12 Signs You’re Doing Worse Financially Than the Average Boomer

SAVING & SPENDING - BUDGETING & EXPENSES
Use these 12 financial indicators to figure out if you’re less financially healthy than the average baby boomer.
Updated April 9, 2024
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As part of the baby boomer generation, you’ve either retired or are on the verge of leaving the workforce for good. As a result, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about your finances.

Do you have enough money to retire comfortably? How can you know for sure whether you’re in good financial health or not? Check out these 12 financial metrics to see if you’re falling short financially compared to your peers.

If you recognize any of these signs in yourself, now is a good time to reevaluate your finances and put in some extra effort to save money or earn extra cash.

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You owe more than $188,034 on your mortgage

fizkes/Adobe upset older woman sit on sofa

At this stage in life, many members of your generation have either a paid-off mortgage or have less than half their total mortgage loan remaining.

Per a Credit Karma study from 2023, the average home-owning boomer carries $188,034 in mortgage debt. If you owe more than that, you’re a bit behind.

You owe more than $22,530 in auto debt

Мария Кокулина/Adobe senior man buying car from dealer

If you own a new car and are still paying off your auto loan to the tune of $22,531 or more, you’re in more debt than the average boomer.

According to the same Credit Karma study, boomers with auto debt owe an average of $22,530, making payments of $574 per month.

Your net worth is less than $200,000

Monkey Business/Adobe senior couple financial advisor

Your net worth is the total of all your assets minus your liabilities. At this stage in your life, you hopefully own more than you owe, and your median net worth is somewhere between $200,000 and $255,000. If it’s less than that, you’re falling behind compared to your peers.

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You have more than $7,464 in credit card debt

InsideCreativeHouse/Adobe senior man sitting on sofa

Nearly 49% of Americans carry credit card debt from month to month, and as a group, boomers carry more credit card debt per person than any generation save Gen X. If you have more than $7,464 in consumer debt, you’re doing worse than others in your age group.

You have less than $202,000 saved for retirement

zinkevych/Adobe optimistic senior couple

The median amount of retirement savings for working boomers is around $202,000. While you might think you don’t need as much money as the average retiree, you might want to beef up your savings goals if you’ve got less than that in your retirement fund.

You can’t afford to take any vacations this year

D Lahoud/peopleimages.com/Adobe business woman experiencing burnout at work

Per a recent study by AARP, 62% of adults ages 50 and up scheduled at least one vacation for the year, and the average number of vacations booked by seniors is around three or four.

While planning a vacation isn’t the same thing as being able to afford that vacation, you might need to step back and take a look at your finances if you don’t have room in your budget for leisure travel.

Your remaining student loan debt exceeds $43,554

Prostock-studio/Adobe senior lady reading bills

Perhaps surprisingly, boomers have more student loan debt than millennials and Gen Xers. The average amount owed by boomers is just over $43,500, so if you owe more than that, you’re a little behind the curve compared to other former students in your age group.

You aren’t contributing to a 401(k)

Marina Demidiuk/Adobe senior man calculating personal finance at home

If you don’t have an employer-sponsored retirement plan, you’re well behind the majority of your generation: Apparently, 85% of baby boomers contribute at least some money to a 401(k) as part of their overall retirement saving strategy.

You have a 401(k), but you’re saving less than 10% of your annual income

highwaystarz/Adobe mature couple meeting with financial advisor at home

Among baby boomers who participate in employer-sponsored savings plans, the median amount saved is around 10% of each individual’s annual income.

If you’re putting less than that into your 401(k), you might want to consider upping your contributions to match your peers.

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You have less than $25,000 in your emergency savings fund

Studio Romantic/Adobe pensioner gets document

Unlike a retirement fund, an emergency savings account gives you easy access to cash in the event of a short-term financial crisis.

Boomers store a median amount of $25,000 in their emergency savings accounts, so if you have less than that saved for a rainy day, you’ll have less cash on hand in a crisis than many other boomers.

You didn’t start saving for retirement until you were older than 35

fizkes/Adobe concerned mature husband and wife

The median age at which boomers started saving for retirement was 35, which is later than that of younger generations.

While you can’t go back in time and change your saving habits, you can make catch-up contributions to help boost your finances.

You pay more than $548 per month for your collective debts

zinkevych/Adobe woman pointing at document

Boomers spend an average of $548 a month across all types of debt, including student loan payments, consumer debt, and car payments.

If you’re paying more than that to various creditors every month, you’re likely carrying more debt than most of your peers.

Bottom line

Viacheslav Yakobchuk/Adobe senior couple consulting with insurance agent

Comparing your finances to those of your peers only goes so far. If you’re worried about your financial fitness, your best bet is to meet with a trusted financial advisor or retirement planner who can give you specific advice about how to meet your retirement savings goals.

With some smart planning, you’ll find it easier to catch up to other boomers if you’ve fallen short based on the metrics above.

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Author Details

Michelle Smith Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.

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