The average net worth of an American household headed by a 50-year-old is $897,663, according to Federal Reserve data. This mid-career milestone highlights the importance of diligently building wealth over time. Understanding net worth benchmarks by age provides a measuring stick to gauge your own financial progress. With strategic planning and discipline, you can take actions throughout your career to steadily build assets, control debts and aim to beat average net worth targets. A financial advisor can help analyze your current net worth.
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What Is Net Worth?
Your net worth is the value of all your assets minus your liabilities. Assets include bank accounts, investment accounts, home equity, vehicles, valuables and other property. Liabilities comprise all debts you owe, including mortgages, student loans, credit card balances and personal loans.
To calculate your net worth, add up all your assets and subtract your total liabilities. The result provides a snapshot of your current financial position.
Average Net Worth of a 50-Year-Old
The Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances broke out net worth by age and found the average net worth of a household headed by a 50 to 54-year-old is $897,663. This outpaces the average net worth of all U.S. households, which is about $748,800.
Net worth generally increases with age, as careers progress and workers have longer to build wealth. By age 60-64, average net worth climbs to $1,187,730. At age 70-74, it peaks at $1,250,679 before declining in later years as households draw down their assets.
The median net worth of 50 to 54-year-olds is lower at $171,360. The median provides a better standardizing wealth metric than average because average is skewed upward by high-net-worth households. Median net worth of 50-year-olds is also well above the $121,700 median figure for all American households.
Why Net Worth Matters
Tracking your net worth over time provides an important measure of financial health and progress. Growth in your net worth shows that your asset values are appreciating faster than your debts. Stagnant or declining net worth signals a need to shore up your financial position.
Building wealth takes consistent saving, investing and debt reduction over decades. Net worth milestones by age provide guideposts to evaluate if you’re on track. Falling far short of averages for your age group indicates you may need to make adjustments to get your finances on a growth trajectory.
While income pays your current bills, net worth reflects a more lasting form of financial security. Having assets that throw off income helps maintain your standard of living in retirement when regular paychecks stop. Higher net worth also provides a cushion in case of emergencies and improves your ability to handle big costs like college or long-term care.
Boosting Your Net Worth
Net worth varies by some factors that are not under your control, such as ethnicity and inheritance. However, it is also a product of good decisions and financial discipline. Actions you take throughout your career and into retirement can steadily build your net worth over time. Some of these include:
While the average net worth of an American household headed by a 50-year-old is $897,663, illustrating the potential to build substantial assets by this stage of life. Tracking your personal net worth over time provides vital insight into your financial standing. With disciplined saving, investing and debt reduction, you can aim to meet or beat average net worth by age. Falling far short of averages may indicate a need to make adjustments to get your finances on a growth path and achieve lasting security.
Financial Planning Tips
Consult a financial advisor today to get personalized advice on growing your assets, managing debts and beating net worth medians as you progress through each stage of life. Finding a financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three vetted financial advisors who serve your area, and you can have a free introductory call with your advisor matches to decide which one you feel is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
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