How Much Should a 30-Year-Old Couple Have in Retirement?

While retirement might feel too far into your future when you and your partner are only 30, starting to save at an early age will allow more time to plan for a more comfortable retirement and generate returns on your investments. Financial experts typically recommend that a 30-year-old couple should have somewhere between one-half to a full year of your total household income saved. Keep in mind, though, that along with contributing your own money, you can get some of the funds from employer-matched contributions and earnings from investments like mutual funds and stocks.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

While your current financial goals and your plans for retirement will impact the amount, common recommendations for a 30-year-old couple include having between one-half to a full year of your total household income saved.

Retirement Savings for 30-Year-Old Couple

The recommended retirement savings you and your partner should have by age 30 vary depending on the source. Fidelity suggests putting 15 percent of your income toward retirement as soon as you turn 25 and having at least one year of your total household salary saved by the time you reach 30. On the other hand, T. Rowe Price sets this amount at a lower 50 percent of your annual household income. Other sources don't specify a concrete amount but just suggest saving 15 to 20 percent of your earnings once you've started working.

The Fidelity and T. Rowe Price recommendations indicate that if you and your spouse earn a total household income of $120,000, then you should have anywhere between $60,000 and $120,000 saved for retirement. On the other hand, if you and your partner began saving 15 percent of your $100,000 combined income at age 24, then you will have been saving $15,000 a year, which should total around $90,000 by the time you're 30.

Determining Your Specific Retirement Needs

The recommended retirement savings amounts for a 30-year-old couple don't consider your specific retirement needs, and this can mean you'll need more or less to retire comfortably. To better determine how much retirement money you should have by 30 and how much you should save in the future, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • At what age do you plan to retire?
  • Do you plan to still work part-time, do freelance work or earn passive income once you retire?
  • How much Social Security or pension income will you get?
  • How much is your expected cost of living (housing, transportation, food, medical costs, utilities, etc.)?
  • What kind of return do you expect on your investments?
  • What lifestyle do you and your partner desire? (i.e., Do you want to travel, take on any expensive hobbies or live a more conservative lifestyle?)

Using a Retirement Savings Calculator

You can use an online retirement savings calculator to predict your expenses during retirement and get an estimated savings amount for you to retire by your planned age. These calculators take your birth years, location, income and planned savings rate as well as information about your current savings balance and planned retirement age. You'll be able to see a detailed analysis that shows recommended retirement account balances by age along with estimated Social Security payments and investment earnings.

Catching Up on Retirement Savings

If you fall short of the suggested retirement savings amounts, don't worry. It's common to have less than the recommended amounts for a 30-year-old couple by age 30, especially if you have other financial goals you and your partner are working on. For example, if you have student loans and credit cards to pay off, you may find it more beneficial to pay those off and avoid the extra interest than to put aside more money for retirement at this time. If you are saving to buy a house, you may prioritize this goal and decide to save more toward retirement once you've saved up your down payment.

To start catching up on your retirement savings, you and your partner can begin contributing as much as possible to any employer-matched 401(k) accounts you have as well as stashing money inside an individual retirement account. If you're still paying down debts, you may find it helpful to start slowly and save 10 percent of your household income until you can comfortably contribute 15 to 20 percent of your income.

Adjusting to Income Changes

You may find it helpful to visit the online retirement savings calculator when you or your spouse experience changes in income or retirement goals so that you have a better idea of how to adjust your savings. You might also consider working with a financial adviser to help reduce any debts and expenses and come up with a solid plan for your family's retirement savings.

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