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November 01, 2010


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We're both 29 and right now out net worth is a smidge over $38k. We review our net worth and post it up on the site, so the new one for October will be out this week. It looks to be slightly more than September's review.

I'm a bit dubious of their source data. Given the number of people who have taken out large loans to attend college and have not yet paid them back, and given the recent declines in real estate value, I'm surprised that the medians for the younger age groups aren't negative. I wonder what they're calling "net worth" is ignoring things like mortgages and student loans.

According to this we're in much better shape than the median Americans. We are not big consumers, which I think is the key.

Beating the net worth by age by a factor of 12, but only about 2/3 the net worth for my income - then again, only have been working for 4.5 years, so I'll get there.

I'm surprised that the median 150k+ earner has a >$1M net worth. I know lots of people in that income range who spend nearly everything they earn (living in expensive parts of the country doesn't help...).

DH and I started our lives together at 30 with a net worth of less than zero. Almost 20 years later we are ahead of the above figures for both age and income. I'm shocked, really. DH is only sort of on board, but fortunately we're both pretty frugal.

Neither of us married until 1986 at which time we both had good jobs but zero net worth. Today, we have 7 times the median for our age group and almost 5 times the median of our income bracket. We are not fanatics but we unfortunately never had kids (which admittedly makes a huge difference), we married later in life (meaning we were both a little more serious about the future with better jobs than in our early 20's) and we both just naturally don't spend a lot of money. Watching your money grow through investments and compounding is about as neat as it gets.

The trouble with such comparisons is that they look at each variable separately instead of looking at them at the same time. Instead of doing it separately by age and by income, they should have done it by age and income at the same time.

The way it is now is that the first number (by age) includes people with very low incomes and that makes the numbers low. A 50 year old who makes minimum wage isn't exactly comparable with a 50 year old who earns 100K. Similarly if you do it by income, you'll get a long of young people. Again, a 50 year old with 100K isn't the same as a 20 year old with 100K. For example, yes, my net worth is considerably higher by either of this criteria, but I am really curious how the numbers would've looked like if I could make the comparison with people of my age AND my income.

I'd imagine if you they were to do it by both age and income, the picture may well be a bit different.

I think the age groupings are too wide. There is a big difference between a 25 yr old recently out of college and a 34 yr. old entering mid-career. We have 26 times our age group in net worth, but only 1/4 of the worth by income.

I attribute the low net worth by income as we have only been making our relatively high incomes in the past couple years. So we likely have high income for our age, but the net worth for the higher income categories probably have higher average ages.

We'll get there, currently saving 30% of our income and extra payments on the house despite having 2 little ones.

I always have a tough time with age and income based comparisons. My net worth is WAY over the median in my age group by multiples. But I've only been working six years or so, so I'm a bit behind on the income level.

I've been looking for a study of net worth based on "how much you've made" rather than how old you are and/or how much you "make." Anyone know of one out there?

I'm in my early thirties and if my net worth were $8,500 honestly wouldn't be able to sleep at night. But I'm well-educated, healthy, married, childless, etc, all of which facts probably put my starting line further along than perhaps other people's. I'm also not American so find cmadler's point interesting. These figures are fun to look at but at the end of the day I compare with my goals and my past, not averages!

I have about 6 times the amount for my age group and twice the amount for my income bracket.

I have posted here before but I'm going to do so anonymously.

Age 30
Professional degree
No educational debt thanks to parents who were very frugal and able to think and save long-term to help me

IRA: Approx $10,000
Taxable portfolio: $87,000 with another $26K from panicking and selling something essentially for no gain when it was crashing
Cash: $153,000

The cash is mainly from royalties and investment income that my parents had in my name that I'm now almost fully divested of. I'm slowly but surely moving money into the stock market, mainly in index fund ETFs and other low cost passively managed funds.

The income range for top earners is ridiculous. 150K plus means anyone who earns $150K all the way to Donald Trump and Bill Gates. No wonder the net worth is so high for that range.

cmadler : "Given the number of people who have taken out large loans to attend college and have not yet paid them bac"

Only about 15% of the population has student loan debt. As a nation we carry more debt in the form of car loans.

The list says:

$75k to $99k: $301,475
$100k to $124k: $301,475

I am sure that is a typo in the source info and the two income groups do not have the exact same median net worths.

I'm way ahead in the age bracket. I'm in the lowest age group and have more net worth than the 55-64 category. But I'm behind in net worth in the income category - this is probably due to my age and high income.


Congratulations on your progress. You should be well on track to hit your $3M goal in 10 years.

By age I am 50 times ahead of the number posted in the above table, by income it is about 2 - 2.5 times greater.


By the way, this table tells me there are many, many Americans with a net worth north of $1M, simply because many people are earning more than $150k a year. Remember Obama's definition of rich is above $250k so that means a $1M net worth is still well within the middle class.


I'm in the "less than 25k" income bracket (way less!), but I've still managed to save far more than the meager $1,250 listed, mostly because I've always jumped right on any 401K that was offered at any of the jobs I worked. And when I moved jobs I always rolled the amount over, and never took it out. 401K's are so important!

By age group, DW and I are ahead by a factor of ~20. However, when looking at income, we're behind by a factor of ~6. The disparity is probably due to the fact that we are relatively young, started our careers w/a salary on the lower end of the scale, but now sit at the top of the scale.

Dr. Stanley runs into the same problem with his formula in MND (Age x Income / 10). I'm 30 but have a high income so I fail his formula, but based on the Median data, my networth is higher than the average retiree. I think MND formula is one of the best but it is dialed in for a person in their mid-forties. The ideal formula would be based on lifetime earnings, maybe from data on your annual Social Security statement

I'm very competitive and always try to define my reality (Do I really have enough, how can I tell?) I'm paranoid... I'm 41 and on the right track about 18X for the age group # and 3X for the income level. I don't have the house in the net worth number at all but much of the number is retirement money. The ranges above are good ego food but most of us looking at this information should be shooting higher. The numbers do not tell an accurate picture and can create a false sense of security if we put too much stock in what we see here. Thanks for the info! Brian

I have trouble calculating net worth for person versus married household. Am I supposed to divide our savings and mortgage each by two?

Also, for "income," am I supposed to use my public employee contractual salary (10% of which get immediately deducted for the public pension fund, which is way underfunded and I think by the time we retire the funds will be gone and we will never see that money again so I don't want to count it), or my take-home pay?

net worth should be stated upfront , if it is for single or married couple-so far it is not clear to me

My net income is 5x for that of my age. My net worth is right on target for the median for that income level.

Age 39
Income: 250k
Net Worth: 1.2 M

Still struggling. Sad to think that I once thought that this was rich, I'm barely upper middle class. Still striving for more though. Hopefully by 49 I'll be able to put a zero behind everything.

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