How Many People Really Save $1 Million for Retirement?

The vast majority of people don't reach that goal. Read on to find out how to boost your retirement savings.

How Many People Really Save $1 Million for Retirement?

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You're not alone if your retirement account balances are far from the $1 million mark. While many people may aim for that goal, most don't reach it.

Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) data estimates that just 3.2% of Americans have $1 million or more in their retirement accounts.

Here's how much most Americans have saved and what you can do to boost your retirement savings.

How much retirement savings Americans have

EBRI looked at some of the latest retirement savings data and found the following amounts in Americans' retirement accounts:

  • $0 to $9,999: 58.4% of Americans
  • $10,000 to $99,999: 20.5%
  • $1000,000 to $499,999: 13.9%
  • $500,000 to $999,999: 4%
  • $1 million to $4.99 million: 3.1%
  • $5 million or more: 0.1%

It's important to mention these amounts are in tax-advantaged accounts like 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). This means that some Americans could have sources of wealth -- like traditional brokerage accounts or rental properties -- that aren't included in these figures.

So, how much should you have saved for retirement?

While there's no one-size-fits-all answer to how much you should have saved for retirement, a good rule of thumb is to save 15% of your pre-tax income annually.

How to boost your retirement savings

If you have less saved for retirement than you'd like, there's no time like the present to get back on track. Here are a few suggestions to boost your savings.

1. Start now

If you're not retired, there's still time to put money away. The sooner you start, the more time your money will have to grow.

For example, let's assume you have 10 years before you retire and $10,000 in retirement investments already. If you add $200 per month to your retirement savings and earn the historic annual rate of return from the S&P 500 of 10.2%, you'll end up with about $66,800 a decade from now.

Of course, there's no guarantee you'll earn those returns in the stock market, but this example shows how much even a modest amount of retirement savings could turn into.

2. Make catch-up contributions

If you're 50 or older, you may be able to make catch-up contributions to your 401(k) and IRA.

In 2024, older Americans can make an additional $7,500 in annual contributions to their 401(k) in addition to the annual $23,000 limit. For IRAs, they can make an additional $1,000 in annual contributions above the $7,000 limit.

3. Sign up for employer-matching contributions

If your employer offers a 401(k) matching program, sign up for it! Contribution matching rules and requirements vary by employer. Some employers will match 50% of your contributions, for up to as much as 6% of your salary.

In this scenario, if you earn $75,000 and contribute $375 per month, your employer would contribute about $188, giving you a total monthly contribution of $563. That's about $2,256 in free contributions every year!

Having $1 million saved by the time you retire is a fine goal, but focusing too much on a large number can be self-defeating if you're too far behind. Instead, try to save 15% of your income (or whatever you can afford) and sign up for your employer's matching program if it's available.

The sooner you start, the more time your money will have to grow.

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