U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the retirement age in the United States averages 65 for men and 63 for women.1 Retiring at the average age can be a smart move if key factors have lined up in your favor.
The factors that affect your age of retirement are your personal circumstances such as health and residence, the recognized retirement age to receive Medicare and Social Security, and how well you have planned financially.
- The average retirement age in the United States is 65 for men and 63 for women, but you might find that you have to wait longer.
- You can’t collect the full amount of Social Security you’re entitled to until full retirement age for the year you were born, usually after age 66.
- Medicare benefits aren’t available until you turn 65 unless you have a qualifying physical condition.
- Your retirement age can also depend on whether you have retirement savings – and how much you’ve saved.
Circumstances Determine Your Retirement Age
The age you can retire at varies according to your circumstances. In states with a higher cost of living, such as Hawaii, California, or New York, you may not be able to retire early or at the age you want because you need to save more money to continue living in those areas.
People with college degrees generally have higher-paying jobs, which means that they can retire at the average age if they plan well. A person’s retirement age also depends upon their standard of living.
If two neighbors make the same amount of money in a year, but one saves and invests while the other spends, the saver might be able to retire earlier than the spender.
Social Security and Medicare Retirement Ages
Many people have to rely on their Social Security benefits as a primary source of retirement income. To retire comfortably, you can plan to use your Social Security benefit as a supplemental retirement income source.
However, you have to wait until you’re 66 or 67 to receive the full amount, depending on your birth year. The Social Security Administration (SSA) uses a person’s age and birthdate to determine the amount of Social Security retirement benefit they will receive.
The SSA calls this age the full retirement age (FRA), which represents the age at which you can take your benefits and receive 100% of them. If you take them earlier, you receive less, and if you take them later, you receive more.
Your birth year determines your FRA. The chart below shows the ages, birth year, and the age you need to be to receive your full retirement benefit. If you retire before your FRA, you’ll receive a reduced benefit that will be your permanent benefit amount.2
If you retire before age 65, you’ll need to have a healthcare plan in place until you are eligible to enroll in Medicare—Medicare benefits begin at age 65. The SSA requires that you register three months before you turn 65, otherwise, there can be a delay, and you may be subject to a late enrollment penalty.