The average net worth of American families with a head of household between the ages of 55 and 64 was $798,400 in 2014, according to the Federal Reserve. In that same year, the average age of retirement was 62, up from 59 in 2002, according to Gallup. One reason Americans are retiring later is because they think they need to save more money first.
Definition of Net Worth
Your net worth is the difference between your assets and your liabilities. Calculate your net worth by adding up the value of all you own, such as your home, stocks, bank accounts, mutual funds, retirement accounts and annuities. Then subtract from this total all your debts, including student loans, credit card debts, auto loans and mortgages. The result is your net worth.
Median Net Worth
Families with average net worth actually have much more than most retirement-age Americans. Another measure that's useful for comparing the wealth of retirees is the median, or midpoint. So half of the families have more net worth than the median, and half have less. The median net worth of families with a head of household in the 55 to 64 age group was $165,900 in 2014, according to the Federal Reserve.
Types of Assets
In 2013, 77 percent of American families in their early 60s were homeowners, but 63 percent of their homes had mortgages, according to Market Watch. The median home equity for this age group was $110,000, and home equity made up more than 40 percent of their net worth.
In April 2015, 57 percent of Americans 55 or older owned at least some stocks, according to Gallup. In 2013, the average account balance in defined contribution retirement plans for people 55 to 64 was $180,771, while the median was $76,381, according to Vanguard investment management company. The average balance for those over age 65 was $202,800, and the median was $72,957. These retirement plans typically consist of various mutual fund offerings, including stock and bond funds, and employer stock.
Income from Pensions
Social Security and pensions don't appear on a net worth statement, but Social Security contributes approximately 38 percent of the income of the elderly, according to the Social Security Administration. A total of 90 percent of Americans 65 or older receive benefits, and the average Social Security retirement benefit was $1,294 in December 2013.
Net Worth for Income in Retirement
Not including net worth in home equity, which isn't easily tapped for living expenses, financial planners often recommend savings and investments ranging from $1 million to $2 million for retirement, according to U.S. News Money. Some experts recommend savings that are specific multiples of pre-retirement income -- for example, 10 or more times your yearly income.
Although the average retiree doesn't have $1 million or more saved, pensions and Social Security help fill the gap. Your needs may vary, depending on your age at retirement, pension and Social Security income, lifestyle preferences and estimated expenses. For example, if your estimated expenses are $4,000 per month and you expect $2,500 from Social Security, you'll need to make up an additional $1,500 per month from retirement assets.
Use a retirement calculator to find out whether you're on track.