New Report: The Age Most Americans Expect To Retire

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For many Americans, retirement brings to mind white sand beaches and emerald green golf courses. But at what age do you envision this taking place?

The 2024 Retirement Confidence Survey from the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) indicates that:

  • One in four (23%) workers expect to retire at 70 or older or not at all. The report says only 6% of retirees report that this was the case for them.
  • 14% of workers say they plan to retire before age 60, while 32% of retirees report that they actually did.
  • 22% of workers say they plan to retire between the ages of 60 and 64; 38% of retirees say they did in that age range.

The study is based on answers from 2,521 U.S. workers and retirees surveyed online from January 2 through January 31, 2024.

When Do Most Americans Expect To Retire?

According to a fact sheet published with the survey, U.S. workers expect to retire at a median age of 65, while the median age that workers actually retire is 62.

A majority of both workers and retirees report that they are worried that the U.S. government could make significant changes to the American retirement system.

However, U.S. workers are overwhelmingly resolute in the prospects of living a comfortable life after their working years.

“Overall, two-thirds of the workers and three-fourths of the retirees are very or somewhat confident about having enough money to live comfortably in retirement, which is unchanged from 2023,” Craig Copeland, director, Wealth Benefits Research, EBRI, says in a news release. “The survey also shows that workers and retirees are confident that government programs such as Social Security and Medicare will provide benefits of equal value to today and believe they understand the Social Security program.”

The report also highlights that workers believe they will start claiming Social Security benefits at a median age of 65, while retirees report collecting Social Security later into their retirement but earlier than workers’ expectations, at around age 64.

Clark’s Tip On How To Maximize Your Social Security Benefits

Even though he’s already eligible, Clark plans to wait until he’s 70 before he starts collecting Social Security. He advises that any extra money we earn while we delay Social Security can help offset some of the financial blows we encounter along the way such as inflation, market uncertainty and a greater need for health care.

“The odds overwhelmingly show that a lot of us are going to live a lot longer than we thought,” Clark says. “So the best time to take Social Security is to wait as long as you possibly can.”


Final Thoughts

The thought of retirement shouldn’t bring financial anxiety. To gauge how your future looks, estimate your Social Security benefits and see if there’s room for improvement.

In the meantime, Clark wants you to save as much as you can and if you have the cash, look to invest.

Want more financial tips? Read our guide for beginners: How to start investing with little money.