Boston College research: average retirement age affected by a perfect storm of events.

When the retirement gurus speak, do we really listen? Or have we become so inundated  with blizzards of information, and bytes of Big Data about what we should, or should not be doing, that we simply turn our backs on the messaging?

Warren Buffett would be proud…

Sure, we all know that by working longer, we can really rack up the Social Security payments by a factor 8%…per every years we delay claiming our benefits. That means if you can hold off taking Social Security until you’re 70, you nailed a 76 percent increase in your monthly benefit—even Warren Buffet would give you a nod on that investment choice.

In a sense, yes, those fixed income streams coming from Uncle Sam the result of a clear understanding on how the Social Security law can work in your favor.

A crucial decision when we’re in our 50’s and 60’s.

“To continue working, or not to work.”  That is the question of our age, and has remained so the 1980s when we were starting to work longer. Make no mistake, if you want to slide across the retirement threshold with your portfolio anchored to hefty Social Security payments, then continue to work-on.

A few of the ‘disrupters’ affecting the average retirement age.

It’s a fact that older men, after WWII, were exiting the workforce because Social Security offered them a good reason to; this, plus the abundance of the defined benefit plan (pensions) back then made the decision a credible choice.

What’s more, when Medicare was introduced in 1965, along with a dramatic increase in Social Security benefits in 1972, that signaled “the final leg of the decline in workforce activity of older men.”

Furthermore, because Social Security benefits were made available at age 62, that was another factor for men 55-64 to exit the labor force.

The ‘perfect storm’ for increasing one’s working years…

Of course, the mechanics behind our retirement plans changed immensely with the shift to the defined contribution plans and their and their many choices: 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA and ROTH IRAs, to name a few.

On average, studies have shown that those of us harboring 401(k) plans end up retiring a year or two later “on average than similarly situated workers” blessed with receiving a pension.

In addition, Social Security made huge changes to challenge us to work…just a little bit longer. Such delays, as mentioned earlier, translate to mega bucks between the official Retirement Age (62) and the age of 70.

Better health = more demands on our financial resources.

Thanks to the advances in medicine, we simply are living longer. Since 1980, the life expectancy of a 65 year old male has gone up by about 4 years.  Another factor, for some, is the fact they’re enjoying a “higher socioeconomic status,”

What’s more, and because the workforce has moved away from manufacturing—less physical jobs—the there is, frankly, “less strain on older bodies.”

Pinpointing that elusive Average Retirement age number…

Drilling-down on the big data about the labor force, the Center for Retirement Research, Boston College, offers it’s take what the average retirement age is in the U.S.

First, the define that age as the point where the “labor force participation” careens below 50 percent. So, that means in 2013 (drum roll) the average retirement age came in at 64 for men…62 for women.

In the latter case, coming up with an average age for women is complicated; this, because their time in the workforce can be affected by a number of events and choices.

The closer you get to setting your retirement date, it’s important to get the advice and guidance from experienced elder law professionals. Contact us to begin your conversation about

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