Only college-educated older workers have significant retirement savings

Share of older households with retirement account savings, by educational attainment and age, 2019

Educational attainment Has retirement account savings No retirement savings
No college degree 43.9% 56.1%
Bachelor’s degree or more 75.5% 24.5%
No college degree 30.6% 69.4%
Bachelor’s degree or more 66.0% 34.0%
Median account balance of older households with retirement account savings, by educational attainment and age, 2019

Conditional median retirement account balance (2019$)
No college degree $74,000
Bachelor’s degree or more $295,000
No college degree $70,000
Bachelor’s degree or more $200,000

 

Notes: Retirement account savings include funds in 401(k)-style defined contribution plans and in IRAs, but not in defined benefit pension plans.

Retirement account savings include funds in 401(k)-style defined contribution plans and in IRAs, but not in defined benefit pension plans. A household’s age and educational attainment are based on the age and education level of the reference person, who, in households of more than one person, is defined by the Survey of Consumer Finances as the male in a mixed-sex couple or the older person in a same-sex couple. The median household retirement account savings includes reported savings in accounts held by both spouses or partners, in the case of married or partnered couples, and—less commonly—the retirement account savings of other people who are financially interdependent with the “economically dominant” individual or couple in the household (Bhutta et al. 2020).

Source: Economic Policy Institute (EPI) and Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA) analysis of Survey of Consumer Finances 2019 microdata (Federal Reserve 2022a).

View the underlying data on epi.org.