Friday 21 February 2020

A look at the Net Worth data available at NetworthShare

While there is only a small (and self-reported) data set of 384 individual's net worth available from NetworthShare, it was interesting to calculate the average net worth of these individuals when grouped on the basis of age or education level.

Education level

Here I assigned a value of 5 for 'some high school', 6 for 'high school graduate' and 'associate degree', 7 for 'bachelors degree', 8 for 'masters degree', and 9 for 'doctoral degree'.

As might be expected, the lowest average NW was for 'some high school', and the highest for 'doctoral degree'. However, there is probably some confounding due to higher education levels being correlated with age (a 22 year old is more likely to currently be at 'bachelors degree' level even if they eventually get a doctorate).

5 $337,770 
6 $1,129,286 
7 $1,169,362 
8 $1,518,510 
9 $3,447,460 


Here I just used the central age for each age bracket eg. '30-34' was assigned an age of 32. The average net worth for each age group was then:

22 $215,939 
27 $242,059 
32 $721,005 
37 $940,524 
42 $1,320,281 
47 $2,771,012 
52 $1,727,526 
57 $3,274,879 
62 $2,009,363 
67 $2,496,224 
72 $4,903,639 
77 $770,845 

Again, the general trend is as expected - net worth increases with age during the accumulation phase of one's life cycle, and is then consumed during retirement. It should be noted that as these are current NW figures for people that are currently in each age group - the effect is similar to a person tracking their NW in cpi adjusted terms. The overall trend is for NW to increase by $49,405 for each year older. Overall there seems to be a linear increase in NW with age, rather than exponential. This would be mostly due to contributions (savings) being large relative to investment earnings until the final years of accumulation.

Of course the data is not a random sample - after all, people are probably more likely to self-report their net worth if they are financially literate and when they are satisfied with how their net worth is progressing. So I would guess that these figures are not representative of the general population.

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