Americans Think They Need $1.46 Million to Retire Comfortably: Survey

A new Northwestern Mutual survey of 4,588 adults, conducted by Harris Poll Jan. 3-17, reveals just how much Americans think they might need to enjoy life after working. And this price keeps increasing.

According to the survey, Americans are looking at $1.46 million as the magic number for feeling comfortable in retirement.

And it differs across generations: Gen Z and Millennials said they would feel comfortable retiring with more than $1.6 million, Gen X thinks $1.56 million and baby boomers are thinking $990,000. For those with a high net worth, with income above $1 million, their expectations were much higher, at $3.93 million.

But all of this adds up to hundreds of thousands, if not millions, less than each cohort actually saved. For example, Generation X only saved an average of $108,600 for retirement. It’s less than that of this generation average annual household pre-tax income of $126,892 in 2022.

With the big gap between Generation X’s retirement goals and their current savings, 42% of them think they “could outlive their savings,” according to the survey.

Generation X also plans to retire later than other generations; On average, Americans plan to retire at 65 – Gen Z thinks it will be 60 for them – but Gen X plans to throw in the towel at 67.

How much do you need for retirement

While it’s difficult to determine an exact number that would allow Americans of all generations to retire comfortably, the Wall Street Journal highlighted a method from Fidelity Investments that suggests people should save 10 times their annual salary before age 67, with the aim of reaching a savings value. six times their annual salary at age 50. And, as the Wall Street Journal notes, low-income Americans may be overestimating how much they need for retirement.

For example, based on the envelope calculation, the average annual household income for Generation X is $126,892 per BLS. Using Fidelity’s formula, Gen Xers would need to save more than $761,000 by age 50 to be on track to save enough for age 67. While that’s still significantly more than they’ve saved on average today, it’s also a bit lower than their estimate in Northwestern Mutual’s survey.

The high number of respondents looking to retire may reflect tough conditions in the U.S. economy. Although the pace of inflation has slowed after the pandemic, it remains above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target, and many Americans continue to struggle with high costs that are straining their wallets, especially especially for necessities such as housing, food, insurance and utilities.

For example, the majority of Gen Z, millennial, and Gen in financial security.

Generation X also faces its own economic predicament as the “forgotten generation.” Millennials and Gen Z both started saving for retirement earlier than their Gen X peers and are more confident in their financial preparation for retirement. Meanwhile, Generation X, as a whole, feels less financially secure than other generations, according to a July YouGov and Business Insider survey of more than 1,800 Americans.

And all of these retirement fears — and meager savings — come as retirement is increasingly out of reach for many Americans. The retirement crisis is already a reality for some seniors, with just over half of Americans over 65 earning less than $30,000 a year and forced to rely on Social Security and continue working to survive .

This situation may only get worse as Social Security benefits remain in jeopardy and student debt and other financial pressures only increase.

Are you worried about not being able to retire? How are you preparing for your retirement? Contact these journalists at And


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