There's a 50/50 chance retirement will come sooner than you think.

It may be time to plan for early retirement.


In the past, retirement planning was more about setting a date than saving dollars. That’s because previous generations knew they could count on several reliable sources of income—company pensions, home equity, high-interest CDs, Social Security and more—to fund a comfortable retirement. These days however, it’s a different story.

Many are pushing back their retirement dates—often indefinitely—to help reduce the risk of running out of money. In fact, a U.S. Census Bureau data shows that the average retirement age in the United States is about age 63.1

However, when you expect to retire doesn’t always match up to when you actually retire. In fact, you may have to retire earlier than you think.

Why you may wind up retiring earlier and not later.

Research suggests you might not want to count on being able to postpone retirement. According to a 2017 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) survey, approximately half of all current retirees (48%) left the workforce earlier—not later—than they had planned. And, in many cases, their departure was due to reasons beyond their control.2

The EBRI survey highlights several common reasons for retiring earlier than planned:

  • 41%–due to health problems or personal disability
  • 26%–due to changes at their company
  • 24%–due to being able to afford to retire earlier
Start calculating now.

Given that there is nearly a 50–50 chance that retirement will come earlier than you expect, it’s important to start planning as soon as possible. This can help you to know exactly how much money you’ll have to work with and how much more you will need to save in order to feel secure.

At New York Life, we have a host of helpful online resources available, including a retirement savings calculator that helps project when you will have enough money to retire, a living expense calculator that estimates retirement costs, and a savings longevity calculator that helps determine how long your existing savings will last.

Another possible resource is a New York Life agent. Since online tools can only take you so far,3 a knowledgeable, local agent can work with you—and any of your other financial representatives—to create a customized strategy that helps you make the most out of every retirement asset.

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Further Reading
  • 1”Average Retirement Age in The United States,” the balance, January 3, 2018. https://www.thebalance.com/average-retirement-age-in-the-united-states-2388864
  • 2“2017 RCS Fact Sheet #2 Expectations About Retirement,” 2017 Retirement Confidence Survey, Employee Benefit Research Institute and Greenwald & Associates, March 21, 2017. https://www.ebri.org/pdf/surveys/rcs/2017/RCS_17.FS-2_Expects.Final.pdf
  • 3The results and explanations generated by these calculators may vary due to user input and assumptions. New York Life Insurance Company does not guarantee the accuracy of these calculators, results, explanations, nor applicability to your specific situation. We recommend that you use these calculators as a guideline only, and that you ultimately seek the guidance of an experienced professional.