6 Reasons Americans Are Fast-Tracking Their Retirement

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After more than a year of inflation and other turmoil, many Americans appear to be putting their retirement plans on hold, according to a new survey.

On average, workers now say they plan to retire at the age of 64, up from 62.6 in 2021, according to a survey of 2,381 adults for Northwestern Mutual’s 2022 Planning & Progress Study.

However, not everyone has given up on dreams of early retirement. In fact, 15% of survey respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic has motivated them to retire sooner than they previously had envisioned.

Following are the most commonly cited reasons among all age groups for planning to leave the workforce early.

5. Work situation has changed (tie)

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People moving up their target retirement age for this reason: 22%

Sometimes, we choose early retirement. But in other cases, the end of our career is chosen for us.

Nearly one-quarter of survey respondents said they are moving up their retirement date because they were laid off or experienced another change in their work situation.

If you no longer love your job but want to keep working, check out “20 Great Part-Time Jobs for Retirees.”

5. Offered an incentive to retire earlier due to the pandemic (tie)

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People moving up their target retirement age for this reason: 22%

During the pandemic, many companies had to pull back as the economy quickly sank into recession. Rather than engaging in mass layoffs, some of those businesses offered incentives to workers to get them to voluntarily leave the workplace.

Given today’s worker shortages, it’s likely some companies now rue that decision.

4. Focusing on hobbies/priorities outside of work

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People moving up their target retirement age for this reason: 28%

Work provides a sense of purpose and even fun for millions of people. But for millions of others, it is simply a drag.

That may be why more than one-quarter of survey respondents want to retire early so they can focus on more rewarding hobbies and other pursuits without being weighed down by their 9-to-5 work obligations.

Curious as to how retirees will use that extra time? Read “8 Activities People Dream of Doing in Retirement.”

3. Being able to afford to retire earlier

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People moving up their target retirement age for this reason: 32%

Surprisingly, Northwestern Mutual found that a lot of Americans both increased savings and decreased debt levels during the pandemic.

That has left some of them in a better position financially, and that may account for why they feel able to leave the workforce early.

2. Realizing that a personal mission is more important than saving more

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People moving up their target retirement age for this reason: 34%

Money is important. We need it to feed and clothe ourselves, and to put a roof over our heads.

But few of us would contend that money is the most important thing in life. Among survey respondents, more than one-third said they will retire early because they have a personal mission that is a higher priority than adding more nickels and dimes to their nest egg.

1. Wanting to spend more time with loved ones

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People moving up their target retirement age for this reason: 44%

Our time on this earth is relatively brief. The window of opportunity to spend with loved ones is even shorter.

As the old cliche goes, nobody says on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent a few more hours in the office.” Spending time with loved ones is the top reason people cite for wanting to retire early.

Learn how you can retire early

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If you have dreams of retiring early, start to make them happen today. Enroll 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.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson is your guide for the course. After completing the lessons, you’ll be able to approach your retirement years with far less stress and a lot more confidence.

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