Ed Koch in New York 1980'sBy RICHARD EISENBERG

When Ed Koch was mayor of New York City, he loved to ask passers-by: "How'm I doing?!" We all want to know the answer to that question in our lives, too.

That's why Next Avenue is launching the series: "Next Avenue Scorecard: How Do You Rate?" We're starting with my area: Money.

Below you'll find the latest statistics for how Americans in their 40s, 50s and 60s are faring, on average, based on: net worth, income, savings and investments, and debt -- along with my two cents after each.

The good news I can report: According to a spanking new Fidelity Investments survey on retirement savings, individuals in their 40s, 50s and 60s are saving more for retirement these days than other age groups.

"We're seeing many midcareer investors taking advantage of catch-up contributions [extra money people 50 and older are allowed to put into retirement plans], which is encouraging because this can have a significant impact on reaching savings goals," says Ken Hevert, vice president of retirement products for Fidelity Investments.

On to the Next Avenue Money Scorecard:

NET WORTH

Median family net worth

Age 45 to 54: $117,900
Age 55 to 64: $179,400
Age 65 to 74: $206,700

(Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, 2012)

My two cents I think net worth -- what you get when you subtract your household's debt from its assets -- is a somewhat meaningless number, since yours could look puny if you have a sizable mortgage, despite your savings. You can compare your net worth versus others with your income using the CNNMoney.com Net Worth: How Do You Stack Up? calculator.


INCOME

Median household income

Age 45 to 54: $63,861
Age 55 to 64: $55,937
Age 65 and older: $33,118

(Source: U.S. Census Bureau Current Population Survey, 2011)

My two cents As you can see, household income generally shrinks once you hit your mid 50s and plummets after 65 (many in that age group are retired). A clever calculator on the Payscale.com site lets you see how your salary compares with others in your field with your experience; you can also get a free customized salary report with career path predictions for your job and names of companies who hire people like you.

SAVINGS AND INVESTMENTS

Total savings/investments, workers age 45 to 54

Less than $10,000: 46%
$10,000 to $99,999: 26%
$100,000 to $249,999: 12%
$250,00 or more: 17%

Total savings/investments, workers age 55 +
Less than $10,000: 31%
$10,000 to $99,999: 29%
$100,000 to $249,999: 18%
$250,000 or more: 22%

Percentage of workers currently saving for retirement
Age 45 to 54: 57%
Age 55+: 66%

(Source: 2012 Retirement Confidence Survey, Employee Benefit Research Institute and Mathew Greenwald & Associates)

Percentage of families owning retirement accounts
Age 45 to 54: 60%
Age 55 to 64: 60%
Age 65 to 74: 49%

(Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, 2012)

Average total contribution of workplace savings plan and IRA in 2012
Age 45 to 49: $11,077
Age 50 to 54: $12,880
Age 55 to 59: $13,360
Age 60 to 64: $12,867
Age 65 to 69: $12,505

(Source: Fidelity Investments 2013 survey of 999,000 individuals with IRA and 401(k) or 403(b) balances at Fidelity)

Percentage of households owning mutual funds
Age 45 to 54: 24%
Age 55 to 64: 21%
Age 65 or older: 18%

(Source: Investment Company Institute Characteristics of Mutual Fund Investors, 2012)

Percentage of families owning stocks (directly or in mutual funds/retirement accounts)
Age 45 to 54: 58%
Age 55 to 64: 60%
Age 65 to 74: 46%

Percentage of families owning bonds
Age 45 to 54: 1%
Age 55 to 64: 2%
Age 65 to 74: 3%

(Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, 2012)

My two cents I'd be a cautious about taking too literally the dollar figures in the savings tables, because they're based on survey data rather than the entire U.S. population. Still, they'll give you a sense of whether you should pat yourself on the back, go into manic saving mode or something in between.
For retirement saving guidance, Chris Farrell's Next Avenue article, "Money Rules of Thumb You Need to Follow (and Ignore!)" is recommended reading.

If you're in your 40s, 50s or mid-60s and don't have a retirement account, you're not only in the minority, you're endangering your financial future. Once you have an emergency savings fund, please either contribute to your employer's retirement fund or open an IRA.

There's still time to fund a 2012 IRA if you had earned income last year. The Next Avenue article, "Last Call to Get Your 2012 IRA," has the details.

DEBT

Percentage of families with mortgages on primary residences

Age 45 to 54: 60%
Age 55 to 64: 54%
Age 65 to 74: 41%

Median value of mortgages on primary residences
Age 45 to 54: $114,000
Age 55 to 64: $97,000
Age 65 to 74: $70,000

Percentage of families with installment loans
Age 45 to 54: 50%
Age 55 to 64: 41%
Age 65 to 74: 30%

Median value of installment loans
Age 45 to 54: $12,000
Age 55 to 64: $11,300
Age 65 to 74: $10,000

Percentage of families with credit card balances
Age 45 to 54: 46%
Age 55 to 64: 41%
Age 65 to 74: 32%

Median value of credit card balances
Age 45 to 54: $3,500
Age 55 to 64: $2,800
Age 65 to 74: $2,200

Percentage of families with debt payments past due 60 days or more
Age 45 to 54: 13%
Age 55 to 64: 8%
Age 65 to 74: 6%

(Source: Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances, 2012)

My two cents I'm encouraged to see that Americans' debt loads drop as retirement nears. Making loan and credit card payments when you don't have a full-time income can be a bear.

That said, a full 41 percent of people 65 to 74 are still carrying a mortgage and those with installment loans (car loans, student loans and the like) owe $10,000, on average, which is pretty steep.

If you can pay off your home before retirement begins, do it. (As Forbes recently noted, Bankrate.com has a handy amortization calculator that can help you time your mortgage payoff to your retirement date.)

I bet that getting out of debt will make you a whole lot cheerier the next time you ask yourself, "How'm I doing?"

Photo Credit: Pat Carroll/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images



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October 29 2013 at 4:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply