Many Americans are curious to know their net worth, and this information can be helpful to know — knowing your net worth can help you understand your own financial situation and keep track of your progress toward your goals. You can also use it to compare your own standing to that of your peers in terms of age, geographic location, etc. Below, we explain how to calculate your net worth, and we provide some tools you can use to evaluate your standing.
Median Annual Income by Age Group in the U.S.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the following are the median annual income rates by age group for men and women in the U.S. based on data from 2018:
One important thing to note is that income is not equal to total wealth or net worth — we further explain this distinction below.
What is Net Worth?
Your net worth is the combination of what you own (all of your assets) and what you owe (your liabilities, debts, etc.). This means that a person with a high income who also has a lot of debt will not necessarily have a significant net worth.
Your assets will include things like your liquid cash, investments, car(s), home(s), personal property (e.g., jewelry, art, etc.), and the cash value of any insurance policies.
Your liabilities include your mortgage, car loan, student loans, and credit card balance. To calculate your net worth, you need to subtract your liabilities from your assets.
Net Worth Calculator
For a thorough, user-friendly calculator you can use to calculate your own net worth, consider using the Schwab MoneyWise net worth worksheet. Then, once you know your net worth, you can compare it to others in your age group.
During our research, the PersonalFinanceData.com Net Worth Percentile Calculator stood out as the most reliable net worth comparison tool. The creator of this tool uses the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances as a database of information. The Net Worth Percentile Calculator helps you view how you stack up against people in a set age range or people the same age as you. It is a helpful tool for gaining an understanding of your current financial standing.
Average Net Worth by Age Group
The following table lists the net worth percentiles in the U.S. by age group, in five-year increments. This information was compiled from the Net Worth Percentile Calculator linked above, and it is validated by statistics from the U.S. Treasury. The percentiles are not, however, separated by gender.
Why You Shouldn’t Focus on Being “Average”
Many people are not only curious about how their net worth stacks up, but they are also eager to get ahead of the game. If this is the case for you, finding the median net worth for your age group isn’t that helpful. There are more low-income people than there are wealthy people, and this tends to skew the median quite a bit. If you want to get ahead of your peers and earn above the median, then your focus should be on those in your age group who are above average.
By examining the “above average” group, you can determine what you can do to better your own financial situation. If you know people with significant net worth — if this is a topic that you can talk about comfortably with your friends, family, etc. — you can ask what they do/did to increase their assets, pay down debts, etc. You can also use those in the above-average group as a baseline to set realistic financial goals for yourself.
If you’d like to get a head start earning as much as possible at a young age, you may be interested in our article listing the highest paying jobs for 18-year-olds.