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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The average American's portfolio in 2021

The average American's portfolio in 2021

Key takeaways

See how your portfolio stacks up against the average American's retirement account balance compared to cash assets, credit card debt, and other loans in 2021.

01.04.2022

In 2022, most Americans can contribute $20,500 to a qualified 401(k) retirement savings account every year — but how many actually are?

Unfortunately, the average American family has only the equivalent of $59,000 set aside for retirement savings. Assuming the family contains two adults to account for — and not every family does — that’s $29,500 per person to live on after almost a lifetime of saving.1

And aside from retirement, there’s also the potential for compound earnings on your investments through an investment vehicle such as ETFs and/or mutual funds. However, it’s not always clear what a person’s portfolio should look like since there’s no one right answer that works for everybody.2

Your lifestyle differs from that of your friends, neighbors and colleagues — so it’s better to not get lost in the comparison game when assessing the strength of your financial portfolio. However, it is nice to have a barometer as to what most people do to successfully save and invest for retirement.

Ahead, we go over 2021 data from people who use the Empower Personal DashboardTM. Consider this data inspiration – so you can see what the average balance in retirement accounts were compared to cash assets, credit card debt and other loans.

2021 summary: What’s inside Empower users’ portfolios?

A complete financial portfolio includes all accounts, including debt. A person’s net worth would not be accurate without factoring in how both their assets (cash, investments, properties) and liabilities (debt) compared to one another. Net worth is calculated by subtracting what you owe to creditors from cash in the bank and assets you currently own.3

Here’s a snapshot of the average and median balances of retirement vs. credit card balances for Empower free tools users in 2021:

  • Average balance in retirement accounts: $414,000
  • Median balance in retirement accounts: $123,000
  • Average credit card balance: $6,100
  • Median credit card balance: $2,600

When we dig deeper, we find even more revealing information. It’s normal for your financial portfolio to fluctuate with age, lifestyle factors and circumstances. Here’s a breakdown of account balances by decade across the average Empower free tools user’s lifespan.

Take your own personal circumstances into consideration when you look at the data ahead.

Retirement contributions by age

Interestingly, the count of users who made a retirement contribution in 2021 declined compared to 2020, but the total amount contributed went up. Here’s a snapshot of how much more than 400,000 Empower users contributed to their retirement accounts this year.

                                   

Age

                                   

                                   

2020 median retirement contribution

                                   

                                   

2020 average retirement contribution

                                   

                                   

2020 count of users (that made a retirement contribution)

                                   

                                   

2021 median retirement contribution

                                   

                                   

2021 average retirement contribution

                                   

                                   

2021 count of users (that made a retirement contribution)

                                   

                                   

20s

                                   

                                   

$6,533.97

                                   

                                   

$11,752.50

                                   

                                   

75,120

                                   

                                   

$8,740.06

                                   

                                   

$14,535.18

                                   

                                   

75,448

                                   

                                   

30s

                                   

                                   

$11,339.84

                                   

                                   

$20,952.22

                                   

                                   

180,799

                                   

                                   

$15,111.89

                                   

                                   

$24,708.40

                                   

                                   

161,315

                                   

                                   

40s

                                   

                                   

$15,077.22

                                   

                                   

$30,668.91

                                   

                                   

101,160

                                   

                                   

$19,500.00

                                   

                                   

$35,358.68

                                   

                                   

88,400

                                   

                                   

50s

                                   

                                   

$16,308.47

                                   

                                   

$39,388.24

                                   

                                   

56,361

                                   

                                   

$20,702.51

                                   

                                   

$42,445.24

                                   

                                   

49,127

                                   

                                   

60s

                                   

                                   

$12,533.79

                                   

                                   

$41,745.77

                                   

                                   

21,975

                                   

                                   

$14,789.92

                                   

                                   

$44,730.37

                                   

                                   

17,570

                                   

NOTE: This data was pulled as of 12/15/2021, making 2021 technically short 15 days compared to 2020 so the contributions are slightly understated for 2021.

What funds users contributed to in 2021

Do you know where your money went this year? Ahead are the top 50 investment holdings of Empower users, ranked by the total dollar amount invested.

You’ll notice that the majority of users hold mostly ETFs and mutual funds, with a sprinkling of blue-chip Stocks.

