At some point most people will stop working and begin to transition into our second act. You will have time and freedom of choice to do what you want to. Most people look forward to the day when we don’t have to wake up to the alarm clock and go to work anymore.
Even though the ‘early retirement’ concept has no doubt existed for a long time, we each have a slightly different view of what retirement will be.
Many just jump at the chance to retire early. Age 66 is not necessarily the perfect retirement age for everyone. Here are some advantages of delaying retirement to consider before saying goodbye to that steady paycheck:
More Social Security benefits
The benefit of waiting until your full retirement age is that you won’t face a reduction in benefits; rather, you’ll get to collect your base payment amount in full. Filing early, on the other hand, will lower your benefits for life. For every year between your full retirement age and 70 that you delay, your payout will grow about 8% larger. For example, If your full retirement age is 66, your full monthly benefit amount is $2,000. If you postpone those benefits past age 66, you can raise them by 8% a year up until age 70. Wait long enough, and you might turn $2,000 a month into $2,640. It makes sense to wait until 70 to collect the bigger benefit, particularly if you have a spouse who will prosper from a boosted survivor benefit.
More savings and less expenses
One of the problems early retirement is that doing so not only gives you fewer working years to save, but also increases the number of years your fixed savings will need to cover. The later you retire, the fewer years you’ll need to withdraw from those accounts and the less likely you’ll draw them down to zero.Also, once you’re over 50, you are eligible to save more of your income in retirement accounts by contributing an additional $5,500 in “catch-up contributions” each year and an extra $1k to your IRA.
Extended health care expenses
Health insurance coverage is another reason to not retire early. If you have generous health benefits through your job and you keep working a few more years, you can keep them, saving money. One of the biggest expenses many retirees have is paying for health insurance before they qualify for Medicare at age 65 so waiting until at least 65 can save you a lot of money in premiums.
More home equity
Having a home paid off is one of the best assets to have in retirement since housing is most people’s biggest expense. Working a few more years to get your mortgage paid off could be well worth it so you don’t have to write that big check in retirement. Also, as a last resort, the equity can also be used for income through a reverse mortgage.
Possibly higher pension benefits
If you’re lucky enough to work for an employer that still has a pension plan, you may be getting a higher pension for each year you continue to work. Pensions are calculated based on pay and years of service, so you may get a bigger payout by working a few more years.
People live longer these days
If you’ve managed to reach 65 without suffering a terminal illness, you’ll probably live considerably beyond 80. According to StatsCan, a 65-year-old man can expect to live to 83; a 65-year-old woman can look forward to blowing out the candles on her 86th birthday. And remember — those are averages. Half of retirees live longer, some much longer.
What will you do during retirement?
There’s a reason that Warren Buffett still goes to work every day. A surprising number of people find that they actually miss their jobs after they retire, either because they enjoyed their work or a big part of their social life revolved around the office water cooler. Retirement is a long-term endeavor that could last 20 or more years. Having reached this ultimate goal, you do not want to find yourself bored or unfulfilled. Also, with more and more people postponing retirement, it is possible that most of your friends are not retired yet. It’s like a kid going to a friend’s house and being told that the friend has chores to do and can’t come out to play for another 10 years. If you haven’t a clue how you’ll spend your time — and with whom — after you leave the workforce, stay on the job until you do.