The silver wave: 4.1 million Americans will turn 65 in 2024

The silver wave: record-high 4.1M Americans will turn age 65 in 2024

Here’s how it might be changing the retirement landscape.


    Key takeaways

    • An estimated record-high 4.1million Americans will turn 65 in 2024

    • The average net worth for people over 65 tops $1.6 million

    • People in their 60s spend about 18% more monthly on average than the general population

    • A projected 30.2% of people between the ages of 65–75 will participate in the workforce by 2026

    Turning 65 in 2024 is big — roughly 4.1million1 big. According to a report from the educational non-profit Alliance for Lifetime Income, a record 11,200 Americans a day are set to hit the birthday milestone this year, up from the daily average of 10,000 the decade before. The surge, projected to continue through 2027, has been coined the “Peak 65 Zone.”

    As a generation with a history of shaking up stereotypes, Baby Boomers seem to be breaking into their golden years in a familiar fashion: Flipping over longstanding notions about savings, spending, and working during retirement.

    Savings swell

    Empower research reveals that 67% of Americans say their income isn’t keeping up with inflation. Even with this pressure, today’s 65-year-olds are finding ways to save. According to Empower Personal DashboardTM data from February 2024, people in the 65 and over age group have an average net worth of more than $1.6 million, which is in line with the Fed's most recent Survey of Consumer Finances.2

    What’s behind the money momentum for this age group? According to Empower research, 56% of Americans believe having a 401(k) is the top way to save, and Empower dashboard data shows the average 401(k) balance for people 65 and over is $479,197. Dashboard data also reflects more than one third (35.5%) of assets for people in their 60s are invested in U.S. stocks, and nearly as much (29.4%) is held in cash, while about 10% is allocated to U.S. bonds. The portfolio mix looks slightly different for individuals in their 50s, which may suggest a possible shift toward a more conservative investing approach as earning years wind down: 39.2% is in U.S. stocks, 25.7% in cash, and 7.3 % in U.S. bonds.

    Asset allocation

    Age by decade


    U.S. stocks

    U.S. bonds

    Int’l Stocks

    Int’l bonds













    *Anonymized user data from the Empower Personal Dashboard™ as of January 2024.

    A sea of spending

    The over-65 set are spenders, too. Dashboard data shows on average,3 people in their 60s shell out about $5,445 monthly — roughly 18% more than the general population. Travel ranks as the most desired retirement activity for Americans (52%), so it’s no surprise that people in their 60s open their wallets the most for travel experiences, dropping $1,387 monthly on average, according to dashboard data. Dining out is another big expense, with this age group forking out at an average of $650 a month at restaurants.

    Medical expenses later in life can come at a hefty price tag, too. Health care spending runs about $420 monthly for people in their 60s, compared with $342 for the general population on average.

    Ripple effect at work

    The tides are shifting at work as well. For years, gold watches and retirement parties symbolized the finale of workplace productivity for 65-year-olds. Now, more retirees reaching the landmark birthday are extending their careers. According to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30.2%4 of 65 – 75-year-olds will participate in the workforce by 2026, compared with 17.5% in 1996, and Empower research shows that 64% of Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are open to working indefinitely.

    This begs the question: Are people over 65 working because they want to — or because they have to? Both, as it turns out. Personal fulfillment (41%) and financial need (40%) are the top reasons for working after retirement, followed by having a sense of purpose (37%) according to Empower research. More than half (51%) of Americans share a concern that they haven’t saved enough and will run out of money.

    Plan for riding the wave

    Getting on board with a financial professional to set up a retirement plan can help people navigate the waters and prepare for a balanced future.

    Get the scoop on your money.

    Stay current on planning, saving, and investing for life.

    1Retirement Income Institute Alliance for Lifetime Income, “Welcome to the Peak 65® Zone – A New Chapter in American’s Retirement Landscape,” January 2024.

    2Federal Reserve Board Publication, “Changes in U.S. Family Finances from 2019 – 2022,” October 2023. 

    3Average spending amounts calculated based on Empower Personal DashboardTM data for the 12-month period ended January 31, 2024.

    4U.S. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, “TED: The Economics Daily,” May 29, 2019.


    The Currency editors

    Staff contributors

    The CurrencyTM, a publication from Empower, covers the latest financial news and views shaping how we live, work, and play. We keep you current on ways to plan, save, and invest for life.

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