NEW YORK (Money Magazine) -
The impulse to compare yourself with others is only natural.
As a kid, you measured the size of your doll or model-car collection against your friends'; in high school, you tallied up the number of pairs of designer jeans you owned vs. the coolest kid in school.
Now, as an adult, you probably find yourself wondering how you compare with others financially.
- Are you the only one who can't seem to stick to a budget?
- How does your 401(k) balance measure up to other thirtysomethings'?
- Is your kid going to be the only one who has to borrow money to pay for college?
Here, we help you find out where you really stand against others your age (click to see comparisons).
Knowing how you stack up can help you get a clearer picture of your financial weaknesses and strengths while showing whether you're falling behind. On that note, a word of caution: The median American family doesn't always do the right thing.
As a whole, Americans don't save enough, and we rack up far too much credit-card debt. So rather than take comfort in being average, you should use the numbers in the accompanying gallery as the minimum for where you need to be.
In general, the more you beat averages, the better.
Money Magazine looked at the following four age groups and singled out these online resources for each:
Springboard years: How much house can you afford?; Savings Calculator
Pressure cooker years: Debt Planner; College Savings Planner
Wealth years: Renovation Wizard; Retirement Planner
Retirement: Asset Allocator; Cost of living comparison