The 7 Most Popular Ages When Americans Plan to Retire

Advertising Disclosure: When you buy something by clicking links on our site, we may earn a small commission, but it never affects the products or services we recommend.

Older women outdoors
DisobeyArt /

Whether you are 42 or 62, chances are good you have spent a moment or two dreaming of the day you no longer have to work. But not everybody plans to retire at the same age.

Recently, the Insured Retirement Institute asked nearly 1,000 Americans between the ages of 40 to 73 who work full or part time when they plan to quit working. Following are their answers, starting with the least common.


senior worker
Iakov Filimonov /

In July, America’s oldest working nurse — 96-year-old Florence “SeeSee” Rigney — finally called it quits after 70 years on the job. In a MultiCare Health System profile, Rigney says:

“I don’t like to sit around — I’ve always got to have something to do. That’s my nature.”

Some people simply love to work. Others feel they have no choice but to continue, for financial or other reasons. Whatever the motivation, 4.4% of working respondents said they will continue to work until they go to that great retirement home in the sky.

For more on the benefits of this strategy, check out “5 Reasons You Should Work for as Long as You Live.”

Don’t know

Two women discuss a document
fizkes /

Deciding when to retire is never easy. After decades of getting a paycheck, it can be scary to imagine the flow of money slowing to a trickle.

For that reason — and, presumably, many others — 10.4% of survey respondents are unsure when they will retire.

Unsure of the right retirement age for you? Consider enrolling in the Money Talks News retirement course, The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need. This 14-week boot camp is intended for those who are 45 or older, and it can teach you everything from Social Security secrets to how to time your retirement.

After age 70

Senior worker in front of forklift
sirtravelalot /

Whether out of necessity or desire, 11.6% of survey respondents plan to retire after they reach the age of 70.

Of course, there is no guarantee you will be able to work so late into life. Your health might not allow for it, and it can become more challenging to find work when you are older.

Age 70

Senior worker
gpointstudio /

Among survey respondents, 13.5% plan to quit working at age 70. That can be a wise choice.

Working up to 70 allows you to delay claiming Social Security, which can pay off handsomely in terms of a larger monthly benefit for the rest of your life. Once you reach that age, there is no further increase in benefits to be gained by delaying any longer, which makes 70 the perfect age to start collecting Social Security.

For more on this strategy, check out “7 Reasons Not to Take Social Security at Age 62.”

Ages 66 to 69

Senior man working in agriculture
aslysun /

In some ways, this age category is the “sweet spot” for retirement: You’re not retiring too early, but you also are not pushing retirement into your later years, when working might become more challenging.

Many survey respondents agree, with 14.2% saying they plan to retire during the years when they are age 66 to 69.

At 65

Senior worker
stockfour /

This is the age most people probably view as the “traditional” time to retire. Among survey respondents, 16.3% plan to put away their pencils, hard hats, or chalk and erasers at this age.

Prior to 65

Older woman working
Vane Nunes /

Sometimes, it seems like America is a land of workaholics. But scratch a little below the surface, and you may discover a beach bum just itching to break out.

A whopping 29.6% of survey respondents plan to retire earlier than 65. That is probably sooner than most experts would say is prudent. But why not? After all, you only live once.

And if you discover you have made a mistake by retiring early, the choice is not irrevocable. Learn the signs that it might be time to return to work in “8 Signs That It’s Time for You to Unretire.”

Get smarter with your money!

Want the best money-news and tips to help you make more and spend less? Then sign up for the free Money Talks Newsletter to receive daily updates of personal finance news and advice, delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our free newsletter today.