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5 Reasons Not To Retire Before 66

5 Reasons Not to Retire Before 66

“With the duckets that I now have safe, I think I will retire at 66 years of age, praise God, in good health.”
— Winslow Homer

Famous American landscape painter Winslow Homer planned to retire at age 66 because he felt he had accumulated sufficient funds for retirement. That’s actually a bit later than the average American retires. Our average retirement age was recently 63. If you’re thinking of retiring in your early 60s, think your situation through carefully, because there are lots of reasons not to retire before age 66.

Two signposts at intersection - one says now and one says later
Image source: Getty Images.

Here are some of those reasons.

Reason No. 1: To keep boredom at bay

Many of us are eagerly looking forward to retiring and not having so much to do. It might, therefore, surprise you to learn that many retirees find themselves bored. A 2014 MassMutual survey found that 10% of retirees found themselves lonely, bored, with a lost sense of purpose, and/or depressed in retirement. (Boredom isn’t the norm, though: Fully 72% of respondents reported feeling quite happy or extremely happy in retirement.)

If you’re the kind of person who enjoys the routine of getting up and going to work each day and you enjoy your job, as well, you might do well to just keep working for more years.

Reason No. 2: To play it safe

Another reason to not retire too early is if you’re risk-averse. By delaying retirement you can also reduce risk — such as the risk of running out of money late in life, the risk of getting hit with an unexpected financial curveball when you don’t have your current income to help you deal with it, and so on. The more you’re able to save for retirement, the better you’ll be able to deal with any unexpected financial needs that life throws your way, such as a costly health crisis or a sudden need to help out your child.

two fingers with sad faces drawn on them, in front of blurry dollar bills
Image source: Getty Images.

Reason No. 3: Because you can’t afford to retire before age 66

For many people, the decision to work at least until age 66 is perfectly clear: They simply can’t afford to retire earlier. After all, if you retire at age 62 and live to age 95, an age that plenty of people will reach, you’re looking at a retirement that’s 33 years long. You’ll probably need a lot of money socked away for that.

According to the 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, about 24% of workers said they had less than $1,000 saved for retirement, and a whopping 55% had less than $50,000. Only 20% had socked away $250,000 or more. That suggests that millions are not likely to have enough to retire on at 66 — or even when they’re older. Consider, for example, the well known “4% rule,” which suggests that you might withdraw about 4% of your nest egg annually in retirement (adjusting for…

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