New Report: The Age Most Americans Expect To Retire

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There’s a huge gap between the expected retirement age for many American workers versus when retirees actually leave the workplace, according to a recent survey.

The 2023 Retirement Confidence Survey from the nonprofit Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) indicates that one in three U.S. workers are more likely to say they’ll retire at age 70 or older, but only 6% of retirees actually leave the workplace at that age.

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.

The study is based on answers from 2,537 U.S. workers and retirees surveyed online from January 5 through February 2, 2023.

“As one might expect, workers who are not confident about their financial security in retirement plan to retire later, on average, than those who express confidence,” the fact sheet says.

Here are some key findings from the survey:

  • 11% of workers expect to retire before age 60, while 33% of retirees say they quit working at that age.
  • 20% of workers say they plan to retire at age 60 to 64. Meanwhile, 35% of retirees say they quit their job in that age range.
  • 88% of workers expect their savings to help them in retirement but Social Security to be a “major or minor source of income.”

Money expert Clark Howard recommends, if you can afford to do so, that you hold off on claiming Social Security because your benefit increases by 8% each year between your full retirement age and age 70.

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.

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