                                   

Symbol

                                   

                                   

Holding type

                                   

                                   

$ amount

                                   

                                   

Number of users

                                   

                                   

VTSAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$16,128,874,662

                                   

                                   

108,656

                                   

                                   

AAPL*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$13,275,488,670

                                   

                                   

217,634

                                   

                                   

FXAIX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$8,539,112,802

                                   

                                   

111,928

                                   

                                   

VFIAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$8,458,957,671

                                   

                                   

91,015

                                   

                                   

VTI

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$7,687,095,480

                                   

                                   

108,125

                                   

                                   

TSLA*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$7,114,706,333

                                   

                                   

110,831

                                   

                                   

AMZN*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$7,090,864,841

                                   

                                   

132,457

                                   

                                   

MSFT*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$6,929,701,507

                                   

                                   

140,530

                                   

                                   

VMFXX

                                   

                                   

Money market fund

                                   

                                   

$4,673,484,730

                                   

                                   

168,067

                                   

                                   

SPAXX

                                   

                                   

Money market fund

                                   

                                   

$3,653,920,956

                                   

                                   

142,708

                                   

                                   

VTIAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$3,651,043,253

                                   

                                   

53,127

                                   

                                   

FB*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$3,387,316,145

                                   

                                   

82,290

                                   

                                   

VBTLX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,873,372,018

                                   

                                   

53,016

                                   

                                   

FDRXX

                                   

                                   

Money market fund

                                   

                                   

$2,725,901,914

                                   

                                   

95,095

                                   

                                   

VIIIX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,573,761,191

                                   

                                   

36,324

                                   

                                   

FSKAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,484,695,067

                                   

                                   

29,813

                                   

                                   

NVDA*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$2,430,490,530

                                   

                                   

70,936

                                   

                                   

SCHF

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$2,343,353,119

                                   

                                   

26,038

                                   

                                   

GOOG*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$2,320,278,750

                                   

                                   

52,948

                                   

                                   

SPY

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$2,285,007,892

                                   

                                   

28,723

                                   

                                   

VOO

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,114,629,952

                                   

                                   

77,851

                                   

                                   

GOOGL*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$2,101,886,526

                                   

                                   

61,536

                                   

                                   

VINIX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,075,630,256

                                   

                                   

31,012

                                   

                                   

VTI

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,991,312,601

                                   

                                   

60,683

                                   

                                   

AAPL*

                                   

                                   

Employee stock option

                                   

                                   

$1,777,514,061

                                   

                                   

4,101

                                   

                                   

VOO

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$1,757,321,630

                                   

                                   

40,804

                                   

                                   

QQQ

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$1,723,377,753

                                   

                                   

36,635

                                   

                                   

IVV

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$1,529,836,736

                                   

                                   

18,758

                                   

                                   

FCNTX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,451,969,636

                                   

                                   

21,522

                                   

                                   

SPY

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,451,856,821

                                   

                                   

20,258

                                   

                                   

VWENX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,385,884,125

                                   

                                   

12,454

                                   

                                   

SWPPX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,385,194,436

                                   

                                   

28,690

                                   

                                   

VXUS

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,356,299,807

                                   

                                   

22,590

                                   

                                   

VTIVX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,315,098,144

                                   

                                   

18,161

                                   

                                   

VIGAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,306,487,633

                                   

                                   

21,265

                                   

                                   

VSMAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,297,249,760

                                   

                                   

40,931

                                   

                                   

VIMAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,237,976,498

                                   

                                   

33,159

                                   

                                   

VFIFX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,203,249,115

                                   

                                   

23,888

                                   

                                   

FXNAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,199,856,337

                                   

                                   

31,574

                                   

                                   

JPM*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$1,173,717,250

                                   

                                   

52,206

                                   

                                   

IWM

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$1,129,824,871

                                   

                                   

31,009

                                   

                                   

VWIUX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,098,562,983

                                   

                                   

4,777

                                   

                                   

DIS*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$1,084,414,641

                                   

                                   

105,652

                                   

                                   

FSMAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,083,359,539

                                   

                                   

28,498

                                   

                                   

VPMAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,075,138,593

                                   

                                   

10,079

                                   

                                   

BSV

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$1,061,816,991

                                   

                                   

30,833

                                   

                                   

VITSX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,040,530,842

                                   

                                   

9,404

                                   

                                   

JNJ*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$1,025,582,880

                                   

                                   

59,164

                                   

                                   

VFORX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,015,333,190

                                   

                                   

12,506

                                   

Meanwhile, here are the 50 most popular investment holdings, ranked by number of users who have the investment.

                                   

Symbol

                                   

                                   

Holding type

                                   

                                   

$ amount

                                   

                                   

Number of users

                                   

                                   

AAPL*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$13,275,488,670

                                   

                                   

217,634

                                   

                                   

VMFXX

                                   

                                   

Money market fund

                                   

                                   

$4,673,484,730

                                   

                                   

168,067

                                   

                                   

SPAXX

                                   

                                   

Money market fund

                                   

                                   

$3,653,920,956

                                   

                                   

142,708

                                   

                                   

MSFT*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$6,929,701,507

                                   

                                   

140,530

                                   

                                   

AMZN*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$7,090,864,841

                                   

                                   

132,457

                                   

                                   

FXAIX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$8,539,112,802

                                   

                                   

111,928

                                   

                                   

TSLA*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$7,114,706,333

                                   

                                   

110,831

                                   

                                   

VTSAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$16,128,874,662

                                   

                                   

108,656

                                   

                                   

