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This Is The Age Most Americans Retire — And How To Know Whether You’re On Track To Retire Earlier Or Later


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Retirement is a significant milestone that involves complex decision-making influenced by factors such as financial stability, health and personal aspirations. Although the decision to retire is personal, having insight into the average retirement age and evolving trends can provide valuable context.

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Average Retirement Age In The U.S.: An Evolving Scenario

The average retirement age in the United States has changed over the years. In 1986, men typically retired at about age 62 and women at about 57. By 2016, the ages increased to approximately 65 for men and 63 for women. As of 2024, the average retirement age for retirees in the U.S. is 64, with workers expecting to retire at 66. The full retirement age is 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Retirement ages vary by state, with Alaska and West Virginia having the lowest average at 61 and South Dakota, Massachusetts and Hawaii the highest at 66.

Gender And Racial Disparities In Retirement

Women, on average, have saved 30% less than men by retirement. A 2023 Bank of America Corp. study found that women’s average 401(k) balance is significantly lower than men’s.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 50% of women and 47% of men have no retirement savings, with a smaller percentage of women having $100,000 or more in their retirement savings compared to men.

Racial disparities are also significant, with Black and Hispanic families having lower retirement savings compared to white families. Only 44% of Black families and 28% of Hispanic families have some type of retirement account, compared to 65% of white families.

Social Security And Retirement

Social Security plays a pivotal role in retirement planning. People can start collecting Social Security benefits at age 62, but this is not considered full retirement age (FRA), resulting in only 75% of the expected benefits. FRA is 66 for people born between 1943 and 1959 and 67 for those born in 1960 or later. By delaying retirement beyond the FRA, retirees can receive more than their FRA benefit, which increases up to 132% if they wait until age 70 to start drawing Social Security.

Financial Considerations And Retirement Planning

With the average Social Security benefit at $1,874 per month in 2023, many retirees may find their retirement budget and expected spending far outweigh their expected income. Over half of the workers plan to work in retirement, reflecting the need for additional income sources. Effective retirement planning should include maximizing contributions to retirement savings plans and considering catch-up contributions for people 50 or older.

Assessing Your Retirement Readiness

Evaluate your savings: A general rule of thumb is to have saved at least 10 to 12 times your current annual income by the time you retire. This estimate can vary based on your lifestyle, expected retirement age and inflation.

Maximize retirement contributions: Contribute as much as possible to your retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts (IRAs). If you’re over 50, take advantage of catch-up contributions to boost your savings.

Estimate your retirement expenses: Consider your expected lifestyle in retirement and estimate your monthly expenses. Include healthcare costs, which can be significant, especially as you age.

Understand Social Security benefits: Familiarize yourself with Social Security benefits and how they will affect your retirement income. Delaying benefits beyond the full retirement age can increase your monthly payments.

Diversify your investments: Ensure your retirement portfolio is diversified to balance risk and return. As you approach retirement, consider shifting to more conservative investments to protect your savings.

Plan for longevity: With lifespans increasing, plan for a retirement that could last 30 years or more. Ensure your savings and investment strategy can support you throughout your retirement years.

Consider working in retirement: Many retirees work part-time to supplement their income and stay active. Evaluate whether this is a viable option for you.

Regularly review your retirement plan: Periodically review your retirement plan to adjust for changes in your financial situation, market conditions and goals.

Consulting A Financial Adviser

A financial adviser can provide valuable guidance tailored to your specific situation. They can help you:

Assess your current financial health and retirement readiness

Develop a comprehensive retirement plan that aligns with your goals and risk tolerance

Navigate complex financial decisions, including investment choices and tax implications

Regularly review and adjust your plan to stay on track

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*This information is not financial advice, and personalized guidance from a financial adviser is recommended for making well-informed decisions.

Jeannine Mancini has written about personal finance and investment for the past 13 years in a variety of publications including Zacks, The Nest and eHow. She is not a licensed financial adviser, and the content herein is for information purposes only and is not, and does not constitute or intend to constitute, investment advice or any investment service. While Mancini believes the information contained herein is reliable and derived from reliable sources, there is no representation, warranty or undertaking, stated or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the information.

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