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Average American’s Savings? $00.00

A recent analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by The National Institute on Retirement Security (NIRS) discovered that the median retirement account balance among all working Americans is zero. They also report that 57% of workers have no assets in a workplace retirement plan, individual retirement account (IRA) or pension.

Only one in five of working Americans have more than a year’s income saved in any retirement accounts. For their age, 75% of people fall short of what their retirement savings targets ought to be — based on working until they reach 67. Even worse, a majority of working Americans are unable to meet even a significantly reduced savings target.

The gap in retirement account ownership has grown with widening income inequality:

  • Top income quartile workers are five times more likely to have retirement accounts than workers in the lowest income quartile.
  • Individuals with retirement accounts have more than three times the annual income of people without retirement accounts.

Diane Oakley, executive director of NIRS, says “The facts and data are clear… Retirement is in peril for most working-class Americans. When all working individuals are considered— not just the minority with retirement accounts —the typical working American has zero, zilch, nothing saved for retirement. What this means is that the American dream of a modest retirement after a lifetime of work now is a middle-class nightmare. Even among workers who have accumulated savings in retirement accounts, the typical worker had an account balance of $40,000.”