Do You Really Need A Bajillion Dollars By The Time You're 35?

Photographed by Rachel Cabitt.
Chances are, you've seen the advice floating around that advises 35-year-olds to have twice their annual salary in savings if they plan to retire by 67 "and live a similar lifestyle."
If you are 35 years old and you have just one year's annual salary shored up, congratulations a million times over — you're well ahead of the game.
In 2017, the median salary for Americans aged 35 to 44 was $50,752 annually, based on figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. By contrast, the Federal Reserve found that the same age demographic had a median $5,000 in a savings account. All Americans, on average, had just over $33,766 saved, and one-third had $0 saved for retirement in 2016. Obviously, the double-your-salary-by-35 figure isn't realistic for many working people in the U.S. — especially those in their mid-thirties.
"This was predicated on a Fidelity study that assumed that you've been saving 15% of your income directly to retirement every year starting at age 25 [through] age 65, and it was looking more at how a 65-year-old today would get there if they had a constant saving throughout their working career," explains Alison Norris, a strategy manager and CFP at SoFi. "It was not taking into account that this is 2018 and circumstances are far different than they were when a retiree was 35."
Today's 35-year-olds have come of age amid the housing bubble and with a greater student loan burden than today's 65-year-olds could ever imagine. With that in mind, here are more realistic goals Norris says you should work toward — en route to that golden, double-salary nest egg.

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