How Much Do People Save, by Income?

October 23rd, 2013 by 

A few weeks back we presented one of our signature pieces of original research on what Americans saved based upon their ages.  That data used fresh data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey to paint a picture - however imprecise - of savings by income.

Today we complete the short lived series with data from the aforementioned survey, this time broken down into convenient income format!  Of course, we start with a graph, which is much more boring than the last one, and more of the "up and to the right variety":

American savings by income for 2012

Enough said and enough graphed, here's the promised calculator on savings by income. Enter the amount of money you made in 2012 after taxes, and we'll bring you your point in our best fit equation (from ZunZun, check them out).

Savings by Income Calculator for CEX Data

Want to run the numbers on your own savings?

A Word on Accuracy and Methodology

As we mentioned last article, the CEX data isn't the final word on savings rates, as self-reported income taxes are much lower than actual taxes paid.  We use two methods in the chart and in the calculator to come up with the 'savings rates' you see in this piece.  The expenses method uses income after tax and total expenses.  The assets method uses increases in reported assets over the year over after tax income.  Obviously, both have their downsides... but you run what you brung, right?

The reality is probably closer to what you see in the asset method, but still up and to the right.

And, for posterity, the numbers from the chart codified in easy to read table format(!):



Income After TaxesSavings Rate (Expenses)Savings Rate (Assets)



As you can see in the table, measuring by assets has a weird little hitch around $140,000 - $200,000 in income after tax.  Feel free to post your pet theory on that data in the comments section, I'll eschew prognosticating on it for the time being.

So - how do you stack up?  Are you saving more than your theoretical American peers?



PK started DQYDJ in 2009 to research and discuss finance and investing and help answer financial questions. He's expanded DQYDJ to build visualizations, calculators, and interactive tools.

PK lives in New Hampshire with his wife, kids, and dog.

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