What Is the Average Retirement Age in the U.S.?

The average retirement age in the U.S. is 62 — a figure that’s been rising since the 1990s.
Profile photo of Josh Garber
Written by Josh Garber
Profile photo of Tina Orem
Edited by Tina Orem
Assistant Assigning Editor
Fact Checked

Many, or all, of the products featured on this page are from our advertising partners who compensate us when you take certain actions on our website or click to take an action on their website. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet, Inc. does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.

The average retirement age in the United States is 62, according to a 2024 MassMutual survey.  In 1991, it was 57; in 2002, it was 59, according to a 2022 Gallup poll.

When deciding on retirement, people consider various factors, such as how old they must be to enroll in Medicare, claim Social Security benefits, or take penalty-free distributions from their retirement accounts. Many consider several other factors, too, including anticipated lifestyle and expenses, health, qualification requirements for certain retirement benefits and how old they'll be when they feel prepared to retire.

Since 2012, the average retirement age in the U.S. has stayed relatively consistent, according to data from Gallup and MassMutual*



Get a custom financial plan and unlimited access to a Certified Financial Planner™

Custom financial plan tailored to your situation and goals
Access to a Certified Financial Planner™ via unlimited calls or messaging
Unbiased, expert financial advice for a low price.

NerdWallet Advisory LLC


Average Retirement Age in the U.S.

























What percentage of people retire at 65?

Americans are waiting longer to retire than they were two decades ago. For example, between 2002-2007, 41% of U.S. adults 60-64 and 76% of U.S. adults 65-69 were retired. However, between 2016-2022, 32% of U.S. adults 60-64 and 70% of U.S. adults 65-69 were retired, according to a 2022 Gallup survey.

In a 2021 survey from the Pew Research Center, 24% of nonretired U.S. adults age 50 or older reported having either delayed their retirement or considering it because of the pandemic


Financial losses from the Great Recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as increases in the full retirement age for Social Security benefits, are factors that may have reasonably contributed to delayed retirement.

Get even more financial clarity with the NerdWallet app
Track your budget and see all of your finances together in a single place.

How old do you have to be to retire?

For many Americans, a significant factor in deciding to retire is when they can claim certain retirement benefits. A series of windows open around 60, but it might pay to wait longer than that to retire.

Social Security

Most people can begin taking Social Security retirement benefits at 62. However, claiming Social Security at 62 means receiving significantly reduced benefits

Full retirement age, which is the age at which you’re entitled to 100% of your Social Security retirement benefit, varies by birth year. So waiting until after your full retirement age to claim Social Security retirement benefits could net you an even bigger check.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Did you know that Medicare Part B premiums are usually automatically deducted from your Social Security checks? Learn more about how much Medicare actually costs.

Full retirement age for Social Security

Year you were born

Full retirement age

If you start receiving benefits at 62, your retirement benefit is reduced by...

1943 through 1954




66 and 2 months.



66 and 4 months.



66 and 6 months.



66 and 8 months.



66 and 10 months.


1960 and later




Another vital retirement benefit for many Americans is Medicare, a federal government health insurance program for people 65 and older and younger people with certain illnesses or disabilities. You can enroll in Medicare three months before you turn 65 (earlier if you have a qualifying disability or disease).  

Distributions from retirement accounts

You can withdraw from 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts, penalty-free starting at age 59½. There are exceptions for certain qualifying disabilities, educational expenses and first-time homebuyers; otherwise, early withdrawals can mean paying a 10% tax


Alternatively, you can withdraw money that you put into a Roth IRA tax-free at any time. For instance, if you contributed $50,000 to a Roth IRA that has grown to $300,000, you could withdraw your original $50,000 without incurring any tax liability.

If you have a pension, check with your pension administrator to see when you can start to receive your retirement benefits.

Get even more financial clarity with the NerdWallet app
Track your budget and see all of your finances together in a single place.

Factors to consider before retiring

Deciding to retire is usually a very personal decision, and before you retire, you should consider the following factors:

  • Anticipated lifestyle and expenses. How much do you expect you’ll need to sustain your anticipated lifestyle in retirement? For instance, someone who plans to travel a few months out of the year in retirement may have very different expenses than someone who intends to stay in a town with a low cost of living.

  • Do you qualify for retirement benefits? If you expect to depend on Social Security and Medicare for most of your retirement benefits, ensure you are eligible for those programs first.

  • How will you spend your time? This is especially important if you plan to pursue expensive hobbies (such as travel or collecting cars) because you may need extra income.

  • Do you have the resources to retire? Our free retirement calculator can help you figure out how much you’ll need to save to have the retirement you want. 

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.
Nerdwallet advisors logo

Get a custom financial plan and unlimited access to a Certified Financial Planner™ for just $30/month.

    NerdWallet Advisory LLC