VTI

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$7,687,095,480

                                   

                                   

108,125

                                   

                                   

DIS*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$1,084,414,641

                                   

                                   

105,652

                                   

                                   

FDRXX

                                   

                                   

Money market fund

                                   

                                   

$2,725,901,914

                                   

                                   

95,095

                                   

                                   

VFIAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$8,458,957,671

                                   

                                   

91,015

                                   

                                   

FB*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$3,387,316,145

                                   

                                   

82,290

                                   

                                   

VOO

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,114,629,952

                                   

                                   

77,851

                                   

                                   

NVDA*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$2,430,490,530

                                   

                                   

70,936

                                   

                                   

T*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$837,471,212

                                   

                                   

70,137

                                   

                                   

GOOGL*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$2,101,886,526

                                   

                                   

61,536

                                   

                                   

VTI

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,991,312,601

                                   

                                   

60,683

                                   

                                   

JNJ*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$1,025,582,880

                                   

                                   

59,164

                                   

                                   

VWO

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$540,482,587

                                   

                                   

57,149

                                   

                                   

VEA

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$775,738,629

                                   

                                   

54,701

                                   

                                   

VWO

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$621,907,713

                                   

                                   

53,280

                                   

                                   

VTIAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$3,651,043,253

                                   

                                   

53,127

                                   

                                   

VBTLX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$2,873,372,018

                                   

                                   

53,016

                                   

                                   

GOOG*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$2,320,278,750

                                   

                                   

52,948

                                   

                                   

BABA

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$657,511,824

                                   

                                   

52,596

                                   

                                   

JPM*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$1,173,717,250

                                   

                                   

52,206

                                   

                                   

PFE*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$639,985,375

                                   

                                   

51,880

                                   

                                   

VZ

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$676,952,881

                                   

                                   

51,690

                                   

                                   

V

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$995,305,608

                                   

                                   

51,397

                                   

                                   

BAC*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$854,540,641

                                   

                                   

49,362

                                   

                                   

KO*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$409,941,070

                                   

                                   

49,344

                                   

                                   

PYPL*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$665,541,967

                                   

                                   

48,534

                                   

                                   

NFLX*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$874,121,263

                                   

                                   

48,247

                                   

                                   

WMT*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$637,462,989

                                   

                                   

47,588

                                   

                                   

XOM*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$818,568,464

                                   

                                   

47,436

                                   

                                   

SBUX*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$531,373,008

                                   

                                   

47,368

                                   

                                   

SQ

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$670,849,844

                                   

                                   

46,695

                                   

                                   

INTC*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$688,595,862

                                   

                                   

46,151

                                   

                                   

AMD

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$729,182,458

                                   

                                   

45,870

                                   

                                   

VNQ

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$477,352,345

                                   

                                   

45,220

                                   

                                   

VEA

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$685,576,012

                                   

                                   

44,535

                                   

                                   

BA*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$588,366,628

                                   

                                   

43,229

                                   

                                   

COST*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$790,588,505

                                   

                                   

43,000

                                   

                                   

CSCO

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$713,763,022

                                   

                                   

42,691

                                   

                                   

HD*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$924,570,380

                                   

                                   

42,638

                                   

                                   

CRM*

                                   

                                   

Stock

                                   

                                   

$733,142,994

                                   

                                   

42,146

                                   

                                   

VSMAX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$1,297,249,760

                                   

                                   

40,931

                                   

                                   

BNDX

                                   

                                   

Mutual fund

                                   

                                   

$520,470,493

                                   

                                   

40,840

                                   

                                   

VOO

                                   

                                   

ETF

                                   

                                   

$1,757,321,630

                                   

                                   

40,804

                                   

* Empower Advisors Corporation core strategy holdings as of 12/31/2021

Bottom line: Looking ahead

Being “good with money” doesn’t mean that you are the highest-net-worth in your friend group or always have excess cash to throw around. Rather, it’s about knowing your goals and time horizon, then planning ahead to make sure you use whatever resources you have as wisely as you can.

1 NerdWallet, What Is the Average Retirement Savings by Age?,” June 2022.

2 Investopedia, “Compound Interest: Definition, Formula, and Calculation,” July 2022.

3 Forbes Advisor, “Net Worth Calculator: What’s My Net Worth?,” July 2022.

RO2474859-1022

 

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. No part of this blog, nor the links contained therein is a solicitation or offer to sell securities. Compensation for freelance contributions not to exceed $1,250. Third-party data is obtained from sources believed to be reliable; however, Empower cannot guarantee the accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of this data for any particular purpose. Third-party links are provided solely as a convenience and do not imply an affiliation, endorsement or approval by Empower of the contents on such third-party websites.

Certain sections of this blog may contain forward-looking statements that are based on our reasonable expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions. Past performance is not a guarantee of future return, nor is it indicative of future performance. Investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate and you may lose money.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design), and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board's initial and ongoing certification requirements.