The 7 Most Popular Ages When Americans Plan to Retire

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. Not everyone plans to retire at the exact same time.

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. The most common answers are listed below.


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. Some people feel that they cannot choose but to work, whether it be for financial reasons or any other reason. 4.4% of respondents to a survey said that they would continue working until they reach a great retirement home.

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. It can be frightening to think that after decades of receiving a paycheck, the flow of money will slow to a trickle.

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

Unsure about the best retirement age? 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.

You can’t guarantee that you’ll be able work later in life. Finding work can be more difficult as you age.

Age 70

Senior worker
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Among survey respondents, 13.5% plan to quit working at age 70. This can be a smart decision.

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. If you look a little deeper, you might find a beach bum eager to get out.

A whopping 29.6% of survey respondents plan to retire earlier than 65. This is likely to happen sooner than experts believe is prudent. Why not? You only have one chance to live.

And if you realize that you made a mistake in retiring too early, you can still make a decision to return to work. 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. Sometimes, however, we receive compensation if you click on links in our stories.

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