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Why 65 is too young to retire

For years, it's been most Americans' goal to stop working by that age. Things have changed.

By Money Staff Oct 21, 2013 1:43PM

This post comes from Dave Bernard at partner site U.S. News & World Report.


U.S. News & World Report on MSN MoneyThe magical age 65 that signaled retirement time for our parents might not hold true for the baby boomer generation.


Retired couple © Rubber Ball/Getty ImagesSure, the idea is appealing to call it quits before we are too old to appreciate and enjoy our second act. But the reality may be that 65 is just too young to retire. Some 76 percent of employees say they will continue working past retirement age, with 40 percent working because they want to and 35 percent because they will have to, according to a 2013 Gallup survey. Here’s when it might make sense to delay retirement past age 65:


When you still have a job. If you are currently employed, still able to effectively perform your duties and the job itself is not driving you crazy, it can make sense to stay at it for a while more. The longer you can delay taking Social Security, the more your monthly checks will ultimately be. For each year beyond your full retirement age that you delay collecting Social Security benefits up to a maximum age of 70, you will receive an additional 8 percent. You can also delay the time when you will become 100 percent responsible for your own health insurance premiums as long as your employer is picking up part of the tab.


Finally, should you leave your job beyond the age of 50 either by choice or for reasons beyond your control, there is no guarantee you will quickly find another. Since 2007, job seekers over 55 have consistently experienced longer durations of unemployment than younger workers. For many people it makes sense not to give up a decent job before it is absolutely necessary.


When you are not yet financially prepared. If you retire at age 65, chances are you will live another 20 or more years in retirement. If you have worked and contributed to Social Security over the years, you will receive monthly benefits. However, these benefits were never intended to provide all or even most of your retirement income. The average monthly benefit for retired workers in August 2013 was $1,270, while the maximum monthly benefit for someone retiring at full retirement age (age 66) in 2013 is $2,533.


Some bills will disappear in retirement, especially if the kids are done with their educations, the mortgage is paid off and the cars payments are done. But other expenses may quickly take their place, and health care costs will need to be an increasing consideration. Plus, when you retire, you don’t want to just get by. You want to enjoy yourself. You finally have the time to do what you want to, but if you lack the necessary funds you may find yourself unable to partake. Financial preparation for retirement should not be about just making it, but making it memorable.


When you have few other interests. If you have worked the last 30 plus years, your daily activities have to a large extent been defined by your job. Hours are filled with projects, deadlines, meetings and strategy sessions as you do what you were hired to do. When you retire you effectively flip the switch and become individually responsible for filling your time.


Although the new freedom you will have is exciting and allows you to explore what you never could while tied to work, the hours can drag on if you do not have enough interests. It helps to prepare before you retire rather than suddenly go from a busy 40-hour work week to an empty calendar.


When you enjoy your current situation. There are some fortunate people who look forward to each day and the challenges it offers. They thrive on interactions with fellow workers and the camaraderie felt working toward a shared purpose. Even if a boss does not regularly offer recognition for a job well done, the steady paycheck does. If your job itself is interesting, why look for a way out? Various studies have found that one of the main things people miss when they quit working is the interaction with those they worked beside over the years. Some of our best friendships may start on the job. Retirement should be about having a choice in how you spend your time. If work is what you want to do in your second act, go for it.


More from U.S. News & World Report: 



Oct 21, 2013 3:40PM

This is a message paid for by the National Social Security Agency.


Please hold off on applying for the retirement payments you deserve, and sacrificed from your paychecks, your whole life. 

We still have millions of low lives and illegal immigrants, who haven't paid into the system, that we would like to give your money too.

Oct 21, 2013 3:31PM
This is why young people do not have jobs.  65 is old enough to retire.  I sure don't want to be hobbling into work at 75.  Let us retire and let the young ones get the jobs-right now good able-bodied, intelligent people are sitting on their parents couches doing nothing -and all those bright spots out there can't figure out why. These young people would love to work at a decent job. The four reasons in this article are written by some forty year old who has no idea what it is like to be over sixty and still working.  Life is so much more than some crappy job.  This guy should get a life.
Oct 21, 2013 3:24PM
I work to live my life...not live my life to work.
Oct 21, 2013 3:25PM
Keep paying into SS .. that's the BS there selling here
Oct 21, 2013 4:13PM
Politicians are always saying things like, We should make the retirement age 70, people are living longer! But we know better, Remember this, last year the politicians worked an average of 2.3 days a week, and didn't do anything. If the worked for a living they to would realize that 65 is long enough!
Oct 21, 2013 3:38PM
Tell you what, all you people that say wait, wait, wait until 65 to 70 to retire. YOU work at a job that YOU HATE, that you CAN'T quit, that has A BOSS who is a total A$$HOLE and jerk, and believe me, YOU won't wait until 70 to retire. YOU WILL retire as soon as you can. And DON"T give people bull$hit about how they're going to be poor, if they're ALREADY WORKING POOR, they DON'T GIVE A CRAP ABOUT RETIRING AT 62
Oct 21, 2013 3:51PM
5 more years for an additional 8%. No thanks.
Oct 21, 2013 2:28PM
We are at the tipping Point of folks not living Longer. So all these BS talk of waiting longer before Retirement is a Pure Sham. About the only folks that live longer are the 1% simply because most of them don't do any Real Work. Meanwhile, the rest of us are literally Working ourselves to DEATH.

There is already at least one Survey/Study that strongly suggest folks not living longer. As more Folks are dealing with the STRESS of longer/harder hours, less PAY, yet being far more productive, lifespans will sooner than later, be on the decline. That is unless you are in the 1%.

