Wondering how much money a person spends in a lifetime?

Wonder no more as we have the answers in this article, as many as 15 answers, tips to help you with this question and exact figures/numbers.



One of the most important tools that you can implement in controlling your personal finances is your budget.

Normally a budget reflects financial figures for a month, possibly extended out to a year and in rare instances, a budget is extended out over five years.

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A budget not only shows the income that is coming into the household but how the income is being expended.

What if we extended our budget over our lifetime.

What would those figures look like?

In other words, in our lifetime, how much money can we anticipate coming into our lives and how that money is spent?

A quick reflection on these figures may cause an individual to be surprised and may allow for the opportunity to create and implement some significant income and expense strategies now while a great portion of your revenue-generating and spending years lie before you.


Personal Story

If you’ve ever had the experience of interviewing for a job you probably have gone through the process of answering a number of questions that either an individual or panel asks you to.

Their purpose in asking these questions is to determine how you articulate, your thinking process, how you manage your professional life, your goals for the future, etc.

One particularly important question is “Where do you see yourself five years from now?”

The individual answering the question has the opportunity to “kiss up” a little bit and say that they see themselves excelling in that current company or if they are bold and daring enough, say something to the effect of “I see myself with an additional educational degree, working in a leadership role within the company.”

Along the same lines, as it relates to our finances, a great question would be where do you see yourself five years from now financially?

In essence, you would be thinking five years ahead, budget-wise, and speculating on income earned, income invested and saved, and expenses as it relates to possibly purchasing a home or other major investment.


15 Answers to How Much Money a Person Spends in a Lifetime


1. Factors 

When considering how much the average person spends in a lifetime, it is also important to know how much the average person during the course of their lifetime will earn.

Before we delve into that particular figure, it is important to understand that there are varieties of factors that contribute to the earning power of an individual.

Those factors include whether the individual is a man or a woman as there may be discrepancies of earning potential.

Other factors include their education, professions, or employment opportunities that are afforded them.


2. Amount

When figuring out the approximate amount that an individual can earn in their lifetime, it can be broken down into stages that reflect their cycle of life.

For example, a wage earner will start earning money when they are young but often earn a minimum wage.

Then there is a hiatus as the individual may attend school, vocational training, or serve their country.

Following these accomplishments, an individual starts to earn some serious money as they follow their career path.

The wage is still not maximized because they are still learning their trade and gaining experience.

Then, the average worker will begin to hit their stride in their midlife and move forward from that point on.

All that to say is that each of these cycles of an employee’s life can be broken down in amounts.

It is estimated that by the age of 24 an individual will have earned $220,000, the decade spanning the ages of 24 to 34 they will double that amount, and then following their 34th birthday they will earn close to one and a half million dollars.

The bottom line is that the average individual will earn $3 million in their lifetime.


3. Men 

The unfortunate reality is that pay for men and women is sometimes not equal.

Nevertheless, statistics show that both men and women have the potential of earning a total of $3 million throughout their life despite these possible inequities.


4. Women 

In addition to the unfortunate reality that women’s pay has typically been less than their male counterparts, women also earn less due to personal matters which take them out of the workforce.

Those personal matters include the possibility of pregnancy or taking time off to care for a child.


5. Graduates 

Another factor to take into consideration that may change the total earnings amongst people is their level of education.

An individual with a higher degree from academia is more than likely to bring home a higher wage.

Specifically, an individual with a Bachelor’s Degree increases their earning power to a level between $250,000 and $500,000 more throughout their lifetime.


6. Expenses 

As the old axiom is stated, “It’s not how much you make, but how much you are able to keep.”

The startling statistic as it relates to expenses is that the average American spends more than what they earn.

This percentage can range anywhere from 40% to 50% incurred in expenses over what they bring in through their earnings.

The reason for this is that individuals, especially in America, carry outstanding debt due to the ease and availability of credit.

Of course, this adversely affects an individual’s net worth which is the difference between their assets and liabilities.


7. Where Does the Greatest Percentage of the Money Go?

So the question that is begged is where do the majority of our earnings go?

What accounts for our expenses?

Not surprisingly, when you think about it, a significant percentage of the money that we earn is given back to the government through taxes in our role as responsible citizens.

Another huge chunk of money that is earned is spent on interest.

These interest payments can be in the form of student loans, mortgages, credit cards, and more.

For example, an individual homeowner with a 20 or 30-year mortgage could pay close to 50% alone in interest on their repayment of the mortgage.

How Much Money Does a Person Spend in a Lifetime


8. Remainder 

The remainder of our money is spent across a variety of categories and representative expenses.

For example, it is estimated that the average individual will buy a new car at least five or six times during the course of their lifetime.

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New cars can cost anywhere from $20,000-$30,000.

This expenditure brings us close to expending $200,000 in total.

In addition, the actual car payment is the associated costs in operating a vehicle (insurance, maintenance, gasoline, etc.).

Another major chunk of money that is expended over the course of a lifetime for a family is the expense of raising children.

It is estimated that a child in the household can cost the family $230,000 in caring for that child (clothing, schooling, food, etc.). For more information click here.

Another major expense is clothes and food.

