A comfortable retirement will largely depend on whether or not you have enough money saved up for it. Without it, it will be more of a story of survival rather than comfort, and of squeezing by and scrounging rather than having relaxing and enjoyable sunset years. Knowing when you have enough saved up should help you determine at what retirement age you quit working – and not the other way around.
People Are Living Longer Today
Choosing your retirement age needs to take in to consideration some changing factors. Perhaps the one that needs the most thought is how long you might be expected to live. It seems this number is slowly moving upward, but this also means that more money will be needed. According to Doug Wheat, in an article at the New York Times, he says that a 65 year old couple living today can expect that there will be a 45 percent chance that one of them will live to be 90, and there is a 20 percent chance that one of them will live to be 95. Longer lives mean more money is necessary.
Social Security Matures Later
Baby Boomers who hope to retire at 62 would do much better if they wait a few years longer. The reason is that retiring early greatly reduces your Social Security benefits. Those who will soon be turning 65 know that they cannot get full benefits for at least another year or two. CBSNews also mentions that for each year you wait to retire, you will be adding about 8 percent more income per year from Social Security. This amount will certainly make waiting a little more attractive if you are not able to draw on other resources during your retirement years.
Preparation Needed for Retirement
In order to help you decide what would be a good retirement age, you should try some retirement calculators. Using one of these, such as the one at AARP, will help you see whether you have enough to retire comfortably or not. This kind of calculator can also reveal if you are saving enough each year to meet your desired expectations, how much your spouse will be able to add to your retirement needs when she retires, and what changes might need to be made to make your dream come true.
Other factors that you need to consider include changes in the cost of living, possible unexpected changes in your income, losses in your investments, unexpected medical bills, and more. Each of these can set your retirement plans back a couple of years, but recovery may be possible.
Other Considerations to Make Before Choosing a Retirement Age
Although most people think of full retirement and getting all your benefits at the same time, you do not have to do it this way. Bill Losey at MarketWatch.com suggests that if you had a good amount of money saved, you could retire early and then wait on getting your Social Security until you can get full benefits from it. Another alternative would be to reduce your hours to part time and just keep on being productive until you can completely retire. This may be good if you are healthy and still want to contribute while you are able.