The average retirement age has risen from 62 to 64 for men and from 60 to 62 for women.
The average age of retirement for men and women is on the rise. While the prolonged economic downturn has compelled many to delay their retirement, there are other factors at work, according to a new analysis of Census Bureau data by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
Over the past two decades, the average age of retirement, which is defined as the age at which the labor force participation drops below 50 percent, increased from 62 to 64 for men, and from 60 to 62 for women.Changes in Social Security benefits have been one incentive to remain on the job. The longer one delays their retirement, the larger the benefit. Conversely, if a worker retires as early as age 62, their benefits could be reduced by as much as 30 percent, according to the SSA website.
There has also been a shift from traditional defined benefit pension plans to riskier 401(k)s. Workers covered by 401(k) plans retire on average a year or two later, the CCR report states. Employers have also cut back on retiree health insurance, another incentive to keep working until the age of 65 when they qualify for Medicare.
Better education and improved health and have also played significant roles in raising the retirement age, the study found. Life expectancy for men at 65 has increased about 3.5 years since 1980. In addition, jobs are less strenuous and physically demanding and put less strain on older bodies.
Women present unique challenges in determining the average retirement age. Their societal roles and participation in the workplace changed radically over the 20thcentury. Many must work longer because they generally earn significantly less money than men, and thus retire with less."Wives,” the report states,” on average are three years younger than their husbands, and husbands and wives like to coordinate their retirement. If wives wait to retire until age 62 to qualify for Social Security, that pattern would push husbands' retirement age toward 65."