NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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When Are Americans Retiring?

When Are Americans Retiring?


            Retirement at age 65 is no longer the goal for most working Americans. Since 2010, for the first time, more Americans said they planned to retire after age 65 than before it, and since then the gap has widened, according to a recent Gallup survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults, including 636 retirees.

            More than a third (37 percent) of workers say they expect to retire after 65, up significantly from 14 percent in 1995. Only about a quarter (26 percent) of employees are still aiming to retire at 65. Another quarter (26 percent) of adults are hoping to retire before age 65, down from 49 percent in 1995.

            People who are closer to age 65 generally project later retirement ages than younger workers. More than half of workers ages 58 to 64 plan to retire after age 65, compared with 36 percent of people in their early 50s, 38 percent of 30- and 40-somethings and just over a quarter (26 percent) of people under age 30.  People who are very near retirement age in their 50s and 60s are looking at their Social Security benefits, 401(k) balance, their cost of living, medical costs and food costs and have a better sense of what things might be like when they actually retire.  They are more aware that early retirement might not be as much of a realistic option for people today as it was 30 or 40 years ago."

            Individuals are pushing back their retirement age both because they need more time to save and because they enjoy many aspects of their jobs. Three-quarters (76 percent) of employees say they will continue working past retirement age, with 40 percent working because they want to and 35 percent because they will have to.  Part-time work in retirement (61 percent) is greatly preferred to a full-time job (15 percent). But only 19 percent of those surveyed plan to completely stop working at retirement age by choice.

            Individuals with high salaries are the most likely to want to stick with their jobs. Nearly half (49 percent) of those earning $75,000 or more say they plan to work past retirement age because they want to, compared to about a third of people earning less money.       

            Qualifying for Medicare plays a big role in many people's retirement decisions. Medicare coverage can start as early as the month you turn age 65. People who retire before age 65 face the risk of being forced to pay high premiums for private health insurance or COBRA coverage, or even being denied health insurance altogether.

            The increasing Social Security retirement age is also be inspiring people to work longer. While you can sign up for Social Security as early as age 62, your payments will be reduced unless you wait until your full retirement age to start payments. The full retirement age is 65 for everyone born in 1937 and earlier, but has since increased to 66 for most baby boomers and will further climb to 67 for everyone born in 1960 or later

            Health problems can have a big influence on your decision to retire early. More than one-third of those 55 to 59 years old cite poor health as being very important in their decision to retire, but it is less of a consideration among those 60 and older.

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