Average US retirement age climbs to 61

A new Gallup survey shows more Americans expect to work well into their later years.

By Kim Peterson May 17, 2013 1:12PM
Image: Man counting money (© Flying Colours Ltd/Getty Images/Getty Images)People are working harder and retiring later, according to a new survey from pollster Gallup. U.S. retirees say they stopped working at an average age of 61 -- up from 57 two decades ago.

And younger people who are still working say they have a long road ahead. Gallup asked working Americans when they expect to retire, and the average answer was age 66. That's up from 60 in 1995.

The 2008 recession isn't completely to blame here. The average retirement age began climbing long before then, hitting 60 around 2004. "This shift may reflect more than just a changing economy," Gallup said about the results. "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."

One of the more interesting points from this survey is that the traditional notion of retiring at age 65 is disappearing. A full 37% of respondents said they plan to work past age 65 -- a sharp increase from 22% a decade ago and 14% in 1995, Gallup says.

People aren't necessarily working longer for the fun of it. Americans are panicked about having enough money to retire on. Gallup says it's our biggest financial worry.

The opposite held true a few decades ago, CNBC reports. Back then, people were comfortable with their pensions and with Social Security. They had a decent amount of savings. Retirement had been trending younger up until 1990. But companies began doing away with pensions, Social Security fell into question, and savings accounts paid the inevitable price.

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May 17, 2013 2:10PM

The eternal struggle that all societies have faced for thousands of years or longer has been between the have nones, the have somes, and the have almost everythings. This struggle can be belittled as "class warfare" but is a struggle ALL human have faced. While we can all never be equal we can at least try to give opportunitys to everybody and promote on the basis of merit instead of who people know
May 17, 2013 2:58PM
The biggest reason people have to work longer is because THEY DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY SAVED FOR RETIREMENT!!!!  Nobody should EVER depend on a particular company for their retirement. People have to take care of their own retirements and not even rely on pensions from companies. In the last 25 years or so, people are very self-centered, and want what they want when they want it. They have also raised their kids this way. The belief is to spend on wants, not needs and if you can't afford to buy it with cash charge it. There is a severe sense of entitlement that leaves people with no money for what they need and leaves them unable to save for retirement. A large majority of people are very short-sighted and unintelligent when it comes to money and providing for themselves in the future. They simply don't think of retirement, and when they start getting older, they panic. They have to work because they have no retirement and are trying to make as much money as they can before they drop dead. They also have no savings because they have wasted all of their money on things they and their kids never needed.
May 17, 2013 2:31PM
rangerdan---you're an ID10T----It's the dems--starting with Pres Johnson in 1965  that raided the SS coffers to spend on their own pet projects!!!!  YOU KNOW--TAX AND SPEND!!!!   ---If you have any brains--Look it up on Google!!!!
May 17, 2013 2:08PM
It used to be that one parent working full time could support a family of 4. This is no longer the case. Now most families require both parents to work and still many have financial issues. If wages for the middle class would rise as rapidly (or even 1/10th the rate) as CEO pay has then this would not be an issue. The problem is that most gains over the last 50 years has been concentrated with a few individuals (.1 of 1%) while the rest of us fight over the scraps
May 17, 2013 2:07PM

Pensions went away for a lot of business's a long time ago. How is this a Republican fault? i you really read the article (not)..  you would have seen this:

"This shift may reflect more than just a changing economy," Gallup said about the results. "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."

Which means the shift was set in motion back in the 90's.. About right, but hardly Republican, or Democrat for that matter..

May 17, 2013 3:28PM

I am amazed at how many people think the blame for everything is the Republicans but not the Democrats or the Democrats but not the Republicans.  Both sides are full of sh**. 


Each year the retirement future gets worse and worse.  It does not matter who is in office.  My taxes keep getting higher and higher.  The Social Security System gets worse each year and the cost of living adjustment gets smaller.  So why is it a surprise to anyone that people must keep working longer? 




Read an AARP atricle last year that said that according to S.S. documents the average retirement age was 62. Which makes more sense than this survey as most people will try to hold out for 62 that being the earliest age where you can get S.S. unless you are disabled.


Pretty much I do not see the real average age changing much as people are wearing out by the time they hit 62 and need a break.


And considering that most people die before they are 72 retiring later to get more S.S. does not make much sense. I know there are articles warnign that you are going to live to 92 so you will have to have $400,000 for medical bills and another $2,000,000 for living expenses put aside when you retire.


