This is what Americans think is the ideal age to retire. It’s older than you may want.


Washington Post, July 22, 2018

There’s the ideal, and then there’s reality.

That’s the case when it comes to the ideal age to retire. Lots of folks tell me all the time they’re hoping to retire by their mid-50s. They say things like:

  • “Things here aren’t the way they used to be.”
  • “I’ve had enough!”
  • “I want to spend my time traveling.”

But as soon as people tell me they want to retire early, I get concerned. Most have a dream of early retirement but no plan for how to make it work financially. looked at what people think are the best ages for various financial milestones, such as opening their first credit card or buying their first home. Americans, on average, think the ideal age to retire is 61 years old. Here’s a breakdown, on average, of what various age groups thought was the ideal time to call it quits:

  • Millennials (18 to 37): 61
  • Gen Xers (38 to 53): 60
  • Baby boomers (54 to 72): 62
  • Silent Generation (73 and older): 65

“There is nothing wrong with having an aggressive retirement goal,” Bankrate.comanalyst Amanda Dixon said about the survey results. “However, if you’re striving to retire early, you need to start consistently setting aside money for the future right now. Time will be your greatest ally if you can get into the habit of saving money while you’re young.”

The decision to retire before being able to collect Social Security or receive your pension — if you have one — has to be done with ample planning; otherwise, you’ll have a short-lived retirement.

“Make no mistake about it: A large chunk of working adults are way behind on retirement savings,” Maurie Backman wrote recently for the Motley Fool. “An estimated 42 percent have less than $10,000 set aside for the future, and unless they manage to ramp up, retiring at 61 will pretty much be out of the question”

Retirement blogger Craig Stephens put together a very useful retirement-readiness checklist for U.S. News & World Report. Go through it to determine whether you’re prepared to walk away from working.

Even if you aren’t ready for an early retirement, it’s a good idea to figure out what you don’t know before it’s too late to make any changes.

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