$600,000 is the average amount of money spent by the average individual for these necessities of life.

For more information about the purchasing of food over a lifetime click here and for clothing click here.


9. Budget

So, what we have is  :

Income 3,000.000
   Cars    180,000
   Clothes & Food    600,000
   Children    230,000
   Interest    300,000
   Taxes    600,000 (20%)
     Total 1,910,000
Difference 1,090,000


What happens to the other million dollars or so?


10. Wills

It is also important to remember that there may be other sources of revenue for the individual.

Some of those sources of revenue could include:

  • Inheritance
  • Life insurance
  • Gambling
  • Gifts from loved ones


11. Indebtedness 

Remember that indebtedness is a significant part of the typical family’s financial picture.

The average household in America pays, on average, $1,539 on credit card interest per year.

If you multiply that average amount of interest paid yearly by 40 (the number of working years) that comes out to be $61,560.


12. Insurance 

Another major expense for a typical household is insurance.

This insurance can be dental, medical, homeowners, apartment, life insurance, etc.

Of course, insurance is a good thing because if you’re not covered for these types of emergencies the out-of-pocket expenses would be exorbitant.

Some studies indicate that the cost per average household for medical insurance is $21,342 a year.

This would equate to a little less than $1,800 a month.

If you took this over a 40 year plus time span for the average household this would equate to over $800,000 (of course, there are variables that would include the size of the household, medical needs, geographical area of residence, etc.).

The point is though that medical insurance is a significant expense in the average household.

To learn more about the cost of medical insurance click here.


13. Savings 

A positive expense as it relates to how much a person makes in a lifetime is any savings that an individual can set aside.

Hopefully, that individual has saved at least 20% of that amount and has invested $200,000 into various investment vehicles.

Additionally, through wise investments, any monies set aside in these types of vehicles will help to increase the individual’s earnings.


14. 401(k) or IRA 

Another percentage of our money earned has been invested in the company’s 401(k).

For example, if your gross pay per month is $4,000 and you max your 401(k) out at 3% that would equal $120 per month.

If you are able to sustain that level of giving then it is quite possible that your 401(k) has accumulated, through your portion, $57,600.

Also, hopefully, in addition to savings, you have contributed to a Traditional or Roth IRA.


15. Earning More

This writing addressing the income that an individual may possibly earn in a lifetime is certainly not an exact science.

It is simply a general 30,000 foot level of what could possibly be anticipated in the average household in America.

There are income and expenses that are not reflected in this overall picture of how much money a person makes or spends during their lifetime.

Examples of income not reflected could include freelance opportunities, monies received through “side hustles”, bonuses, incentives, etc.

Also, on the expense side, examples not listed could include vacations, education, etc.




How Much Does the Average Person Pay in Taxes Over Their Lifetime?

It is estimated that the average American during the course of their lifetime will spend over a half $1 million in taxes.

$525,000 to be exact.


How Much Does the Average Person Spend on Food Over Their Lifetime?

It is estimated that the average American household spends $7923 a year on food that is eaten in their home as well as dining out.

If the average life expectancy of an individual is 79 years old and you multiply that times the average spent a year on food…well you get the picture.

Interestingly as well there are statistics that break down the lifetime total of an individual’s expense as it relates to eating by state.

Who would’ve guessed that the average spending per year for groceries in Hawaii is $11,516 and the lifetime total is $702,515? Of course, there are higher costs associated with the supply and demand as it relates to getting food to the state of Hawaii.

With that in mind, the highest state per individual in the continental United States is Delaware. The average spent per year for an individual is $9201 with a lifetime total being $561,299.


You Can Do It

You are an earnings machine.

The trouble is the expense side of the ledger.

By being more aware of our expenditure, perhaps you can provide a little more balance.



$3 million, by anyone’s standard, seems like quite a bit of money.

One would think with that sort of earning power that our bank accounts would be flush with money.

However, for every dollar earned there is usually a percentage of that money that is taken out for a variety of expenses that we need and sometimes don’t need.

What may be valuable are any takeaways from this stark realization of our total earnings in our life versus what we are able to keep for ourselves.

Perhaps can be used to springboard us into being more financially aware of not only the creative force that we are in the money but also make us more aware of methods and options that we can take to reduce our budget on the expense side.

Again, this company has paid $25+ million to members:

SurveyJunkie (only USA, Canada, Australia residents allowed). You can earn money sharing your thoughts. They have already paid $25+ million to their 20+ million members just for sharing their thoughts and opinions. Click here to join SurveyJunkie for FREE

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Apart from being a seasoned Personal Finance expert who has written for top publications around the world, I bring significant personal financial experience. Long story short... through bad financial choices... I found myself $100,000 plus in debt. I was able to dissolve this indebtedness and regain financial solvency. This financial turn around was accomplished through reading, studying and implementing a financial plan. My financial plan included paying down my debt through budgeting, being cognizant of where my financial resources were being spent, changing my attitude about money and understanding the binding chains of the improper use of credit. Today, and for 10 years, I have been debt free and have invested wisely to enjoy my current retirement. This is allowing me to write to help others make, save and grow money wisely!