What is the most popular retirement age? While the average is 63, it all depends on your, your needs, and your current situation

What is the most popular retirement age?

by | Nov 4, 2022

Making the decision on when to retire is a common problem for many and it’s rarely a decision that’s made overnight. As it’s a major life event we all must face at some point, it requires careful thought and planning before it takes place. While finances are known to play a big role, your health, your relationship and your current situation are all factors that come together in your decision on when to retire.

While some have the choice made for them as a result of ill health, redundancy or other reasons, those of us who do have a choice can do so whenever we have the financial means to do so. We’ll take a look into the most popular retirement ages for individuals across the country, and how to discover your own.

The different retirement ages across America

Americans today are working longer and retiring much later. According to Dr. Alicia Munnell from the Center for Retirement Research, the average retirement age for men has risen three years over the past three decades, while the average retirement age for women has risen slightly more than that, through the same period. 

She noted that:

“After a century of decline, work activity among older men stabilized in the 1980s and began to rise in the 1990s. This turnaround reflected changes in Social Security, retirement plans, the nature of work, education levels, and health coverage.”

This is based on data from CRR that also further noted details about the current retirement ages for different individuals.

For women and men:

The average retirement age for women in 2021 (the most recent data) was 62, with the average retirement age for men sitting at 65. This data actually shows a slight decline from previous years for women, with Dr. Munnell suggesting that women did dip down in terms of activity as a result of the pandemic.

On average in 2021, women retired at age 62, while men's average sat at 65

For varying education levels:

Data showed that Americans with higher levels of education attainment tend to retire at a later age than those with just a high school degree, with male college graduates retiring three years later than those with only high school diplomas. This is reflected in women too, however is less clear as a result of women entering the workforce in the latter half of the 20th century. 

On average, male college graduates retire at the age of 65.7, with high school graduates retiring at the age of 62.8. 

But if you’re wondering why the big difference? CRR reports that people with less education actually are generally worse in health and are therefore more likely to retire due to health issues. We do wonder if this has anything to do with the level of stress associated with trying to make a living and achieve a sense of purpose without it, especially in the cut-throat workplaces we see today.

Overfall, the average U.S. retirement age sits at 63. 

Factors that affect your retirement age

Despite the average retirement ages, your decision on when to retire will depend on many other factors, including:


The average Social Security monthly retirement benefit is just over $1.5k. For most of us? That’s barely enough to cover living expenses, which is why retirement savings are so important before retirement. You need a nest egg to help you retire when you want and to fall back on if there’s a reason to stop working. Without a nest egg? Many lower their standard of living once they no longer bring home a regular paycheck. Which is not exactly how any of us would like our new phase of life to pan out… 


On the topic of how you’d like your new phase of life to pan out: it’s important to consider what your desired lifestyle is after retirement as it’ll affect how much money you need saved. If you want to travel in retirement? You’ll need a larger balance in your savings than someone who plans to stay in the local area. If you want to extend your family with a fur-baby? You’ll need to factor in the amount you’ll need to support them, on top of yourself.

Your lifestyle in retirement will influence which retirement age is best for you, and how much you'll need to save


As noted earlier, your location will impact your retirement age, due to differing costs of living. If you live in an area with a high cost of living, you’ll need more money to retire comfortably. However, if you’re thinking of relocating to a less expensive area, you may be able to retire sooner. 


As your health has a big impact on your ability to work, retirement can depend on your health greatly. It’s not always as you may expect, though. While some with debilitating health issues won’t be able to continue work for as long as others, some are actually able to work as long as they like as a result of working from home or choosing more flexible jobs. 

The most popular questions associated with retirement age

When it comes to retirement age, there are still so many questions people have. We've done our best to answer just a few of the most popular ones.

“What age is considered early retirement?”

The traditional age of retirement is 65, meaning that anything before this is considered early retirement. While you can start collecting Social Security benefits as early as 62, you won’t receive the full benefits available. But this will depend on the year of your birth. To find out how much your benefit will be reduced if you retire early, click here

“How old do you have to be to retire?”

Legally, there’s nothing saying you can’t retire at 55 or even 50. In fact, there’s movements such as FIRE (financial independence, retire early) which encourage you to retire as early as 40. However, to retire before 62 without financial strain, you’ll need to have comfortable savings or a beneficial legacy to leave behind. 62 is the limit for receiving any financial benefits, with 65 being the optimum age for retiring with full benefits. 

“Can I still make a living in retirement?”

You sure can! Earning extra income through retirement can be a really great way to ensure financial stability, keep up your lifestyle and to also ensure that you’re fulfilling a purpose and honoring your well-being even after normalized work is over.

There are so many ways to earn, whether that’s through investments, a side hustle, or even by selling your knowledge. If you’re looking for more details on how to earn money in retirement, explore our full blog page, filled with topics such as How to find a job after retirement and How to earn money in retirement: become a TikTok influencer.

However, do keep in mind that any work you do through retirement can impact certain pension payments. We think it may be worth it for a sense of purpose and the chance to make even more money than your payments would have allowed though!

While many can’t wait until retirement age when they can call it quits at their 9-5 and finally enjoy their lives, it’s important to consider when you should actually retire – based on your own personal experiences, income and more – before you do so. While the most popular retirement age is 63 (based on a national average), many will want to wait until they can receive their full benefits, with others opting for freedom even earlier. 

We find it’s best to plan out what you want retirement to look like for you to help you decide when the ideal time to retire is. If you’re looking for popular ways to have an amazing life after retirement? Read our blog here.