There are a lot of questions that come up when retirement planning, all of them are important, and all of them are unique, but of all the questions there is one that really cuts through all of the intricacies of retirement to get to the heart of every investor's concern: When can I retire?
A new study released the answer to this question in a global sense, literally. Aperion Care mapped out average retirement ages for countries around the globe and America’s ranking isn’t incredibly impressive. The U.S. is tied for the third highest age, with Italy and Denmark, at age 66. That may seem high, as it’s often noted that the retirement age here is closer to 63, but the report took into consideration the many retirees who take on part-time work after that age.
It is only Iceland and Norway that work later into their lives than Americans, averaging 67 years of age for the milestone. On the other side of the spectrum are some familiar countries, Japan with 62 years old, Russia at 57 ½, and China at just 56 years old, almost an entire decade sooner than the U.S. The United Arab Emirates is the lowest on the list, with natives of the UAE having an official retirement age of only 49 years old.
Unless you plan on moving to one of those countries, let’s keep our focus on the retirement ages in America. That average represents a good bar for what’s happening in the country as a whole, but we all know that, as with almost all facets of financial planning, there are several personal variables that go into the age that you can retire. There are dozens of online calculators and tools that can give you some guidance on when your magic retirement age will be, but it boils down to three main variables.
How much money do you have?
How much money will you need?
And, most importantly, how do you feel about it?
That last question might not have been something that you expected. The first two are very quantitative, numbers-based questions that you would expect from a financial advisor, but as much as my role as a financial advisor is about numbers, it’s also about people, and ensuring that they have peace of mind. The amount of cushion that one person needs in order to feel good about their retirement can vastly vary from the amount another needs.
Just as your tolerance for risk should be considered when determining the way to invest your money and what vehicles are best suited for your financial plan, this risk tolerance should also be considered when accounting your retirement age. Working another year, or two years, is sometimes incredibly beneficial in having a worry-free retirement.
After all, if you retire early, but are afraid to spend money to enjoy your retirement because you aren’t confident you have enough, what was the point of retiring anyway? Before you set your retirement age, make sure you have discussed all three of those questions with your financial advisor, and have a confident answer to all three.