Get the app
Get the app

Join millions of investors on Stash

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5
Get the app

Don’t Have Double Your Salary Saved by 35? What To Do if You Live in the Real World

June 07, 2018

  • A popular meme says you should have saved twice your annual salary for retirement by age 35
  • For millions of Americans, that’s unrealistic–28% haven’t saved a cent
  • If you’re playing catch-up: Make a budget, build an emergency fund, and start saving
2 min read

If you really want an idea to get traction these days, a meme is the way to do it.

Take, for example, the recent “by age 35” retirement savings meme which has caused multitudes to drop their avocado toast in their lap.

Where the meme began

The meme’s roots can be traced to a Fidelity Investments report, originally published in June 2017, and cited by a more recent MarketWatch article. The original Fidelity report lays out a retirement savings plan that says by the age 67, you should have 10-times your salary saved up as an end-goal.

If you’re 35 and have an annual salary of $40,000, you should have $80,000 saved up for retirement.

By age 30, you should have “1x of your salary” saved up, and, by 35, twice your salary. In other words, if you’re 35 and have an annual salary of $40,000, you should have $80,000 saved up for retirement.

The idea that someone would have twice their salary saved up by the age 35 is laughable to many, which turned the whole concept into a joke.

Meanwhile, in the real world

For millions of people, the idea of bank balance in the five-figures is a major stretch. While it would be great if everyone was sitting on an incubating nest egg, America’s financial reality is a bit more sobering:

No retirement savings
<$1,000 in savings
No savings

Playing catch-up at 35 (or beyond)? Here’s your to-do list

If you’re taking stock of your finances and finding that you’re behind, don’t panic. It’s never too late to start getting your ducks in a row, and here’s where to start:

Start budgeting. A budget helps you figure out if you have enough money to cover your bills, and how much you have left over to save or invest for the future. See where your money is going and how much you can save. Read more about building a building a budget here.

Build an emergency fund. At Stash, we recommended socking away six months of savings that you can grab in case of the unexpected (think job loss, emergency move, sudden medical bill). Smart-Save makes savings automatic and it never “saves” more than you can afford.

Lower your student loan payments. Looking into refinancing your student loan payments? You could see a reduction in your interest rate – lowering your monthly payments. That savings can go toward planning your future.

With LendKey*, you can see if you qualify for better rates in just a few minutes. It’s free and checking your rates won’t impact your credit score.

Take aim at your high-interest debt. Whether you’re trying to pull yourself out of debt or merely trying to avoid it, limiting your credit card spending may be an important part of your budgeting strategies. Check out these tips on lowering your high-interest debt.

Start saving for retirement. Just because most Americans are falling behind in their retirement savings, doesn’t mean you can’t get ahead of the pack. You don’t need a lump sum of money to open an IRA.

Investing, simplified

Start today with as little as $5

Get the App

By Sam Becker

Get $100 in your Stash Invest account when you refinance your student loans with LendKey*. Please see complete Bonus Offer Terms & Conditions.

*Stash is a paid marketing partner of LendKey. All content herein is for informational purposes only.




Next for you
Introduction to Retirement

Investment Profile

Bonds Worldwide

An International Bond ETF on Stash

Learn more
Explore more articlesChoose a topic to learn more about
market news Technology Retirement budgeting pop culture

This material has been distributed for informational and educational purposes only, represents an assessment of the market environment as of the date of publication, is subject to change without notice, and is not intended as investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice or opinion. Stash assumes no obligation to provide notifications of changes in any factors that could affect the information provided. This information should not be relied upon by the reader as research or investment advice regarding any issuer or security in particular. The strategies discussed are strictly for illustrative and educational purposes and should not be construed as a recommendation to purchase or sell, or an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. There is no guarantee that any strategies discussed will be effective.

Furthermore, the information presented does not take into consideration commissions, tax implications, or other transactional costs, which may significantly affect the economic consequences of a given strategy or investment decision. This information is not intended as a recommendation to invest in any particular asset class or strategy or as a promise of future performance. There is no guarantee that any investment strategy will work under all market conditions or is suitable for all investors. Each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should not substitute these materials for professional services, and should seek advice from an independent advisor before acting on any information presented. Before investing, please carefully consider your willingness to take on risk and your financial ability to afford investment losses when deciding how much individual security exposure to have in your investment portfolio.

Past performance does not guarantee future results. There is a potential for loss as well as gain in investing. Stash does not represent in any manner that the circumstances described herein will result in any particular outcome. While the data and analysis Stash uses from third party sources is believed to be reliable, Stash does not guarantee the accuracy of such information. Nothing in this article should be considered as a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any particular security or investment product or to engage in any investment strategy. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Stash does not provide personalized financial planning to investors, such as estate, tax, or retirement planning. Investment advisory services are only provided to investors who become Stash Clients pursuant to a written Advisory Agreement. For more information please visit