Not sure what the numbers are but I think by the time you hit 82 about 75 percent of those your age are dead. Kind of hard to figure 82 being an average age nows adays when more than 50 percent of the people are dead before that age.

May 17, 2013 3:06PM
For most people when the time comes to retire you look at your assets & make a decision as to whether you can pack it in.  However, with prices on certain things spiraling  out of control (gas/energy, food, property taxes,etc.) many people are holding out longer so they don't have to raid their savings to live normally.  I know when it's time for me to retire i will be moving out of the New York metro area as my property taxes are at $15,000 a year for a modest type house (not a McMansion)
May 17, 2013 2:51PM
Once you had a defined company offered pension, that's all but gone. You now have a 401K in it's place. These 401k plans were initially set up for management so as to have a place to invest bonuses, not as a replacement for a pension. Most people near retirement are starting to realize that without a defined pension, and or annuities, there really is no way you can retire. A 401K is an investment plan, it is not designed for a life long monthly distribution of funds. It was of course a way business was able to shift retirement funding off their backs on to yours. Their next move is to get your social security into the same investment stock market setup. That will further reduce future tax liability for these very same employers. If things are tough now wait till they pull that one off. 
May 17, 2013 3:38PM
May 17, 2013 3:53PM

hmmmmmmmm lets see here


Corporate America has more money then ever.

Pensions have been taken away.

People are struggling.

Big Business gives two ****.

Unions are gone.



OMG what does it all mean!!!!!!??????


Do you guys get it yet? 

May 17, 2013 3:41PM

People know that they are now paying 50%  towards SSI of thier federal withholdings while claiming ZERO on thier withholdings. People know that the cost of a brand name loaf of bread will be $10 in 10 years, while getting zero on thier hard earned money in the savings account. People know that the long lost American culture of spending no more than 25% of thier take home on a mortgage is gone (circa 1950's). People know that thier employment is at the risk of bean counters, fat with thier own special compensation packages. People know that the government is very determined to shove thier hands in your pockets to get every ounce of energy you have to benefit it's own massive growth. People know and are trying to think future, despite staring at that huge light coming down the tunnel and sounding like a locomotive coming right at them.

People know, were just too scared to do the right thing.

May 17, 2013 4:18PM
There is going to be NO retirement age soon.
May 17, 2013 4:04PM

i tried the "r" word for one year (approx.) it's not my cup of tea!


i went back to work a year ago, now at my second job since going back to work.


i'm now working for a friend who is involved in  three different businesses, two fo which i was in prior to selling out. the big difference now is that i'm not having to come up with operating capital from what i had already earned and certain other negative aspects of being self-employed for 40 years.


i'm pretty much still the last guy in the payroll, but that is due to the employee code that puts me last in the payroll file. i still write my own paycheck, but i know there's enough left for my week. that didn't always happen when i was self-emplyed. 


i'm not planning to retire again for several years, the lord willing!

May 17, 2013 3:01PM

Thats because the public pension system is shrinking. The public employees are the only ones that retired at 57 while the rest of us funded their early retirement. I live in NJ where Chris Christie is shrinking  public employee pensions. Christie for President in 2016. We just may have to hire a few more chefs in the White House.

May 17, 2013 4:12PM
Keep voting for Democrats and you won't retire till you are 85---if you live that long.
May 17, 2013 4:45PM

Yes Pocket protector gets it! It's not the car you drive, the house you live in, the boat, the snowmobile, the I phone 5, or a gold chain necklace, or that ugly tat you paid for. Its how you save for your future! SAVE FOR YOUR FUTURE!!!

 I started working and saving at age 11, semi retired at 53, I work part time for fun and some bennies. I have been DEBT FREE since 2006!!!

May 17, 2013 4:19PM
Yea but I wonder what the retirement age for the lack of public service worker union members all good Dumbocrat with money and votes is? Oh I bet they are still retiring at 50 or so, collecting a phat 75% of their last year salary, health benefits for them and their spouce for life. And you, well you get to keep working to support those poor over worked dopes. So keep voting fo the Dumbos and your state will wind up like Ca, NY, CT, RI all broke and full of union members.
May 17, 2013 4:17PM
Glad I scrimped and saved my whole life so I could retire at age 50---which I did.  And with no debt and a few million in the bank.  A lack of lifetime planning on YOUR part does not create an emergency on my part.
May 17, 2013 5:01PM
Our government would be more than happy if we just work till we die.
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