Sunday, June 19, 2011

Retirement Savings Over the Years

I was curious how our current retirement saving rate compared to past years. Digging into my account spreadsheets I came up with this. This is just contributions. It doesn't include investment gains or losses. The bars are the monthly amounts in Australian Dollars. They're not adjusted for inflation. The dark green line is the 12 month moving average.

The first few years I was in a steady job in Australia and the contributions are very consistent with a slight upward trend. Then I was unemployed for a while and there are no contributions. I moved to the US and the amounts now fluctuate more, partly because of changes in the exchange rate (I was now paid in USD but the chart is in AUD) and partly because of various extra earnings I made, typically in the summers when professors in the US can make extra money typically. In the final year there are consistently higher levels. I decided to max out my 403b contributions in this period plus I open a Roth IRA.

Then in 2007 I merged my accounting with Snork Maiden and we moved to Australia. For the first year or so after that the contributions are all Snork Maiden's alone. Then we both had jobs and the rate rises to $2,000-$3,000 a month. Following that there are another several months of contributions from just Snork Maiden and finally the last 5 months of around $2,500 a month as we were both working again.

The two of us together though are only managing to contribute what I contributed when I maxed out my 403b in 2007. The Australian Dollar was not that weak in that period (about 82 US cents, so that doesn't explain it). And back in the 1990s I managed to make more retirement savings myself in Australia than Snork Maiden on her own now. Certainly, when adjusted for inflation that is the case.

Next time, we'll look at non-retirement savings.

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