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Are Millennials on Track With Retirement Savings? Here's What a Recent Survey Says

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Millennials tend to get a bad rap when it comes to financial matters. Search the internet for avocado toast memes, and youโ€™ll know exactly what that means.

But the reality is that millennials have had a pretty tough path to financial stability across the board. Many millennials graduated college with piles of debt and, to this day, have yet to earn a high enough wage to really get ahead of it. Throw in the exorbitant cost of homeownership and child care, and itโ€™s amazing to think that millennials are able to save for retirement at all.

Recent data from Northwestern Mutual shows that the average retirement savings balance among millennials is $62,600. And for younger members of that generation, thatโ€™s pretty impressive. But older millennials may need to start ramping up their savings efforts to be able to retire in a comfortable manner.

A group of people eating.

Image source: Getty Images.

A number thatโ€™s both good and bad

Any time weโ€™re given an average in the context of peopleโ€™s personal savings, we have to assume that some people have saved well above the average and others have saved considerably less. But even so, an average balance of $62,600 among millennials isnโ€™t automatically alarming when we consider that the youngest members of that age group are still in their 20s, and many are in their early and mid-30s.

Where $62,600 in retirement savings becomes a bit more problematic is among older millennials โ€” those pushing 40 or in their early 40s already. Someone whoโ€™s 42 with a retirement plan balance of $62,600 and who adds $200 a month to that account for the next 25 years could end up with about $604,000 if we assume theyโ€™re getting an average annual return on their investments. That 8% is a bit below the stock marketโ€™s average.

But what if $604,000 isnโ€™t enough for a comfortable retirement? If we assume a 4% withdrawal rate, which is what financial experts have long recommended, a balance that size results in about $24,000 of annual income. Given the potential for Social Security cuts, that might leave some millennials short on income, depending on the lifestyle they want.

Also, that $604,000 balance assumes another 25 years of work, contributions, and investment gains. Someone aged 42 with a retirement plan balance of $62,600 who adds $200 a month to that account for only another 20 years, not 25, is looking at a balance of about $402,000, assuming that same 8% return.

Push yourself to prioritize your nest egg

If youโ€™re a younger millennial with $62,600 in savings, keep doing what youโ€™re doing. But if youโ€™re older and feel that your savings need work, aim to prioritize and boost your IRA or 401(k) in the coming years. Doing so could mean cutting back on some expenses or joining the gig economy for extra income. But that effort could yield great results.

Letโ€™s say youโ€™re 40 with $62,600 and you want to retire at 65. If youโ€™re able to fund your retirement account to the tune of $600 a month over the next 25 years, all the while scoring an average yearly 8% return, you could end up with about $955,000.

All told, you may be at a stage of life where youโ€™re overwhelmed by expenses. But do make a point to sock away money for retirement consistently. The more time you give your money to grow, the more secure a retirement you may be looking at.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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