How Much You Should Be Saving for Retirement

We know when Americans reach $100,000 in savings. We know how much people are saving. But this begs the question: How much should you be saving?

There are a lot of variables to consider, but for people of middle income, here’s a suggestion from the Center for Retirement Research that accounts for when you start saving and when you want to retire.

Save Early for Maximum $$$$

The younger you start saving, the less of your income you have to save per year to maintain your current standard of living.

AGE YOU START SAVING

25

35

45

The earlier you retire and the later you start saving, the more you need to put away.

WHEN YOU PLAN TO RETIRE

15%

24%

44%

62

65

10%

15%

27%

67

12%

20%

7%

Save earlier and retire later to minimize how much you need to save per year.

4%

6%

10%

70

SOURCE: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College

AGE YOU START SAVING

25

35

45

15%

24%

44%

62

WHEN YOU PLAN TO RETIRE

10%

15%

27%

65

7%

12%

20%

67

70

4%

6%

10%

Save earlier and retire later to minimize how much you need to save per year.

SOURCE: Center for Retirement

Research at Boston College

If you can, start saving early, so that you can slowly work towards the goal and let interest do its thing. Wait longer to save, and you’ll have to work for more years or live on less.

Notes

  • Read the full brief from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. (Thanks, Jon for the pointer.)
  • The brief doesn’t define “middle income” and doesn’t provide percentages for low and high income groups unfortunately. That would’ve been interesting to compare.

Become a member.
Get unlimited access to tutorials, courses, and practical guides. Make great charts.

Join Today

Membership

This is for people interested in the process of creating, designing, and exploring data graphics. Your support goes directly to FlowingData, an independently run site.

What You Get

  • Learn to make any chart with instant access to step-by-step tutorials.
  • Download source code and files to use with your own data.
  • In-depth courses on visualization to learn at your own pace.
  • Stay up-to-date with additional resources and visualization tools.
  • Get the members-only newsletter.

Favorites

Jobs Charted by State and Salary

Jobs and pay can vary a lot depending on where you live, based on 2013 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Here’s an interactive to look.

Divorce and Occupation

Some jobs tend towards higher divorce rates. Some towards lower. Salary also probably plays a role.

Sleep Schedule, From the Inconsistent Teenage Years to Retirement

From the teenage years to college to adulthood through retirement, sleep is all over the place at first but then converges towards consistency.

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.