This Is How Much the Average American Has in Their Checking and Savings Accounts – The Motley Fool

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by Christy Bieber | Published on Sept. 16, 2022
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How much money do you have in your checking and savings accounts right now? The answer to this question is an important one. If you have plenty of money in these accounts, you’re probably pretty financially secure. But if your balances are near $0, you may be living paycheck to paycheck or struggling with debt. 
There’s wide variation in the amount people have in checking and savings accounts, and it may be interesting for you to see how your balance stacks up with your peers. There’s data available that can help you do just that, so take a look below to find out how much the typical American has stashed away. 
According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, the median combined balance in checking and savings accounts was $5,300 as of 2019, while the mean account balance was $41,600. 

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However, there was substantial variation in average checking and savings account balances based on age, household income, and education level. 
For example, among Americans under the age of 35, the median account balance was just $3,240 in 2019, while the mean account balance was $11,250. For those 75 and older, these amounts were much higher, with the median balance coming in at $9,300 and the mean balance totaling $60,410. 
Likewise, while those without a high school diploma had a median balance of $1,020 and a mean balance of $9,190, people with a college degree had $15,400 and $78,890, respectively.  And those who earned less than $20,000 had a median balance of $810 and a mean balance of $8,400, compared with $70,000 and $190,660 for households with incomes between $90,000 and $100,000. 
It’s not surprising that people who are older have more in their accounts as they’ve had more time to amass wealth. And it’s also not surprising that higher earners and those with more education have more funds in their accounts since their earning potential tends to be higher. 
Taking a look at the amount of money the typical American has in their account is interesting, but ultimately what’s most important is to determine how much you should have in your account. And that depends on your situation.
A checking account isn’t the best place to keep money you’re saving for the long term since you usually don’t get paid much, if any, interest on it. Typically, you should use this account as a repository for money before it is sent elsewhere, such as to your savings. You’ll want enough in the account to cover your bills and avoid overdraft fees but not a lot of extra.
Your savings account, on the other hand, is the best place for your emergency fund and so you should have an account with enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. You may also want to put money into savings that you plan to use within the next two to five years because you wouldn’t want to take the risk of investing these funds and having to withdraw them at a bad time when the market is down. But funds you’re saving for long-term goals, such as retirement, should typically be in a brokerage account
By using your checking and savings accounts wisely, you can make the most of your money.  You should think carefully about what account is the best place for your funds and how much you need in each account to be on track to accomplish your financial goals. This will help you build the financial security you deserve.
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Christy Bieber is a personal finance and legal writer with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured on major outlets including MSN Money, CNBC, and USA Today.
We’re firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
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