The Most Popular Retirement Age In America

According to the US Census Bureau's Current Population Survey report,  69% of Americans retire by age 66 and 81% of Americans retire by age 69. Therefore, the most popular retirement age in America is between 66 and 69.

However, the most popular retirement age range is between 61-65, where 51% retire. The second most popular retirement age range is between 55-60 where 13% retire. The third most popular retirement age range is between 70-74 where 10% of retire. The fourth most popular retirement age range is between 80-84 where 5% of Americans retire.

Given the median life expectancy in America is only around 80, seeing that 5% of Americans retire between 80-84 is quite impressive!

By age 75, 89% of Americans have left the labor force thank goodness!

What age do most people retire in America? The Most Popular Retirement Age In America

It's surprising that less than 1% of Americans retire before age 50. Even though the most popular retirement age in America is between 61-65, I encourage everyone to try and achieve financial independence sooner with your one and only life.

The Secure Retirement Institute estimates the average American household has about $253,200. But most of that is owned by the wealthy.

The median holding is just $17,500, which matches up well with the Economic Policy Institute's estimate of $17,000 (from 2016). 75% of Americans have less than $100,000 saved.

The reason why most Americans are able to retire by 66 despite so little wealth is due to Social Security, a traditional pension, and retirement work plans.

SRI reports that some 41% of retirees have annual income less than $25,000. Meanwhile, of retirees with income over $50,000 a year, about 80% draw from a pension or retirement plan.

The key for many of us today is to build as large as possible after-tax retirement portfolio that produces enough passive income. Every bit of additional income counts because retirement benefits are declining.

The Average Retirement Age In America

We know the most popular age range to retire in America is between 61 – 65. However, the average retirement age is 61. But more than half of workers (54%) plan to keep working past age 65.2 

The reality is, in this new age, most Americans continue to earn supplement retirement income or generate passive income once they retire.

For example, after I retired at 34, I decided to take a year off work. After traveling around, I decided to focus on building this site. Now, Financial Samurai generates a healthy amount of supplemental retirement income. As a result, both my wife and I can remain stay at home parents to our two young children.

Median retirement account savings by age group - The Most Popular Retirement Age In America

Retirement Savings Is a Must

Unfortunately, virtually nobody under 40 today is going to have a traditional pension any more. And even if there was such a thing as a pension, with the typical American changing jobs every three years, there's no way today's workers will stay long enough to ever collect. Here is how to calculate the value of your pension if you are so luck to have one.

Therefore, the focus on retirement savings really needs to be on maxing out a 401K, IRA, and other pre-tax retirement plans while also saving an additional 20% or more in after-tax investment accounts.

For added security, it's wise to build multiple income streams to reduce concentration risk. There's not one person I know who retired before the age of 50 who doesn't have at least three income streams beyond a retirement plan.

Below are my multiple streams of income I've built after saving 50% – 80% of my after-tax income every year since 1999. My investment income streams allowed me to retire from Corporate America at age 34 and be a stay at home dad.

Financial Samurai Retirement Portfolio

Passive retirement income takes a long time to develop. Start early and often! You won't regret it a decade or two down the road. But you will regret blowing all your money on stupid things you don't need while you were young.

Work Part-Time To Boost Income

In addition to building after-tax investment income, Americans today have more opportunity than ever to work part-time to boost their main source of income or supplement their retirement income.

I'm a high school tennis coaching making $1,100 a month. But I used to also drive for Uber making anywhere between $1,000 – $2,000 a month. My wife has fantastic IKEA furniture assembly skills and can make $40/hour assembling furniture. The list of part-time work goes on and on if you really need more money in retirement.

Number of part-time workers in America - The Most Popular Retirement Age In America

The key to surviving retirement on a low income is owning a home debt free and having sufficient medical coverage. With health and living expenses taken care of, surviving off just $2,000 a month isn't so bad, even if you live in an expensive city like San Francisco. If you're fortunate enough to have children who still call you once in a while, they might even come to the rescue if things don't turn out as planned.

Although I left full-time work at age 34, I've never stopped really working. This website, Financial Samurai, has been my labor of love and creativity since 2009. Every week I've published three articles because I simply love to write. As a result, Financial Samurai has grown into one of the largest independently owned websites in the world with over 1.5 million pageivews a month and a nice flow of advertising revenue.

Almost every early retiree I know continues to work at something they love to do. Their focus simply shifts from something they're sick of doing to something that's much more interesting.

Good luck on your retirement journey. The best person to save you is yourself. There is no rewind button in life!

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About the Author:

Sam began investing his own money ever since he opened an online brokerage account in 1995. Sam loved investing so much that he decided to make a career out of investing. He spent the next 13 years after college working at two of the leading financial service firms in the world. During this time, Sam received his MBA from UC Berkeley with a focus on finance and real estate. was started in 2009. It is one of the most trusted personal finance sites today with over 1.5 million organic pageviews a month. Financial Samurai has been featured in top publications such as the LA Times and The WSJ. Check out more Top Financial Products. The Most Popular Retirement Age in America is a FS original post.