We present here a net worth by age percentile calculator for the United States in 2016. Enter a net worth and the age of the primary earner in the household and we’ll estimate which percentile it fell into, down to the closest 1%. We’ll also provide our estimate of the number of households matching the bracket’s wealth breakpoint.
Once you select your inputs, we graph every net worth breakpoint for that age range automatically. You can choose whether or not to count the equity in any primary home in the calculation.
Net Worth By Age Calculator for the United States
What is the Average Net Worth By Age Group in America? (And Median)
There are enough data-points to make a reasonably accurate guess at an average and median for our selected age groups. And, by popular demand, here are the numbers without primary residence equity as well (although you should generally include your primary residence in your net worth calculation):
|Age of Household Head||Average Wealth||Median Wealth||Average Wealth (No House)||Median Wealth (No House)|
And here it is in easy-to-share visible form (this time only counting primary home value):
For past comparisons, check out our archived calculator for 2013.
Methodology and Source on the Net Worth by Age Calculator
Data comes from the 2016 Federal Reserve SCF, first released in September, 2017. For a full discussion on our net worth methodology, see our net worth brackets page. The net worth percentile calculator discusses valuing primary home equity. As an important note, remember that we’re looking at discrete households here. Especially for younger individuals, if an adult is living in another home their net worth is rolled up with the primary earner.
We are also in debt to Anthony Damico and his online R analysis booklet ASDFree. It makes SCF analysis much smoother – please check it out if you’re interested in running these calculations yourself.
Net Worth by Age Calculator Data Quality
Due to popular demand, we shifted the age range breakdown from the 2013 Age Percentile Calculator. We now include 13 age ranges, carefully selected to shine a better light on (common) retirement brackets. Note that our divisions are finer than the Fed’s choices, some of these brackets are relatively sparse in data points. Especially when looking at the lowest and highest percentages, keep the uncertainty in mind.
Here are the number of data-points and corresponding estimated American households in each age bucket:
|Age Group||Estimated Households||Datapoints|
(Data-points here are actual survey responses in the public set, not the total number in all replicates.)
Why Care About Net Worth By Age?
When discussing net worth, there’s a tendency to compare wealth across age groups without any consideration about whether that’s appropriate. It isn’t, for a number of reasons:
- Older people heading households are more likely to have spouses.
- Age is a reasonable proxy for job experience and skills, and experience commands higher pay.
- Households headed by older people have been accumulating wealth longer.
There is a skew towards wealth being held by older folks, which should be the case if a society is producing wealth. This makes cross age wealth comparisons dubious at best – it’s best to compare relative wealth within peer groups. Hence the calculator!
Always remember one inevitable fact: people get older. The households with 18-24 year olds heading them will eventually be headed by 60-64 year olds, with additional (or different) household members. Since you can’t relive past years, cross-age comparisons don’t make as much sense. Your 35 year old self can’t accumulate for 25 year old you. However, you can save for you at 38.
We suggest keeping an eye on relative wealth among your peers, or wealth between adjacent age groups. Good luck with your wealth accumulation!