The Average American’s Portfolio in 2021

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Most Americans can contribute up to $19,500 to a qualified 401(k) retirement savings account every year — but how many actually are?

Unfortunately, the average American family has only the equivalent of $59,000 set aside for retirement savings, according to the latest Federal Reserve Survey of Consumer Finances. Assuming the family contains two adults to account for — and not every family does — that’s $29,500 per person to live on after almost a lifetime of saving.

And aside from retirement, there’s also the opportunity to earn compound interest on your money through an investment vehicle such as ETFs and/or mutual funds. However, it’s not always clear what a person’s portfolio should look like, since there’s no one right answer that works for everybody.

Your lifestyle differs from your friends, neighbors, and colleagues — so it’s better to not get lost in the comparison game when assessing the strength of your financial portfolio. However, it is nice to have a barometer as to what most people do to successfully save and invest for retirement.

Ahead, we go over 2021 data from all users with recent login activity who signed up for a Personal Capital account prior to or on Jan. 1, 2021. Consider this data inspiration for investing in 2022, so you can see what the average balance in retirement accounts were compared to cash assets, credit card debt, and other loans.

2021 Summary: What’s Inside Personal Capital Users’ Portfolios?

A complete financial portfolio includes all accounts, including debt. A person’s net worth would not be accurate without factoring in how both their assets (cash, investments, properties) and liabilities (debt) compare to one another. Net worth is calculated by subtracting what you owe to creditors from cash in the bank and assets you currently own.

Here’s a snapshot of the average and median balances of retirement vs. credit card balances for Personal Capital users in 2021:

Average Balance in Retirement Accounts: $414,000
Median Balance in Retirement Accounts: $123,000
Average Credit Card Balance: $6,100
Median Credit Card Balance: $2,600

When we dig deeper, we find even more revealing information.

Average Account Balances by Age

It’s normal for your financial portfolio to fluctuate with age, lifestyle factors, and circumstances. Here’s a breakdown of account balances by decade across the average Personal Capital user’s lifespan.

NOTE: The people who use the Personal Capital Dashboard tend to adhere to smart money practices: maintaining a comfortable emergency fund, contributing regularly to their retirement accounts, and optimizing their investments for tax efficiency. As indicated, many users also have trust funds and investments that can add to one’s net worth starting out at an early age. Take your own personal circumstances into consideration when you look at the data ahead.

Annuity
Car Loans
Cash in Checking
Cash in Savings
Cash (Other)
Credit Debt
Crypto
Educational 
ESPP/ESOP/Stock Options
Investments
Retirement Investments
Mortgage(s)
Other Loans
Student Loans
Trust Accounts

20s
$40,483
$14,830
$10,895
$15,845
$10,252
$3,511
$90,919
$20,368
$99,147
$82,807
$73,895
$278,974
$158,538
$38,146
$524,523

30s
$87,493
$18,357
$29,229
$35,434
$28,148
$6,568
$137,232
$47,942
$195,030
$228,602
$231,572
$337,526
$312,713
$66,521
$948,612

40s
$146,014
$20,997
$45,037
$56,585
$50,717
$9,379
$375,731
$115,363
$287,136
$479,589
$563,402
$348,109
$348,371
$55,396
$1,296,867

50s
$226,213
$19,989
$50,167
$63,961
$68,357
$9,250
$224,643
$140,064
$347,253
$740,754
$949,521
$306,998
$284,599
$56,580

 

$1,518,901

60s
292513
$17836
$50,350
$72,834
$98,337
$7,274
$282,614
$97,643
$290,423
$926,911
$1,190,361
$242,651
$224,466
$47,438
$1,413,214

70s
306488
$15696
$47,703
$77,017
$113,729
$5,842
$150,377
$103,173
$249,258
$1,059,591
$1,153,992
$243,703
$220,229
$54,198
$1,512,988

80s
258292
$9755
$53,968
$74,265
$118,529
$4,246
$106,323
$172,514
$138,455
$1,212,126
$828,772
$268,949
$167,965

$1,297,086

Retirement Contributions by Age

Interestingly, the count of users who made a retirement contribution in 2021 declined compared to 2020, but the total amount contributed went up. Here’s a snapshot of how much more than 400,000 Personal Capital users contributed to their retirement accounts this year.

