Bop till you drop: Forget early retirement

The average age at which U.S. retirees say they actually retired is now at 61, up from 57 in the early 1990s, reports Gallup today

“These results are from Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance survey, conducted April 4-14. The average retirement age has crept up by four years over the past two decades, from 57 in 1991 to the current 61. Because most of the uptick came before the 2008 recession, this shift may reflect more than just a changing economy. It may also indicate changing norms about the value of work, the composition of the workforce, the decrease in jobs with mandatory retirement ages, and other factors.images-1

“Whereas the average current retiree stopped working at age 61, those still working expect to work well beyond that age. The average nonretired American currently expects to retire at age 66, up from 60 in 1995.

“Currently, 37% of nonretired Americans say they expect to retire after age 65, 26% at age 65, and 26% before age 65. The most notable change over time is the increase in those expecting to work past age 65 — the 37% this year is up from 22% a decade ago and 14% in 1995. Meanwhile, the percentage of nonretirees who say they expect to retire before age 65 has declined to 26% from 49% in 1995.The percentage who say they will retire at exactly 65 has held fairly constant over the decades.

“Americans became more likely to say they will retire after age 65 than before that age for the first time in 2010. Since then, the gap has generally widened.

“Nonretirees who are closer to age 65 are typically more likely to project a later retirement age than those who are further away from retirement. More than half of nonretirees aged 58 to 64 expect to retire after age 65, compared with 36% of nonretirees aged 50 to 57, 38% of those between 30 and 49, and just 26% of those younger than 30. Retirement accounts of the older group may have declined in value during the economic recession, while the younger group may feel that their retirement accounts’ values will be high enough for them to retire at age 65 or younger — even taking into account the uncertain financial situations of Social Security and Medicare.”


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