Episode 10: What is My Retirement Age?

Thank you for joining me for Episode 10 of my Money Wisdom Question Series, where I film answers to common financial and retirement investment questions in 2 minutes or less.

The question I’m answering today is “When is my retirement age?” or “What is my retirement age?”

It really depends on what you mean. Some people when they ask that question, they mean well “What’s my retirement age for Social Security?” Others they might work for a company or a municipality or state that has a pension plan and they’re asking, “What is my retirement age when it comes to that pension plan?” Let’s talk about pensions and Social Security. Then we’ll talk about if you’re asking the question because you wonder if you’ve saved enough.

Social Security:

If you were born after 1954 your Social Security retirement age, your full retirement age, is 67. That doesn’t mean you have to wait until you’re 67 to collect Social Security. You can collect it as early as age 62 and as late as age 70. Anywhere between 62 and 70 you can trigger Social Security if you’ve earned a Social Security benefit.

Pensions:  

Pensions work differently. My son works for the federal government. He’s in the Marine Corps. When he has 20 years of service, he can trigger a pension. Sometimes if you work for the state and you work for what’s called a hazardous job, maybe a state trooper or Department of Corrections officer, you might have a 20-year trigger. Once you have 20 years of service, you can trigger that pension. For most people that work for companies or other institutions, the normal retirement age is 65 for your pension, but you don’t necessarily have to wait until 65. You want to check your documents because you might be able to retire early and collect that benefit or just take a reduced benefit.

Now all of this needs to be factored into other money you have saved and how much money you want in retirement.

Another thing that’s very important to remember about pensions is that you can reduce your pension a little bit and have a survivor benefit on there. My wife’s name is Wendy. If I had a pension, I could get let’s say $5,000 a month or I can take $4,500 a month. When I die, if I die before Wendy does, she gets a benefit that continues to last even though I’ve died.

Conclusion:

A lot of different questions here, but the typical and most popular question we get is “What is my retirement age?” or “When do my retirement benefits kick in?”. It depends on if we’re talking about Social Security or pensions. One last caveat here is if you’re relying on your savings for retirement income you can trigger that at any time. Now you’ve got until age 59 ½ if it’s a qualified plan, but you can trigger that at any time.

What’s really important is that you get a full retirement income analysis or an income projection. I would suggest using a fiduciary to do that. Then you know they’re acting in your best interest.

Thanks for joining me and I hope you found this information helpful!

P.S. If you enjoyed this topic and you want to hear more, you’ll love this podcast episode I recorded where I talk about a similar subject.

P.P.S. Feel free to submit questions here for a chance to have them answered!