Shocking Look at Average vs Median Household Savings

I have been on a rampage about average vs median income. Here's a report about average vs median savings.

The question is irrelevant. The story is how unprepared the median person is prepared for retirement. On that score, the article does explain.


  1. The average American household has $175,510 worth of savings in bank accounts and retirement savings accounts as of June 2018.
  2. The median American household currently holds about $11,700 across these same types of accounts.
  3. The top 1% of households (as measured by income) have an average of $2,495,930 in these various saving accounts. The bottom 20% have an average of $8,720.
  4. Roughly 83% of savings are in located in retirement accounts like IRAs and workplace-sponsored retirement savings plans like 401(k)s.
  5. Millennials, who have just started their savings journey, have currently socked away an average of $24,820. Gen Xers have $125,560 in retirement savings. Baby boomers and those born before 1946 have an average of $274,910.
  6. 29% of households have less than $1,000 in savings.

Point number 2 is the most relevant point. 50% of household have less than $11,700 in savings.

Averages Lie

What's wrong with averages? The Skew!

Average and Median Savings by Income Level

The top 1% of income earners have an average savings of $2.53 million and a median savings of $1.16 million.

That average affects people with no savings.

The median savings for 40% of households is zero. The "average" varies by income group but it is much higher.

The "middle" (40-60% of wage earners) median savings is $34,020 but the average is $65,830.

Age Level

This is where the stats get truly depressing.

The average "boomer" headed into or in retirement has $274,910 in savings.

What's wrong with that?

Well, 50% of boomers have less than $24,280 saved up.

Averages lie.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

No. 1-14

The current system is doomed. It's predicated on asset inflation while we are experience massive job deflation..


Are you in the bleeding heart camp or honestly the reality -- most people have "little savings" especially young people ( & WBZ 1030 Boston have this bleeding heart obsession with millenials now) because they waste their money & blow it on frivolous crap because of the attitude of YOLO or "FOMO". I mean anyone in Boston now see these college kids? some of the most entitled, coddled individuals who have the latest Macbook Pro, latest Iphone and of course Canadian Goose coats (at $1200 each) for the Winter. Ever see the parents -- most are the same interchangeable, WASPY late Gen X or Boomer consumer drones who always have this look of shock when you give them the old school New York attitude to keep them in check.

I mean people spend now over $200 a month on cable & internet and another $150 a month to keep that latest Iphone X in service, $250 a month for gym membership (plus of course the dorky spandex outfits), $150 for "running shoes" (with the dorky spandex of course)... Marketwatch & WBZ 1030 still have this bleeding heart "wages trailing inflation" but practically everyone I know spends $2000 on rent alone and eats dinner out every night or spends $50 per person on Seamless web or Uber eats


Interesting about Millenials (that everyone seems to have this pathological obsession with).. They think people in their 40s are "old", won't hire anyone over 35, are only concerned with "fit" and only can think in terms of "groupthink" or "team", and of course won't associate with anyone who doesn't have the latest Iphone, and most of the women are extremely cold, never smile with their hair tied up in a bun.

Ron Cataldi
Ron Cataldi

It certainly is misleading to talk about averages when income and savings inequality are as astronomical as they are in the US. It's misleading and not a useful statistic. Making hay out of whether it's a lie or not seems like a way to avoid addressing the topic. Most Americans do not have enough savings to retire or even to deal with a personal crisis.


I take exception to the statement averages lie. The numbers used calculate the average is accurate and true, Yes? Thus, the average is not a lie. False data was not used to make the calculations. The large discrepancy between the median and mean in savings is exactly why we have a mathematical way to describe median and mean. They are tools to help better understand groupings of number and you must know when and how to use them.