Here’s When Most Americans Start Planning for Retirement

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Multiple generations of workers
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Today’s average retiree got serious about prepping for their golden years much later than you might think, according to a survey of nearly 4,500 adults by New York Life.

On average, retirees say they started planning for retirement at age 42. Such procrastination is a regret for nearly half of those retirees, according to the survey results.

In fact, 46% say they wish they had started getting ready for post-work life at a younger age. On average, these folks wish they had started preparing way back when they were 30.

The good news is that today’s workers may be learning — at least a little — from their elders’ mistakes.

Among those who have not yet retired but are now actively getting ready for their golden years, retirement planning began at an average age of 34. Those extra eight years of preparation can make a huge difference, particularly in terms of how big a nest egg workers can grow before they retire.

In fact, millennials and members of Generation Z are starting to prepare for retirement at a much earlier age than members of other age cohorts who are still working.

Among those who have not yet retired but have started the planning process, on average, millennials began preparing for retirement at around age 29 while members of Generation Z started preparing about halfway between ages 22 and 23.

That compares favorably with baby boomers and Generation X, generations whose still-working members report that they started to prepare on average at ages 43 and 37, respectively.

Still, the percentage of workers overall who have started to prepare for retirement remains relatively small, with 24% now concretely planning for retirement and 18% making it a top priority.

Among those who have not yet retired, 34% have not even begun thinking about retirement.

For more on getting ready for your golden years, check out “Want a Happy Retirement? Do These 3 Things First.”

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