What Should Your Net Worth Be By Age 30?

Dear Readers,

This post is very near and dear to me. As my twenties come to a close and I get closer to the dreaded “dirty 30”, I’ve been doing a lot more self reflection. I’ve been asking myself questions like:

Have I helped people? Have I lived a good life? And how the heck did my 20’s fly by so quick?!

But one question that comes up time and time again for me, is: How am I doing with the promise I made to myself when I was a kid?

When I was 8, I promised myself I’d be a millionaire by the time I was 30. And although I’m not worth 7 figures yet, I got curious: How am I currently stacking up compared to my peers?

What should my net worth be at 30? And more importantly: What’s a good net worth at 30?

Quickly: What is Net Worth?

Just in case we’re starting from scratch here, your:

NET WORTH = (all your ASSETS) — (all your LIABILITIES)

Think of it as an overall picture of your financial health. Add up the total dollar value of all your assets: your cash, your 401k, any stocks, bonds, market value on your home, car, etc. and subtract from it all the liabilities under your name: credit card balances, mortgages, student loans, personal loans, car loans, etc.

There’s a big difference between being rich and being wealthy. Just because you make a lot of money, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have a good net worth! You could be making millions and still have a negative to average net worth for your age if you have too many liabilities. There’s definitely correlation between high income and high net worth, but not necessarily causation.

So What should your net worth be?

Now, I do want to say this question is a little vague.

I’d argue that the question of “what should your net worth be” really depends on your circumstances. I.E. — If you’re lucky enough to receive a $1MM dollar inheritance right when you turned 18, but blew through half of it in a year, you’d be a teenager with a net worth of ~$500k. That figure would still put you in the top 1% of your peers’ when it comes to average net worth by age… but c’mon, it should’ve been higher.

Ok, so that’s an extreme example. But what about for the rest of us? What’s the average American’s net worth by age?

(Sources: Federal Reserve, DQYDJ)

This data was pulled from a 2013 Federal Reserve survey. There’s a lot going on in the graph, but what we’re looking for are the numbers in the middle 50%.

 25–29: $9,460
 30–34: $19,400
 35–39: $36,320
 40–44: $62,200
 45–49: $72,070
 50–54: $122,100
 55+: $194,700

Are you surprised? Where do you fall compared to the average?

If you don’t already know your number, I’d strongly encourage you to stop and find out what your net worth is today.

The good news is thanks to technology, you don’t even need to break out the pen and calculator anymore. You can find out your net worth for free, in literally just a few minutes. (More on that at the bottom of this post.)

So this answered the first question I had: What should my net worth be at 30?

Well, it should be at least $19,400. At that number, theoretically half of the 30 year olds I meet would be worth more than me, and half of them less. I gave myself a quick pat on the back since I was already considerably ahead of that number.

But my second question still remained:

What’s a good net worth?

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Originally published at www.mrsmartmoney.com on July 29, 2017.