM   #16
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Happiness is poorly correlated with the size of bank accounts. However, being able to sleep stress free thanks to being financially independent : priceless.
i agree. I wonder if wealth is positively correlated with unhappiness, doubt it. But if it doesn't make us happier why do we try so hard to get it? Are we all irrational or just trying to rationalize our lack of wealth by saying it doesn't buy happiness? It must buy something that we want? if so why doesn't ot make us at least a little happier? To paraphrase an old statement; "I've been rich and I've been poor, rich is better"
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Old 07-24-2012, 06:49 AM   #17
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i agree. I wonder if wealth is positively correlated with unhappiness, doubt it. But if it doesn't make us happier why do we try so hard to get it? Are we all irrational or just trying to rationalize our lack of wealth by saying it doesn't buy happiness? It must buy something that we want? if so why doesn't ot make us at least a little happier? To paraphrase an old statement; "I've been rich and I've been poor, rich is better"
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Happiness is poorly correlated with the size of bank accounts. However, being able to sleep stress free thanks to being financially independent : priceless.
I saw a recent study that found that happiness IS correlated with wealth to a certain point. I can't remember what that level was but once it is reached further increases don't lead to increased happiness. I suspect it involves getting to that stress free zone.

Edit: It was a study by Daniel Kahneman that found income $75,000 a year was the sweet spot for Americans as summarized in this WSJ article.
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Old 07-24-2012, 08:53 AM   #18
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Am I the only one here who openly admits that I know I do not really need more, but still want more because I am greedy, because I am related to Scrooge?
Everyone wants more. That's just human nature. The issue isn't what you want, the issue is what do you have to give up to get what you want.

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Originally Posted by Obgyn65
Happiness is poorly correlated with the size of bank accounts. However, being able to sleep stress free thanks to being financially independent : priceless.
Ed Diener has studied money and happiness his whole career. There are two separate takeaways from his research. Firstly, Once you get to a point where your basic needs are met (plus a little), then extra money only brings marginal extra happiness. Secondly his research points to a very positive correlation between wealth and income with life satisfaction. So based on Mr Diener's second finding what you posted is not strictly true.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:01 AM   #19
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The biggest problem with that chart is that it totally ignores the 'phantom' Net Worth of a pension/SS.

As an example - take an individual who could retire comfortably on $40,000 per year, rents their home, and receives $40,000 in COLA'd pension/SS. Technically, they don't need any Net Worth at all, beyond a little emergency fund and a cash flow buffer.

Another individual, with no pension/SS might need over $1,000,000 in their portfolio to provide $40,000 COLA'd. Both of these people would have very similar retirements, despite the over $1,000,000 difference in their 'Net Worth'.

Many/most would fit in-between, making that kind of a 'one size fits all' chart pretty meaningless.

edit/add: It also explains some of the OP's initial observations (and some is explained by different desired spending levels in retirement, location, health insurance needs, 'comfort level' in terms of portfolio buffer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
The most fascinating thing that I've found on FIRE, is the wide, wide range of perceptions on the amount of money needed for retirement, or early retirement. $200,000, $500,000, $1, 000,000, $2,000,000... more?Surprising that so many people can have such different needs, and still be sociable and able to interact on the forum.

Any philosophical thoughts on these disparities?



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Old 07-24-2012, 10:16 AM   #20
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Some may want more because they are fearful.
Yikes! If the market keeps on dropping like today and the last few days, my greed will soon turn into fear.

Did I miss any Wh*** post?
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