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The Difference Between Retiring at 50, 60, and 70

The Difference Between Retiring at 50, 60, and 70

John-Rothans

Written by John Rothans

Dec 10, 2021

A survey by the Gallup polling organization pinpoints 62 as the average retirement age in the U.S. But since that’s an average, it’s clear that not everyone is picking that as their retirement age. Some folks might want to retire early, at age 50. Others may wish to time their exit from the workforce at age 60. And still others might choose to prolong retirement till age 70.

Indeed, many Americans are capable of retiring at 50, 60, or 70. But what are the pros and cons of leaving the workforce at those three different ages? Follow along as we explore the answer to that question.

Can I Retire at 50?

If you’ve saved enough money to comfortably retire at age 50, then it might be the right option for you. To do so, though, you most likely need to have saved aggressively for retirement over a significant period. Among other things, this means you’ve maximized your workplace retirement contributions, and you’ve stayed out of debt.

Still, there could be some financial drawbacks to retiring at 50.

A significant disadvantage is that you could be missing out on thousands of dollars a year in retirement benefits. That’s because you can’t start drawing Social Security benefits until age 62.

Another potential disadvantage: Most 401(k) plans don’t allow penalty-free withdrawals until age 55.

One big bonus if you retire at age 50 is that you typically should be able to enjoy more work-free years. The average life expectancy for an American is close to 78 years.

Can I Retire at 60?

By age 60, you may be ready to shut the door on your career and open the door to retirement. But is that the right move?

At this point, you’ve likely saved more for retirement than you had saved by age 50. However, you’ll need to consider whether you’ve stashed enough money to savor a pleasant post-work existence. Keep in mind, too, that you can’t receive Social Security benefits till age 62.

Your benefits increase by 8% for every year from age 62 to 70 that you postpone claiming them, MarketWatch notes.

Fortunately, when you reach age 60, you’ve passed the minimum age (55) for penalty-free withdrawals from your 401(k), and you’ve exceeded the minimum age (59½) for penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA.

Retiring around 60 gives you, on average, close to two decades to travel, spend time with your grandkids, and take up that hobby you’ve been putting off.

Can I Retire at 70?

At age 70, you’ve surpassed the retirement age of the average American. However, you’ve probably built a sizable nest egg, and you’re eligible for Social Security benefits and penalty-free retirement withdrawals. In fact, if you put off claiming Social Security until turning 70, you’ve hit the point where you’ve accumulated the maximum amount of increased benefits available to you because you didn’t accept those benefits earlier.

A recent also study by researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research found strong evidence that “postponed retirement is beneficial to cognitive function for all genders, races/ethnicities, educational levels, and regardless of professional or non-professional occupational status.”

Whether your mind is on saving for retirement or planning the day you’ll get to use those savings, it’s always a good idea to take a second look at where you stand when it comes to the future. Our Account Executives can help you understand how a self-directed IRA—one potential piece of the retirement puzzle—could help you retire at your desired age.

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