What Do Real Middle Class Have Saved For Retirement? — 'I'm In My 30s And I Have $2,000 In An IRA Plus Income-Producing Rental Properties'

In an age where personal finance discussions remain taboo, a conversation unfolded on a Reddit thread in the middle-class finance subreddit where users explored the question: "How much is in your retirement savings?" 

The original post came from a user in their 30s who had begun saving relatively late with only $2,000 in an IRA alongside some rental property income. This led to a broader inquiry among users about what qualifies as middle-class savings. Some respondents questioned whether owning rental properties still fits the middle-class framework, suggesting it might elevate one's financial status beyond typical middle-class levels. 

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One user noted, "The average middle class individual doesn’t typically own rental properties." Another added that defining the middle-class involves a broad spectrum and isn’t just about asset ownership — it also encompasses income and geographic location.

While the original poster felt behind, others pointed out that having income-producing rental properties already put them ahead of the game. 

Contributors from various backgrounds shared their stories, painting a diverse retirement planning picture. A 43-year-old detailed their financial recovery from early missteps, noting, "I am 43 and have $340,000. We'd have had more, but some early bad choices meant we needed to use 401(k) funds to get out of things." This individual also highlighted the security of a pension, adding a layer of stability by stating, "Assuming I can keep this job until the end, [I have] a guaranteed $35,000 a year for me, and the same for my spouse."

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Another user, working at a state university, shared a different perspective on financial security, "My wife and I are in our mid-40s and work for a state university, so we'll have pensions. We currently have about $220k in IRAs and other retirement funds."

Yet, not all accounts spoke of steady accumulation. A younger participant admitted, "I'm 25, my liquid savings is low due to me making some bad spending choices which I'm working on. However, my retirement account is something I don't touch. Currently, it's about 12k, maybe a touch over," illustrating the youthful struggle between immediate financial demands and long-term retirement goals.

In stark contrast, another comment from a user grappling with high living costs underscored the harsh realities for some, "I'm 39 with a family of five, living on roughly $100k/year. We literally don't have an extra buck to put toward savings, let alone retirement." Living in the expensive SF Bay Area, this user expressed fears of working indefinitely, a sentiment that resonates with many facing similar financial pressures.

This thread revealed the broad spectrum of financial preparedness and strategies and provided a platform for encouragement and advice, highlighting the importance of open discussions about money. 

It challenged the societal norm that keeps financial matters private, instead fostering a supportive environment where individuals can learn from each other's experiences and better navigate the complexities of financial planning and retirement savings.

While comparison is often used to gauge one's financial progress against peers, remember that personal financial planning is highly individualized. To ensure you are on the right path toward a secure retirement, consider consulting a financial advisor

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*This information is not financial advice, and personalized guidance from a financial adviser is recommended for making well-informed decisions.

Jeannine Mancini has written about personal finance and investment for the past 13 years in a variety of publications including Zacks, The Nest, and eHow. She is not a licensed financial adviser, and the content herein is for information purposes only and is not, and does not constitute or intend to constitute, investment advice or any investment service. While Mancini believes the information contained herein is reliable and derived from reliable sources, there is no representation, warranty, or undertaking, stated or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information

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