Planning the Right Time to Retire
Retirement is the point where an individual chooses to end his or her career and stop working. Most of the time people decide to retire when there is some other means to support them available without working. This can include public or private pension benefits. Other times, an individual’s physical condition is too debilitating, such as an accident or an illness.
In most countries, the age of retirement is somewhere between the age of 55 and 70 years old. In the United States, the normal age is 67 years old while early retirement is at the age of 62 years. In previous years the normal retirement age was 65 years old. However, as the age to receive benefits such as Social Security or Old Age Survivors Insurance has gone up slowly.
There are also certain positions that are not covered under Social Security or the same conditions.
• Public servants have their own pension programs and are not eligible for Social Security.
• When police officers retire, they receive half pay after 20 years of service or three fourths pay 30 years of service. Because of this, they often retire in their 40’s or 50’s.
• Military members can retire after 20 years of active duty, where they are then paid a retirement pay based on the number of years, final pay grade, as well as whatever retirement system they use
In the U.S., calculations for retirement benefits are based off of the average amount of earnings in a lifetime of work under Social Security. For most situations this is the average of the 35 years with the highest earnings. Low or no earning years may be counted in order to bring the total amount of averaged years to 35.
Depending on retirement age, it is possible to get a different amount of benefits monthly. This is based on life expectancy, meaning that the earlier the retirement age, the lower the monthly payments will be. Likewise, if benefits begin later, the monthly payment will increase not. If retirement is postponed till the age of 70, there will be an additional increase due to delayed retirement credits.
When deciding a retirement age, it is important to consider long term plans. While retirement and social security benefits do last until death, figuring out an appropriate age could mean the difference between a comfortable versus a difficult retirement. There is also the possibility of working past the full retirement age while receiving benefits which will later result in higher benefits later on.
Additionally, anyone planning to receive retirement benefits should also look into Medicare, which will provide medical insurance and prescription drug coverage after the age of 65.
More information and estimations can be found through the Social Security Administration, who provides services such as their Benefits Planner and other information.