Age
2020 Median Retirement Contribution
2020 Average Retirement Contribution
2020 Count of Users (that made a retirement contribution)
2021 Median Retirement Contribution
2021 Average Retirement Contribution
2021 Count of Users (that made a retirement contribution)

20s
$6,533.97
$11,752.50
75,120
$8,740.06
$14,535.18
75,448

30s
$11,339.84
$20,952.22
180,799
$15,111.89
$24,708.40
161,315

40s
$15,077.22
$30,668.91
101,160
$19,500.00
$35,358.68
88,400

50s
$16,308.47
$39,388.24
56,361
$20,702.51
$42,445.24
49,127

60s
$12,533.79
$41,745.77
21,975
$14,789.92
$44,730.37
17,570

NOTE: This data was pulled as of 12/15/2021, making 2021 technically short 15 days compared to 2020. This isn’t a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but something to note is that the contributions are slightly understated for 2021.

What Funds Users Contributed to in 2021

Do you know where your money went this year? Ahead are the top 50 investment holdings of Personal Capital users, ranked by the total dollar amount invested.

You’ll notice that the majority of people hold mostly ETFs and mutual funds, with a sprinkling of blue-chip stocks.

Symbol
Holding Type
$ Amount
Number of Users

VTSAX
mutualFund
$16,128,874,662
108,656

AAPL*
stock
$13,275,488,670
217,634

FXAIX
mutualFund
$8,539,112,802
111,928

VFIAX
mutualFund
$8,458,957,671
91,015

VTI
ETF
$7,687,095,480
108,125

TSLA*
stock
$7,114,706,333
110,831

AMZN*
stock
$7,090,864,841
132,457

MSFT*
stock
$6,929,701,507
140,530

VMFXX
moneyMarketFund
$4,673,484,730
168,067

SPAXX
moneyMarketFund
$3,653,920,956
142,708

VTIAX
mutualFund
$3,651,043,253
53,127

FB*
stock
$3,387,316,145
82,290

VBTLX
mutualFund
$2,873,372,018
53,016

FDRXX
moneyMarketFund
$2,725,901,914
95,095

VIIIX
mutualFund
$2,573,761,191
36,324

FSKAX
mutualFund
$2,484,695,067
29,813

NVDA*
stock
$2,430,490,530
70,936

SCHF
ETF
$2,343,353,119
26,038

GOOG*
stock
$2,320,278,750
52,948

SPY
ETF
$2,285,007,892
28,723

VOO
mutualFund
$2,114,629,952
77,851

GOOGL*
stock
$2,101,886,526
61,536

VINIX
mutualFund
$2,075,630,256
31,012

VTI
mutualFund
$1,991,312,601
60,683

AAPL*
employeeStockOption
$1,777,514,061
4,101

VOO
ETF
$1,757,321,630
40,804

QQQ
ETF
$1,723,377,753
36,635

IVV
ETF
$1,529,836,736
18,758

FCNTX
mutualFund
$1,451,969,636
21,522

SPY
mutualFund
$1,451,856,821
20,258

VWENX
mutualFund
$1,385,884,125
12,454

SWPPX
mutualFund
$1,385,194,436
28,690

VXUS
mutualFund
$1,356,299,807
22,590

VTIVX
mutualFund
$1,315,098,144
18,161

VIGAX
mutualFund
$1,306,487,633
21,265

VSMAX
mutualFund
$1,297,249,760
40,931

VIMAX
mutualFund
$1,237,976,498
33,159

VFIFX
mutualFund
$1,203,249,115
23,888

FXNAX
mutualFund
$1,199,856,337
31,574

JPM*
stock
$1,173,717,250
52,206

IWM
ETF
$1,129,824,871
31,009

VWIUX
mutualFund
$1,098,562,983
4,777

DIS*
stock
$1,084,414,641
105,652

FSMAX
mutualFund
$1,083,359,539
28,498

VPMAX
mutualFund
$1,075,138,593
10,079

BSV
ETF
$1,061,816,991
30,833

VITSX
mutualFund
$1,040,530,842
9,404

JNJ*
stock
$1,025,582,880
59,164

VFORX
mutualFund
$1,015,333,190
12,506

Meanwhile, here are the 50 most popular investment holdings, ranked by number of users who have the investment.

