Want to know how you measure financially against other baby boomers? I often find net worth comparisons to be either amusing or motivating, depending on my attitude. But my curiosity gets the best of me so I do it anyway. Here are some options that you can try to compare your net worth with those of others like you.
Age and Income Median Net Worth Calculator
The background data is provided by Nielsen Claritas, a market research firm. I tried but could not access the data directly. This suggests to me that you have to buy the data which may indicate more reliability in how the data was acquired.
The net worth output includes real estate holdings. This may skew the value of the net worth numbers a bit depending on whether you intend to downsize or stay in your home with lots of equity tied up.
Detailed Net Worth Comparisons at NetWorthIQ
The online tools at NetWorthIQ allow you to view individual net worth profiles in a wide variety of demographic categories, including age, income, occupation, level of education, and state of residence.
You can add your own data and/or organize data for yourself by joining as a member. It is free to join.
The one big flaw of NetWorthIQ is the potential unreliability of the data. All of it is submitted by members and you can’t be sure how they calculate their own net worth or how honest the data is.
Survey of Consumer Finances
Every three years, the Federal Reserve Board publishes its Survey of Consumer Finances. The last survey was published in 2007 so it missed the big net worth declines cause by the 2008-2009 bear market.
The survey report is 56 pages long. It packs a lot of data and tables. It’s worth a look just to see how the different survey results change over the years. They do provide inflation adjusted data to make the comparisons more realistic.
According to the survey, the 2007 median net worth for a family headed by an adult aged 55-64 was $253,000. The mean family net worth for that same age group was $930,000.
Final Thoughts on Net Worth Comparisons
You have to be careful comparing raw net worth data with others. For example, if you are entitled to receive a guaranteed pension in retirement, that benefit has significant economic value that will not show up in a conventional net worth calculation. Similar adjustments could be made for retirement health care benefits, for different levels of Social Security retirement benefits, and/or for annuity benefits that you might have purchased in a lump sum.
Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to check in and see how you are doing compared to others.
For a quick checkup of your overall financial health, try this little test.
What do you think about doing net worth comparisons?
Image credit: Bad Rabbit, Inc.