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Home>Daily Capital>Investing & Markets>The Average American’s Portfolio in 2021

The Average American’s Portfolio in 2021

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

Megan DeMatteo is a former CNBC money reporter and Pushcart-nominated poet. She now contributes to various publications with a specialization in personal finance.
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