Live longer, but retire earlier

In 1940 the life expectancy at age 65 was 12.7 years, by 1990 it was 15.3 and today it is 18.2 years. So, we are living longer, but seek to retire earlier – the median retirement age has steadily declined in the last several decades – and many Americans are poorly prepared to retire.

What a combination‼️

“A recent survey from Natixis Investment Managers set out to find out exactly when most Americans hope to stop working. The average age is 62, the research found. However, it turns out when people hang up their hats varies by generation. The youngest cohort, Generation Y — ages 25 to 40 — plans to retire at an average age of 59. For Generation X — now 41 to 56 — the average age is 60. Baby boomers — who range from 57 to 75 — indicated they plan to work longer, with an average expected retirement age of 68.” Source: CNBC

“Most Americans aren’t prepared for retirement. While most non-retired adults have some type of nest egg, only 36% think their retirement savings are on track, according to the Federal Reserve. A separate survey from the Insured Retirement Institute found that most workers don’t have sufficient retirement savings and aren’t putting enough aside to catch up.” Source: CNBC

And then we have the Financial Independence Retire Early (FIRE) folks who see retirement as a goal in their 30s and 40s and claim to be fully prepared for the next fifty-plus years.

What do I know, I retired at age 67.


  1. What I’ve long been curious about and can’t really find data on is whether higher income persons tend to retire at an earlier or later age than lower income folks.

    Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that professionals seem to work longer than lower paid workers, whose jobs are often more physically taxing. Doctors, attorneys, executives, professors, etc., why retire if you’re earning over six figures (and no sweat)?

    Here are the top reasons not to retire:
    (USNews, June 15, 3020)

    Find fulfillment in an organization’s work.
    Improve your retirement finances.
    Continue to support worthy causes.
    Stay engaged and mentally sharp.

    One of my concerns in retirement was/is the “widows penalty”. We are doing well now, but if either of us passes, the other will instantly lose the lowest of the Social Security incomes, about $20,000/yr. in our case (and go onto a higher tax bracket.) Two can live almost as cheaply as one, so this will be a major change for the survivor.

    Of course, there are those who never had the second income to begin with. There is a woman working as a bagger in our local grocery who appears to be well old enough for Soc. Sec. I assume she’s supplementing SS as long as she is able, like millions of others. I need look no farther than my own family. My brother died still working at 67. Youngest sister (widow) still working at 67, and my older (widowed)sister “retired” last year at 84. None were doctors or lawyers.


  2. That would be the average life expectancy. There is a big difference (and growing) in the life expectancy of those in the highest income quintile vs. the lowest.

    “According to many studies, life expectancy has been rising fastest for people with higher education or income, so the gap in longevity by socioeconomic status has been increasing. This trend is important in itself, but it also means that higher-income people will increasingly collect government benefits such as Social Security over more years than will lower-income people. It also means that some proposed policy changes to make programs fiscally sustainable, such as raising the normal retirement age for Social Security or raising the eligibility age for Medicare, might disproportionately affect those with lower incomes.”


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