If you're 30 years old and earning $70,000 a year, you should already have a cool $70,000 in your savings account. By the time you're 35, you should have double your annual salary in savings.
That's according to the retirement experts from Boston-based investment firm Fidelity Investments, whose controversial advice in an article for MarketWatch has left many readers scratching their heads.
"By 30, you should have a decent chunk of change saved for your future self, experts say — in fact, ideally your account would look like a year's worth of salary," the finance website wrote.
"Thirtieth birthdays are an excellent time to take stock of your future funds, especially as short-term financial obligations solidify, such as continuing to pay off the last of student loans, living on your own (or maybe starting a potentially three-decade stretch of mortgage payments) and raising children.
"Millennials, the generation 20s to mid-30-year-olds fit into, have delayed marriage and home ownership from happening in their 20s (as was the norm decades ago)."
Unfortunately, that seemed slightly optimistic for most people, with users on social media quickly piling in to roast the article.
"I can't be only the one who reads this and thinks, 'Who are they TALKING to?' I didn't have that much saved in my 30s," tweeted author Jeaniene Frost. "No one I knew had that much saved their 30s and most of us were solid middle class."
Hazel Cills wrote, "By 35, you should have twice your body weight in babies blood saved to secure eternal youth, according to experts."
Andrien Gbinigie added, "By 35, you should have collected all the Chaos Emeralds and have half the Infinity Gems in your grasp, say retirement experts."
Mark Agee said while everyone was roasting the article, "to be fair 'be rich' is very good financial advice".
By 35, you should have twice your salary saved, according to retirement experts: https://t.co/QoVA6EFpHJ— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) May 12, 2018
I can't be only one who reads this & thinks "Who are they TALKING to?" I didn't have that much saved in my 30s. No one I knew had that much saved their 30s & most of us were solid middle class. Is this advice only for the rich? If so, maybe start w/"95% of Americans can ignore." https://t.co/HlTQM5sYGx— Jeaniene Frost (@Jeaniene_Frost) May 15, 2018
When did my mom start writing articles https://t.co/s00nY8jTTq— Erica Henderson (@EricaFails) May 15, 2018
I think you meant to say,
By 35 you should have debt twice your salary.— Clinton and Obama Democrat (@emanzi) May 14, 2018
By 35, you should have collected all the Chaos Emeralds and have half the Infinity Gems in your grasp, say retirement experts. https://t.co/IE3ZMN0PkK— Andrien E3 (@EscoBlades) May 15, 2018
By 42, you should be able to lift thrice your own weight.
By 16, you should have written your first screenplay.
By 8, you should have your self portrait hanging in the Philadelphia museum of art. https://t.co/BtIYQkPQVD— Anna Hughes (@AnnaGHughes) May 15, 2018
Me reading this tweet and coming to warn the 35 year-olds pic.twitter.com/kvFz4a6WEW— Phil Nobile Jr. (@PhilNobileJr) May 16, 2018
The MarketWatch article went on to point out that many people in that age bracket simply can't save, weighed down by "crippling" student debt, stagnant wages, rising cost of living and high house prices.
Apparently some millennials are also "skipping starter homes altogether for a bigger home" in the suburbs, or splurging up to $50,000 for a wedding.
"It's important to be saving for retirement while doing all these things at the same time," Laurel Tree Advisors assistant portfolio manager Alexander Rupert told the publication.
Australians are assisted in saving for retirement by compulsory superannuation, but most fail to put away savings from their take-home pay. According to AMP, the average super balance for men aged 35-39 is A$64,560, and for women A$48,874.
A recent survey by ME Bank suggested more than half of Australians fail to put anything away in savings each month, with 25 per cent saying they were living paycheck-to-paycheck and 26 per cent saying they could save, but didn't.
Of the non-savers, 40 per cent said they spent too much on discretionary items like eating out, entertainment or occasional extra purchases, while 39 per cent didn't track their spending or shop to a budget.
Thirty-seven per cent reported being weighed down by credit card payments, and 37 per cent hadn't reviewed their contracts such as phone, gas, electricity or insurance for a long time.
According to the ABS, Australia's household savings ratio — the percentage of net savings on net income — is now at levels not seen since the GFC, decreasing to 2.7 per cent in the last quarter of 2017.
Personal savings in Australia averaged 9.87 per cent between 1959 and 2017, reaching an all-time high of 20.6 per cent in 1973 and a record low of -0.7 per cent in 2002.