Interesting Financial Statistics


I recently heard some financial stats and I can’t help but think of the shape of many Americans. I read some pretty interesting stats earlier and thought I’d share with you and maybe get some of your thoughts.

How much money does the average American earn? How much do they owe? And how much do they pay in taxes? Here are 7 statistics that answer these questions and many others, and give you a good snapshot of the average American’s financial life.


1. The average American gross household income is $71,258

However, it’s important to point out that this is based on IRS data, and the latest calendar year for which the data is available is 2015. Since U.S. median wage growth was about 4% in 2016, it’s fair to assume that the current figure is about $74,000. I find this extremely interesting. This is MORE than enough to live a very comfortable life and SAVE plenty for retirement don’t ya think?


2. The average American household with debt owes $132,529

This includes all credit cards, mortgages, auto loans, student loans, and other types of debt. The average household with a mortgage owes $172,806, the average household that carries credit card balances owes $16,061, and the average household with car loans owes $28,535. Wow! This is really scary!! What are we thinking?


3. The average American’s 401(k) balance is $96,288

However, keep in mind that this is the overall average, and different age groups should have different amounts of money saved. Additionally, the median 401(k) savings is substantially different, which in many ways is the more important number, since half of all retirement savers have less than this amount. By age group, here are the average and median 401(k) balances, according to Vanguard’s 2016 How America Saves report:


Age Group



Average 401(k) Balance



Median 401(k) Balance



Under 25













































65 and older








Data source: Vanguard.


4. The average personal savings rate in the U.S. is 5.5%

This is a substantial improvement over the 2005 low of 1.9%. (1.9%???? Really??? You could find that in your car seats!) However, this includes retirement savings as well as any emergency savings, and is not likely to be enough for the average person. Most experts recommend saving at least 10% to 15% of your income, not including any retirement contributions from your employer. Frankly 5.5% is RIDICULOUS! We absolutely HAVE TO DO BETTER! 

5. Only 18% of Americans actively contribute to an IRA

It’s completely understandable not to use an IRA if you have an excellent retirement plan through your employer, such as a 401(k), that you contribute to on a regular basis. (AND HOPEFULLY MORE THAN 5.5%!!) However, 25% of people who don’t have an IRA said they simply don’t know enough about these accounts, while 46% said they don’t have the money to save. (Seriously?? Definitely a COP OUT!) However, you may be surprised at how easy it can be to learn about and open an IRA, and how little money you need to get started. When I opened my IRA, I started with 25.00! All my contributions were held in my money market account until I reached 1000.00. At this point I was able to invest it. It took about 10 minutes to get up and running. I then set it on automatic and to reinvest the dividends. DONE DEAL! It was so simple a child could do it. I highly recommend you do this today if you’re not SAVING and especially if you don’t have a retirement plan at work. Some of the best places to open one is Fidelity, Charles Schwab, and Vanguard. Stay away from HIGH FEE brokerage firms! Even 1% fees ARE WAY TO MUCH.

6. The average American’s tax refund in 2016 was $2,860

Over 70% of Americans got tax refunds totaling more than $317 billion, and these figures should be pretty close in 2017, as there weren’t many major tax changes last year. In 2017, 79% of Americans who anticipate a tax refund plan on using it to either save or pay down debt, according to a survey by GoBankingRates, while 11% say they’re going to use it for a vacation, and 5% plan to splurge on a big-ticket purchase. Saving and investing this money is WISE! It gets you even closer to your FREEDOM!

7. The average American’s Social Security retirement benefit is $1,363 per month

As of January 2017, the average retired worker’s benefit was $1,363 per month, which translates to $16,356 per year. 21% of married couples and 43% of single retirees rely on Social Security for substantially all (90% or more) of their income. However, Social Security is only designed to replace about 40% of the average worker’s pre-retirement. RETIREMENT SAVINGS would REALLY help right here! HELLLLLLO!! ANYONE HOME?? Save for retirement!

Fact Sources: Fox Business, Motley Fool, and Vanguard.



Thanks for reading,

$aving George


2 thoughts on “Interesting Financial Statistics

  1. I think you’ll get a different picture on income and savings with median, one that’s far worse. Still your point stands most people can stand to save something and it’s scary they don’t.

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