When Does The Average American Retire? Here's A Hint — It's Earlier Than Government Standards Suggest

Retirement, commonly envisioned as a period for relaxation and hobbies, is frequently associated with people ages 65 to 67, a benchmark set by historic Social Security norms. Yet, many Americans choose to retire before reaching this age, despite government guidelines.

Retirement planning is not a one-size-fits-all scenario. It reflects a transition that requires careful consideration and preparation. The debate over the correct retirement age persists amid changing economic conditions and life expectancies. For those approaching this phase of life, it becomes important to align their retirement age with their personal and financial circumstances to best secure their desired post-work lifestyle.

In the United States, retirement age is often viewed through the lens of government programs like Social Security and Medicare, but personal circumstances and financial readiness also play critical roles in when people decide to retire.

Don’t Miss:

A Gallup study on retirement age in the United States provides valuable insights into trends and perceptions around retirement. According to the study, the average reported retirement age for Americans who have already retired is 61. This is notably lower than the age at which current nonretirees expect to retire. The study also points out that the average retirement age has risen from 57 in the early 1990s to 61 in recent years. This increase aligns with broader trends observed in the United States, where more people are retiring or planning to retire at a later age than was the case in the 1990s and early 2000s​​​​​​​​.

The latest survey from Gallup shows that the actual mean retirement age for retirees was 62, while the mean expected retirement age for nonretirees is 64. These findings indicate a gap between expectations and reality regarding retirement, influenced by various factors such as economic conditions, personal health, job satisfaction and financial readiness​​.

Retirement decisions are influenced by a complex interplay of factors, including:

Health: The onset of health issues can force early retirement, while good health can extend working years.

Income and expenses: People with sufficient retirement savings and manageable expenses might opt for early retirement.

Lifestyle and economy: Desirable post-work life and an accommodating economy can impact timings.

Financial security: The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College suggests that the sense of financial preparedness heavily informs the decision to retire.

Social Security benefits and Medicare are pivotal in retirement planning:

Claim timing: The age when someone claims Social Security can result in varied monthly benefits. Full retirement age results in unreduced benefits, while early claiming reduces monthly amounts.

Medicare eligibility: Generally, people are eligible for Medicare at 65, encouraging some to delay retirement for continued health insurance through an employer.

Strategically, people may choose to delay Social Security to increase their monthly benefits and ensure a stronger financial footing in their later years, balancing this against Medicare’s health coverage, which can influence the feasibility of retirement timing.

Retirement planning is a critical step for ensuring financial stability in your later years. It involves diligent savings strategies, understanding various retirement accounts and envisioning the post-retirement lifestyle to make informed decisions for a comfortable retirement.

Consulting a financial adviser can provide personalized advice, ensuring that retirement planning aligns with individual goals and circumstances. Their expertise can help navigate the complexities of retirement accounts and strategies, tailoring a plan that maximizes benefits and minimizes financial risks.

To build a sufficient nest egg, people should start saving early, taking advantage of compound interest. Employer-sponsored 401(k)s often include matching contributions, accelerating the growth of retirement savings. Consistent contributions to an individual retirement account (IRA) or Roth IRA are also valuable strategies, with the latter offering tax-free growth on distributions, subject to certain conditions.

Planning for life after retirement involves realistic budgeting and a thorough understanding of healthcare requirements. Keeping a savings account for unforeseen expenses is wise. Many people opt to work part time after retiring, which helps maintain social connections and supplements income. It’s important to consider all available financial resources in retirement planning, ensuring a secure and enjoyable experience during your golden years.

Market News and Data brought to you by Benzinga APIs
Posted In: Financial AdvisorsPersonal FinancePersonal Finance AccessSmartAsset
Benzinga simplifies the market for smarter investing

Trade confidently with insights and alerts from analyst ratings, free reports and breaking news that affects the stocks you care about.

Join Now: Free!