The definition of retirement will vary from person to person, but for this article’s sake, we’re going to say that when we speak about retirement, we’re entirely shutting down all aspects of work. No part time jobs, no side hustles, no consulting over the family business. We’re talking about a full on retirement. Speaking of, what is the best age to retire?
Today I’ll touch on when people are typically retiring, as well as what milestones you’ll need to keep in mind when you decide on the best age for retirement.
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What Will I Learn?
When is the Right Time to Retire?
Most people polled in a Gallup survey say that they plan on retiring between age 65 and 67. However, the same survey showed that most people go ahead and retire at age 61. In reality, while many people happily hung up their work boots or shut down their office at 61, most of these people didn’t get a choice in their retirement age.
Early retirement happens sometimes from losing employment, health situations, or even having the need to care for a parent in need. The circumstances vary greatly from household to household, while others will have to keep working longer due to the financial obligations.
As we all know, there are no guarantees in life. However, if you have been contributing to a retirement fund and saving diligently, you can usually have the choice on when you want to decide to retire. If you have had success in life, you could even retire in your 50’s or prior. If you do choose to retire that early, you’ll want to ensure you have income outside of your retirement investments so you can avoid paying penalties if you have to tap into your retirement savings.
Milestone Ages in the Retirement Era
Some of the major milestones you’ll need to keep in mind as you reach retirement age include:
55 – this won’t be significant to most people, but if you have been let go by your employer at or after this age, you can withdraw money from that employer’s 401(k) and not have to face any tax penalty.
59½ – at this age you’ll be able to take money from any pre-tax retirement accounts and not pay any penalties on these withdrawals. Go ahead and start tapping into your Roth IRA, or if you set one up, your gold 401k plan.
62-65 – Social security starts at age 62. However, you’ll only get 75% of it at that age if you start at 62. You’ll also be stuck at that level even when you reach 67, so be wise in your decision there.
65 – Eligibility for Medicare begins.
66-67 – This is considered full retirement age but it depends on your birth year.
67-70 – If you haven’t drawn your Social Security you’ll get an 8% bump on it each year you continue to delay withdrawals.
70½ –This is when you will be required to withdraw money from any of your retirement plans. (Pre-tax, like a 401(k), IRA, and any pension you have.
These are all dates and milestones you’ll want to pay attention to with your financial planner as you enter the years you want to begin thinking about retirement.
How Your Age Can Determine Your Retirement Income
There are two factors that come into play when retirement is in the forecast:
- Every year you work, you invest into a retirement plan. You also allow your investment another year to earn money.
- Every year you continue to kick an eventual retirement income withdrawal down the line means that your retirement has another year to stay invested.
If you want to retire early, you’ll have to make sure that your retirement savings can last all the way until you eventually pass away.
How to Properly Plan on Retirement Income
As you age, you’ll want to make adjustments to your savings plan. For example, if you feel you aren’t saving enough, you’ll want to adjust your lifestyle to put more money into your retirement savings to make sure you have the money needed to retire in style. You also might want to get more aggressive with investments in order to yield more earnings vs. going the slow and steady route and trying to make a few percent on your money each year.
Also, your desired lifestyle will be a HUGE factor. Some people want to retire in the Cayman Islands, which will be more expensive than other people who say, want to live in a quiet town in Iowa.
Retirement age will vary for everyone. However, there are many factors out of our control that will eventually come into play and either force us to happily or grudgingly retire. The best advice we can provide is that as long as you don’t live beyond your means and you diligently save money, it will all work out in the end.