Retirement Age is on Average 3 Years Earlier than Expected
Updated: Jan 4, 2021
There is a big disconnect in workers’ estimated retirement age versus actual age of retirement. A 2019 EBRI/ Greenwald Retirement Confidence Survey found the average age of expected retirement is 65, while the actual average age of retirement is 62. Individuals, on average, have been retiring three years sooner than they anticipated. That three year difference can have a large impact on a retirement plan.
The majority (⅔) of those who retired earlier than expected did so involuntarily due to company changes (downsizing, restructuring, closing) or health-related issues. Those reasons are hard to predict or foresee. However, knowing it is a possibility, and a likely one, should be reason enough to plan for it in different retirement planning scenarios.
There are some people who say they plan on never retiring or at least working well into their 70s. Specifically for the individuals who are looking to continue to work into their 70s, 34% of those surveyed thought they would work past age 70, but only 6% actually do. Working in retirement can be extremely beneficial. It has been linked to staying more physically and mentally fit, and it can even possibly delay the onset of some diseases and provide a greater sense of purpose in retirement. However, structuring a retirement plan around working as long as possible should not be a substitute for saving for retirement.
Earlier-than-expected retirement scenarios do not always have negative consequences. In fact, many people are actually surprised to find they are more prepared for retirement than they initially thought. When preparing retirement plans and projections, it is very important to create a retirement age band rather than one specific age.
The EBRI/ Greenwald Retirement Confidence Survey chart below displays estimated retirement age (dark blue) versus actual retirement age (light blue).
Please feel free to email or call me with any other concerns or questions,
Evan Werckenthien, CFP®
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