Symbol
Holding Type
$ Amount
Number of Users

AAPL*
stock
$13,275,488,670
217,634

VMFXX
moneyMarketFund
$4,673,484,730
168,067

SPAXX
moneyMarketFund
$3,653,920,956
142,708

MSFT*
stock
$6,929,701,507
140,530

AMZN*
stock
$7,090,864,841
132,457

FXAIX
mutualFund
$8,539,112,802
111,928

TSLA*
stock
$7,114,706,333
110,831

VTSAX
mutualFund
$16,128,874,662
108,656

VTI
ETF
$7,687,095,480
108,125

DIS*
stock
$1,084,414,641
105,652

FDRXX
moneyMarketFund
$2,725,901,914
95,095

VFIAX
mutualFund
$8,458,957,671
91,015

FB*
stock
$3,387,316,145
82,290

VOO
mutualFund
$2,114,629,952
77,851

NVDA*
stock
$2,430,490,530
70,936

T*
stock
$837,471,212
70,137

GOOGL*
stock
$2,101,886,526
61,536

VTI
mutualFund
$1,991,312,601
60,683

JNJ*
stock
$1,025,582,880
59,164

VWO
stock
$540,482,587
57,149

VEA
stock
$775,738,629
54,701

VWO
mutualFund
$621,907,713
53,280

VTIAX
mutualFund
$3,651,043,253
53,127

VBTLX
mutualFund
$2,873,372,018
53,016

GOOG*
stock
$2,320,278,750
52,948

BABA
stock
$657,511,824
52,596

JPM*
stock
$1,173,717,250
52,206

PFE*
stock
$639,985,375
51,880

VZ
stock
$676,952,881
51,690

V
stock
$995,305,608
51,397

BAC*
stock
$854,540,641
49,362

KO*
stock
$409,941,070
49,344

PYPL*
stock
$665,541,967
48,534

NFLX*
stock
$874,121,263
48,247

WMT*
stock
$637,462,989
47,588

XOM*
stock
$818,568,464
47,436

SBUX*
stock
$531,373,008
47,368

SQ
stock
$670,849,844
46,695

INTC*
stock
$688,595,862
46,151

AMD
stock
$729,182,458
45,870

VNQ
mutualFund
$477,352,345
45,220

VEA
mutualFund
$685,576,012
44,535

BA*
stock
$588,366,628
43,229

COST*
stock
$790,588,505
43,000

CSCO
stock
$713,763,022
42,691

HD*
stock
$924,570,380
42,638

CRM*
stock
$733,142,994
42,146

VSMAX
mutualFund
$1,297,249,760
40,931

BNDX
mutualFund
$520,470,493
40,840

VOO
ETF
$1,757,321,630
40,804

* Personal Capital Advisors Corporation core strategy holdings as of 12/31/2021

Bottom Line: Looking Ahead to 2022

Being “good with money” doesn’t mean that you are the highest-net-worth in your friend group or always have excess cash to throw around. Rather, it’s about knowing your goals and time horizon, then planning ahead to make sure you use whatever resources you have as wisely as you can.

That’s where having systems to help us invest and save become critical. We are more likely to reach big financial goals with a few simple actions. Consider the following:

Download 3 Essential Steps to Financial Freedom, an actionable guide for a better financial life with insights from fiduciary financial advisors. The guide is free.
Sign up for the Personal Capital Dashboard. Millions of people use these free and secure professional-grade online financial tools. You can use them to track debt paydown, analyze your investments, and plan for long-term financial goals.

Get Started with Personal Capital’s Free Financial Tools

 

Author is not a client of Personal Capital Advisors Corporation and is compensated as a freelance writer.

The content contained in this blog post is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal, tax, accounting or investment advice. Compensation not to exceed $500. You should consult a qualified legal or tax professional regarding your specific situation. Keep in mind that investing involves risk. The value of your investment will fluctuate over time and you may gain or lose money. Any reference to the advisory services refers to Personal Capital Advisors Corporation, a subsidiary of Personal Capital. Personal Capital Advisors Corporation is an investment adviser registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training nor does it imply endorsement by the SEC.