Retirement Savings by Age: Are You on Track?

Planning for retirement at every age doesn’t need to be complicated. Learn about key retirement saving considerations from Huntington Bank.

When you first start to think about saving for retirement, it can be challenging to wrap your mind around it. You may not know how much you need to save, what account type is best for your retirement savings, or when to start saving.

One of the worst things you can do is compare your retirement savings to the average person and assume that you’ve failed because you’re nowhere close to it. On the other hand, you could be ahead of your retirement savings goals, which can make you feel like you’re right on track. The truth: saving for retirement is different for everyone, and there’s no hard rule or set number you need to reach.

At Huntington, we want to help guide your retirement planning journey. With that in mind, remember that you are in control of setting your financial goals. We’re here to provide you with some resources, tools, and knowledge to help you make decisions regarding planning for your retirement.

Depending on where you’re at in life, retirement can feel so far away, but it’s important to start planning and saving now if you haven’t already. Even if it’s a small percentage of your paycheck, this act of saving can be critical to setting yourself up for success in the future.

If you’re just now getting started, ask yourself these general questions:

  • Do you have a 401(k) through your employer?
  • Does your employer match 401(k) contributions?
  • Do you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA)?
  • Do you have a Health Savings Account (HSA)?
  • Are you balancing retirement savings with other financial goals?
  • What are some expenses you want to consider in retirement?

It’s important to figure out how much you can save and the type of account you want to use for retirement savings. If you have a 401(k) or a similar employer-sponsored account, that can be a great place to start.

Additionally, if you have an HSA, it can be a great idea to start thinking of that as another retirement account you can use for your healthcare expenses in retirement. Even if you have pressing short-term financial goals, like paying off debt and saving money for a down payment on a house, it’s essential to balance that with starting to save for retirement.

Average Savings for Retirement by Age

Although there is no consensus around how much you should save by age, it can be helpful for planning to see different milestones for certain ages. With that, keep in mind that every financial situation is unique, and don’t bring yourself down if you find out your number doesn’t match what’s listed in the “Retirement Savings by Age” chart. This should only be used as a guide, providing a general sense of whether you’re on track with accumulating the average retirement savings, or if you need to become a little more aggressive with your savings.

According to Kristen Stoller at Forbes, here’s how much you should have saved in retirement by age§.

 By Age Retirement Savings 
 30 .5x your salary 
 35 1x your salary 
 40 2x your salary 
 45 3x your salary 
 50  5x your salary
 55  7x your salary
 60 9x your salary 
 65 11x your salary 

Also, you’ll want to discuss and track your plan regularly with a professional to make sure your saving aligns with your wants and needs. Especially as you get closer to retirement age, the accounts you have, and the saving strategies, investments, and tax considerations you have will have a major impact on the quality of your retirement.

You don’t need to put your entire life on hold to save for retirement. However, you do want to be prepared when the time comes to retire. It may take a little compromising but try to arrive at savings decisions that support both your short-term and long-term savings goals. As always, it’s important to discuss your retirement plan with a financial advisor.

"I’ve been in this business for more than 20 years, and in all that time, I have never met someone who said they have too much money in retirement. Even if they have enough to cover their planned lifestyle expenses, some want to build gifting plans to children, increase their charitable contributions or just want to have more peace of mind if an illness or other life event causes unexpected expenses."
Frank Zugaro, National Practice Lead for Retirement Planning Services
Huntington Private Bank®

According to the Department of Labor, experts estimate the average person will need 70-90% of their current income when they retire, and the average American is living up to 20 years in retirement.

For example, if your current income is $50,000, then you will need around 80% of that for retirement, or $40,000 per year. If you’re planning for 20 years in retirement, you will need about $800,000 in total savings for retirement.

If doing that calculation gave you a headache, let our retirement calculators do the math for you. We can’t predict the future, but we can help you plan for it.

Five Ways You Can Save for Retirement

At Huntington, we have bankers experienced in retirement planning. Here’s what we recommend to customers who want to get started with their retirement savings or stay on track.

  1. Start small if necessary, and right away. Even if it’s only 5% or less of each paycheck, it’s important to start contributing towards your retirement savings. Most retirement accounts accept contributions through direct deposit that come right out of each paycheck. If you can automate your savings and adjust your budget to your new take-home amount, you’ll quickly adjust to making room to save for retirement.
  2. Track your progress and adjust if needed. Once you start allocating or automating your retirement savings into an account, it’s important to have a yearly, or even quarterly, check-in to see how your saving is progressing. By doing this, you will be able to adjust if you’re ahead of schedule, if you need to purchase a house or pay off debt sooner or continue to maintain or increase your savings.
  3. Increase your retirement saving annually. One of the benefits of starting small is that it allows you to gradually step up your saving as you can afford to save more. Try to keep increasing until you’re saving at least 10-15% of your pay.
  4. Capitalize on any company match your employer offers on your contributions. By contributing up to your company’s full match, you’re not leaving any money on the table, and it effectively amounts to an instant 100% return on your investment.
  5. Save for your future healthcare expenses now. One of the best ways to save for healthcare in retirement is through a Health Savings Account (HSA). Especially if an HSA is offered through your employer where they'll make contributions on your behalf, it can be a powerful retirement savings vehicle.

    If you're able to shift your mindset towards using it to save and pay for future medical expenses instead of for your immediate needs, the tax advantages of an HSA can really maximize your investment. HSAs are considered triple tax-advantaged because you can contribute pre-tax dollars through payroll deductions, invest your funds to grow and accumulate tax-free, and withdraw your funds tax-free if you use them for qualified medical expenses.


    Other retirement accounts, like an IRA or a Roth IRA, require you to pay taxes on the front or backend, so when it comes to paying health care costs in retirement, an HSA is one of your best options.
"The two most common things that I hear when I talk to people who are getting ready to retire are, ‘I wish I had started saving sooner. And I wish I had saved more.’"
Stephanie Haralson, Retirement Plan Advisor
Huntington Private Bank®

Retirement is one of the biggest goals you’ll save for, but you don’t need to do it alone. Wherever you’re at in your retirement savings journey, we’re here to help! For more information, contact your local Huntington Financial Advisor at (877) 587-8049 or contact your local Private Bank Advisor at (800) 543-7517.

Ready to Start Planning for the Future?

At Huntington, we have skilled bankers and licensed investment representatives who can help you navigate long-term planning for either your retirement or investing goals.

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§Stoller, Kristen. “How Much Should You Have Saved by Age?” Forbes Advisor. February 25, 2020. 

U.S. Department of Labor. “Top 10 Ways to Prepare for Retirement.” U.S. Department of Labor. September 2019.

Silva, Derek. “How Much Should You Contribute to Your 401(k)?” SmartAsset. Updated December 11, 2019.

Huntington Private Bank® is a team of professionals dedicated to delivering a full range of wealth and financial services. The team is comprised of Private Bankers, who offer premium banking solutions, Wealth and Investment Management professionals, who provide, among other services, trust and estate administration and portfolio management from The Huntington National Bank, and licensed investment representatives of The Huntington Investment Company, which offers securities and investment advisory services. Huntington Private Bank® is a federally registered service mark of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. 

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