Why 65 Is Too Young to Retire

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Senior businesswoman looking away in thought
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By Dave Bernard

The magical age 65 that signaled retirement time for our parents might not hold true for the baby boomer generation. Sure 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 of age 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.

Dave Bernard is the author of "I Want To Retire! Essential Considerations for the Retiree to Be." Although not yet retired, he focuses on identifying and understanding the essential components of a fulfilling and meaningful retirement. He shares his discoveries and insights on his blog Retirement-Only The Beginning.


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November 29 2013 at 7:46 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bdgrizcp

Crummy advice. The writer assumes we all have nice cushy office jobs that involve no physical labor. News flash: not everyone is so lucky. I had to retire early due to a back condition.

October 23 2013 at 6:18 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
geezerearl

I realize the author of this article is getting paid 4 it. Otherwise its
really no bodys business when a person retires. Guess what ,its an
individual decision 2 b made by that particular person. So save ur
advice 4 some one who cares.

October 23 2013 at 5:29 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
faithta

Yeah, don't retire at 65. Retire at 62 if you can, or even sooner if you can afford it. iI retired at 62 and i wasn't rich. i enjoy life. i do a reasonable amount of travel in USA and abroad. i recently attended the 50th year class reunion (1963) a lot of my classmates had passed before reaching the age of 65. I say retire when you want to when you can afford to and don't worry about "grabbing extra money and falling into "bad health" as some do.

October 23 2013 at 3:29 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
classof68gto

I worked 46 years counting 4 years in there.

October 23 2013 at 2:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
classof68gto

I started taking SSN in the year I turned 66 but 10 months before my 66. I decided to take it then as I was still working and could make as much as I wanted. I retired at age 67 going on 68. My wife and I invested in the stock market the past 33 years and she has a pension as I do also. We live on her SSN and pension and put my pension and SSN into an account separate from our retirement acct. Lucky for us, life is good. I worked 42 years and was ready to retire.

October 23 2013 at 2:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bassiman

When Social Security was started, the average life span for males was less than 65 and now it is 76+ so the minimum age to start collecting should go up more than 2 years as it is expected to for young adults working now. I am now 65 and don't plan on retiring any time soon. Prudential Insurance Co. says that one out of three babies born today in the US will live to be 100. Therefore, SS should start no earlier than 65 and full benefits should be at 70 and not 66. Taking those steps will preserve SS for many more years.

October 23 2013 at 2:23 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
zzyxx

retirement is not a future choice of americans.....another lost benefit of the working class that will be destroyed by the democratic party in a few short years......if you can retire now...do it!

October 22 2013 at 11:37 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to zzyxx's comment
bassiman

You are blaming the wrong party!

October 23 2013 at 2:24 AM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
Walda

spot on zzyxx, demokkkrats want your taxes to buy the votes that will keep them in office
as a permanent class of elites. Public is so *fooled* think demokkkrats are for the working class, baloney, they are for themselves !!!!

October 25 2013 at 2:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dmts17331

Haha everyone I know that is turning 62 next year will take the meager money and run with it, Wait until 70.....really....what type of retirement can you look forward at that time. To old to work and health problems will abound.....I'll take that $1200 and be satisfied!

October 22 2013 at 11:30 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rufusxfirefly

W and O along with bailing out the banks, supporting all the stupid give away social programs that the Democrats think is important, paying the bill for the rich from the taxbreaks the GOP gets for their handlers, not too mention all the foreign aid we dole out to every country in the world ..... top it off most of us lost quite a bit in the meltdown... have made retirement a mirage in the desert for many of us. VOTE ALL INCUMBENTS OUT OF OFFICE PERIOD!!!!!

October 22 2013 at 11:24 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to rufusxfirefly's comment
willypfistergash

The bill.for tax breaks?

October 23 2013 at 8:37 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply