Personal Finance

The 7 Most Popular Ages When Americans Plan to Retire

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Happy woman thinking about retirement
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Whether you are 42 or 62, chances are good you have spent a moment or two dreaming of the day you no longer have to work. But not everybody plans to retire at the same age.

Recently, the Insured Retirement Institute asked nearly 1,000 Americans between the ages of 40 to 73 who work full or part time when they plan to quit working. Following are their answers, starting with the least common.


senior worker
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In July, America’s oldest working nurse — 96-year-old Florence “SeeSee” Rigney — finally called it quits after 70 years on the job. In a MultiCare Health System profile, Rigney says:

“I don’t like to sit around — I’ve always got to have something to do. That’s my nature.”

Some people simply love to work. Others feel they have no choice but to continue, for financial or other reasons. Whatever the motivation, 4.4% of working respondents said they will continue to work until they go to that great retirement home in the sky.

For more on the benefits of this strategy, check out “5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live.”

Don’t know

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Deciding when to retire is never easy. After decades of getting a paycheck, it can be scary to imagine the flow of money slowing to a trickle.

For that reason — and, presumably, many others — 10.4% of survey respondents are unsure when they will retire.

Unsure of the right retirement age for you? Consider enrolling in the Money Talks News retirement course, The Only Retirement Guide You’ll Ever Need. This 14-week boot camp is intended for those who are 45 or older, and it can teach you everything from Social Security secrets to how to time your retirement.

After age 70

Senior worker in front of forklift
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Whether out of necessity or desire, 11.6% of survey respondents plan to retire after the age of 70.

Of course, there is no guarantee you will be able to work so late into life. It can become more challenging to find work when you are older.

Age 70

Senior worker
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Among survey respondents, 13.5% plan to quit working at age 70. That can be a wise choice.

Working up to 70 allows you to delay claiming Social Security, which can pay off handsomely in terms of a larger benefit for the rest of your life. Once you reach that age, there is no further increase in benefits to be gained by delaying any longer, which makes 70 the perfect age to start collecting Social Security.

For more on this strategy, check out “7 Reasons Not to Take Social Security at Age 62.”

Ages 66 – 69

Senior man working in agriculture
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In some ways, this age category is the “sweet spot” for retirement: You’re not retiring too early, but you also are not pushing retirement into your later years, when working might become more challenging.

Many survey respondents agree, with 14.2% saying they plan to retire during these years.

At 65

Senior worker
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This is the age most people probably view as the “traditional” time to retire. Among survey respondents, 16.3% plan to put away their pencils, hard hats, or chalk and erasers at this age.

Prior to 65

Older woman working
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Sometimes, it seems like America is a land of workaholics. But scratch a little below the surface, and you may discover a beach bum just itching to break out.

A whopping 29.6% of survey respondents plan to retire earlier than 65. That is probably sooner than most experts would say is prudent. But why not? After all, you only live once.

And if you discover you have made a mistake by retiring early, the choice is not irrevocable. Learn the signs that it might be time to return to work in “8 Signs That It’s Time for You to Unretire.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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