The average retirement age is defined as the average age at which individuals within a certain group or demographic retire from employment. This age is not a stable number that remains the same over generations. Instead, it changes, varying according to trends in employment, retirement, and life expectancy. For example, in the United States, the average age at which individuals retired in 1910 was 74 years old. In 2002, however, the retirement age was 62.
Many people confuse the average retirement age with the normal or full retirement age. In the United States, the full or normal age of retirement is the age at which a person can begin to receive full Social Security benefits. This is different from the average age at which citizens of the United States retire.
A full range of factors may affect the average age of retirement. Ages may differ between men and women. They may also differ according to race, income bracket, place of residence, and occupation. The average retirement age of employees of private companies may differ from the average age at which government employees retire from service.
The average retirement age can be important in analyzing trends in the workforce. It may be used in making predictions concerning the workforce in years to come. An understanding of this age may also help employers in creating benefits programs for their employees.
On a personal level, this age can be important for figuring out the amount of money an individual will need to retire. For example, someone who belongs to a demographic in which the average retirement age is 60 and has a life expectancy of 83 will need to plan to have enough money to last for at least 23 years of life after retirement. It is important to keep in mind, however, that no one is required to retire at the average age; many workers retire earlier or later.
This number may also be important in terms of retirement benefits. If the average age of retirement in a certain occupation is 60 and the age of eligibility for retirement benefits is 62, a worker retiring at the average age may need to find a way of supporting himself until retirement benefits are available. In some situations, an employee retiring at the average age may be eligible to receive partial retirement benefits until she reaches the full or normal retirement age.