Oct 21, 2013 4:07PM
I retired at age 65, three years ago. Now I do what I want to do. I work on any project that I want, not what anyon else wants. If I want to help out in a project that is volunteer, then I do. btw, HAVE YOU CHECKED OUT THE OBITS LATELY? Each and every day they are full of people younger, my age or orlder.  Most in MY age group!  I say, retire! Give up the job that will benefit a much younger person. They need it more than you do, I'm sure.  Most of us have social security and other pension benefits to count on.  This stay on the job advice seems like a scam to me. Okay, you continue to work til 75. Wow, you have a big 5-10 years left to enjoy a non working lifestyle. Maybe you'll die on the job and never give yourself a break to enjoy the nicer things in life like sitting in the park watching life happen around you or just playing a game of golf and not worrying about getting home because of job demands. RETIRE NOW IF YOU CAN! It's great!
Oct 21, 2013 3:51PM
Tell us the real reason not to retire.  Maybe it's that there is not enough money to cover the baby boomers  in SS.  Retire as soon as you can. Get some of your money back before Obama gives it all way for his 47%'s.
Oct 21, 2013 3:46PM
Are you kidding me??  I have planned well and plan to have a great retirement at 60.  Just because the rest of the people refuse to plan, always drove the newest car and had the most expensive clothes are going to HAVE to continue to work doesn't bother me in the least.  Me, not only did I plan to have the house long paid off and 2 children education bills paid for (and by the way they have no debt from school), I also set aside money for some very substantial travel.  So go ahead and keep working, since you have to.  Me, I am going to play, and play some more.
Oct 21, 2013 4:23PM
Mu husband is 10 years my senior.  He will be retiring at 66 and if things continue to go as well as they have so far, I plan to retire at 56.  I have seen many people lose spouses and regret not having time to to spend with them and I don't want that to happen to us.  We have no outstanding debts, monies in both traditional and ROTH IRA's and have 401(k)'s to roll over when we retire.  We live a simple life with simple expenses - used cars, basic cell phone service and such so we could conceivably live off of his social security and stock dividends so why not retire?  Life is more important to us.
Oct 21, 2013 2:32PM
The more Folks that refuse to Retire, the less Jobs for those trying to enter the Workforce. If you have plenty of Money, why hold back the next generation. Retire and create a Business and hire some folks if you want to stay active. Folks don't have to stay forever at the same JOB. If you need  to be at some Job in order to have any Friends, then something is seriously wrong with your life.
Oct 21, 2013 3:49PM

I started this same job in 1980 at 15 years old. I`m still here. I'm very sure the government would love to see me work until I poop the floor in my office but that aint going to happen, That is because of old age anyway. I`m going to retire the first chance I get. I`m tired of the drive, the people I have to keep in line, The time away from my family. My average week is over 60 hours at work. I cant wait to get out of here. With my luck I will die at 64 3/4 or sooner and never have a chance to draw from SS or spend my 401k.


Oct 21, 2013 4:13PM

Once you make it to 62 and have enough work credits to draw Social Security, it is your choice when you start to draw your monthly payments. When I first started working, I made minimum wage, so I had years when I did not make much. Now that I am making a decent salary, every additional year I work replaces one of those lean paycheck years in the SSA Payment formula, raising the amount that I will get when I do start drawing SS. You can retire at any age, but making it to age 62 gives you a choice. Do the research on the pros and cons, and then make the best choice for you.   

Oct 21, 2013 3:41PM

One of the things I have learned researching retirement is each individual has their own ideas what is the perfect retirement age for them. Many people retire early because they planned well and can afford to leave the work force. Other people have to retire at a later date because they cannot afford to quit their jobs. There are those who never want to retire because they enjoy what they are doing.


I have been planning my retirement for many years. I am in my fifties and I plan on working for another ten to twelve years. One of the reasons why I plan on retiring later in life is that both sides of my family are blessed with long life. Another reason is I would like to live comfortably when I leave the work force. I plan on traveling and spending more time with my family and friends.


I am currently on tract to reach all of my retirement and investment goals.  No matter what your retirement goals are the easier it will be to achieve your objectives to plan for it. Start investing early, have a budget and stick to it, stay out of debt, and save for a rainy day. If you have a plan you can retire early or later if that is your choice.

Oct 21, 2013 3:48PM
The only way I'll be able to afford to retire if I decide to live in a cave. With prices going up and salaries staying the same there's no way a person can live on their Social Security check.
Oct 21, 2013 4:14PM

When I turn 65 I will have been working 49 years - I think at that point I can say I carried my load as far as anyone could reasonably ask.



Oct 21, 2013 4:56PM
Retired at 62 and will never regret it.  Yes SS is very low but I hated my job, my family asked me to quit because my health was affected.  Here in the States you work longer work weeks than in many European countries, shorter vacations and very poor sick leave plus treated like crap by people who should never be in charge.
Oct 21, 2013 4:32PM

How many times do the writers for MSN-Money have to write stories about working past 65?  I have worked long enough and now it is time for the Social Security System to provide me with the benefits they have promised me.  Oh yeah, they can't provide me with those benefits cause they poorly managed the money I have been paying them all these years. 

My bucket list is long and getting longer.  I can assure you that working myself to death is not on that list.  As soon as my retirement funds reach the level I project I need, I will be out the door.  The day after I get the retirement money I need, i will be going to work for the last time with one purpose in mind - "To make sure everyone knows who can kiss what".

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