What is the average retirement age in America?

Retirement


Retirement, and the average retirement age, are hot topics this year. France has seen widespread protests against plans to raise President Emmanuel Macron’s minimum retirement age from his 62 to his 64. In the United States, there has been talk of raising the full Social Security retirement age from he’s 67 to he’s 70.

Recent surveys show that the typical American retires much earlier than that. Keep reading to find out the average retirement age in the US and how long retirement lasts compared to other countries.

Main findings

  • The average retirement age for Americans is 61.
  • The average retirement age has risen several years since the early 1990s, when the average American retired at age 57.
  • Expected retirement years in the United States increased significantly from 1970 to 2020, from 12.8 years to 18.6 years for men and from 16.6 years to 21.3 years for women.
  • Among the 42 countries with data on retirement duration, the United States ranks 28th for men and 37th for women.

US average retirement age stable

According to Gallup, the average retirement age in the US is 61. It hasn’t changed much in the last 20 years. Since 2002, the average retirement age has ranged from 59 to 62. Going further back, the average retirement age was 57 in 1991, 58 in 1992, and 57 again in 1993.

Interestingly, Americans expect to retire later than they actually do, with a typical difference of five to six years. In its annual survey, Gallup asks retirees how old they will be when they retire and asks non-retirees what age they plan to retire. Here are the averages going back to 2002:

Data source: Gallup (2022).

Year

average retirement age

average retirement age

2002

59

63

2003

59

63

2004

60

64

Year 2005

60

64

2006

60

65

2007

60

64

2008

60

64

2009

60

65

2010

59

65

2011

60

66

year 2012

60

67

2013

61

66

2014

62

66

2015

60

65

2016

61

66

2017

61

66

2018

61

66

2019

61

65

2020

61

66

2021

62

64

2022

61

66

In particular, the retirement rate of the elderly is declining

Across all age groups surveyed by Gallup, the proportion of retired adults has declined in the 21st century. The largest declines were in the 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and 70-74 age groups. The proportion of retired adults was at least 5% lower in each group.

Even though early retirement has become a popular concept, young adult retirement rates have not increased. In fact, between 2002 he’s 2007 and he’s 2016 he’s 2022 he’s decreased among adults in their 40s.

Data source: Gallup (2022).

Year

Turnover rate, 2002-2007

Percentage of retirees, 2008-2015

Turnover rate, 2016-2022

change

40-44

2%

1%

1%

(1%)

45-49

3%

Four%

2%

(1%)

50-54

9%

7%

6%

(3%)

55-59

19%

15%

11%

(8%)

60-64

41%

39%

32%

(9%)

65-69

76%

71%

70%

(6%)

70-74

88%

80%

83%

(Five%)

Over 75 years old

89%

89%

88%

(1%)

Retirement lasts longer in the US and around the world

The amount of time people spend in retirement has increased dramatically over the past 50 years. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), as of 1970, a U.S. man was expected to retire 12.8 years her and a woman 16.6 years her. By 2020, those numbers had risen to 18.6 for him and 21.3 for women.

The same is true internationally. Among the 38 OECD countries, the average expected retirement age in 1970 was 12 years for men and 16 years for women. By 2020, the average retirement age was 19.5 years for men and 23.8 years for women.

However, in recent years, the expected length of retirement in the United States has decreased. The average retirement age in the US peaked in 2012 for men and 2005 for women. The following shows how expected retirement periods have changed in the US and around the world.

Data source: OECD (2023).

Year

Expected Retirement Years in the United States, Men

U.S. Women’s Expected Retirement Years

Expected retirement years for men, OECD countries

Expected Retirement Years for Women, OECD Countries

1970

12.8

16.6

12.0

16.0

1975

14.3

19.0

13.1

17.3

1980

15.0

19.2

14.0

18.7

1985

15.7

20.1

15.1

20.4

1990

17.0

20.6

16.1

21.3

1995

18.0

21.3

17.1

22.4

the year of 2000

18.2

21.6

18.1

23.7

Year 2005

19.4

23.0

18.8

23.6

2010

19.6

21.9

19.2

23.8

2011

19.9

22.3

19.2

23.7

year 2012

20.1

22.3

19.1

23.3

2013

20.0

22.6

19.1

23.4

2014

19.5

22.7

19.0

23.5

2015

19.6

22.8

19.3

23.7

2016

19.1

22.3

19.2

23.7

2017

18.7

21.9

19.0

23.7

2018

18.4

21.5

18.9

23.6

2019

18.2

21.1

18.9

23.3

2020

18.6

21.3

19.5

23.8

How do retirement periods vary by country?

Retirement periods for men and women vary greatly depending on where they live. In some countries the expected retirement age is more than twice as long as in others.

Indonesia has the lowest average expected retirement age for both men (11.5 years) and women (13.2 years). Luxembourg has the longest expected retirement, with an average of 24 years for men. The average age for women in Greece is 28.4.

America is at the bottom of the ranking. Of her 42 countries for which the OECD has data, the United States ranks 28th for men and 37th for women in expected retirement.

retire on your terms

No matter when you want to call it a career, planning for retirement is very important. By estimating your financial needs and continuing to save, you can make your retirement more comfortable.

A good general guideline for retirement savings is to save at least 15% of your income. If you start at 30 and plan to retire in your mid 60s, this works. If you start later, you may need to see if you can save more. Also, be sure to invest that money and use tax-advantaged retirement accounts such as:

The average American retires in their early 60s, but there are huge differences. Deciding when to retire is a personal and financial decision, but even if you are young, you are ready for retirement and should start thinking about it now.

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