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When is the Best Time to Retire

Simple! The ideal retirement age is 40! Retiring at 40 would be nice but for most of us not realistic. Well, if I stayed in the military I could have retired near that age! I was in the Navy from 1966-1970 and couldn't wait to get out. Now I look back and see the benefits if I had stayed in. Hindsight! Ugh! I was contacted recently on Social Media by someone I was in the Navy with but we went separate ways when we were discharged. It turned out he did the smart thing and went back in. Now he is getting a nice retirement. Good decision on his part!

So for the rest of us, when is the best time to retire? Good question.

deciding retirementThe ideal retirement age has always been seen as 65. After all, that is when you are eligible for Medicare. A few of many factors that help determine when you retire are:

  • When do you want to retire?
  • When can you afford to retire?
  • Do you like your job and would rather stick with it?
  • If a couple, when will your spouse be able to retire?
  • Do you need full Social Security or can you get by with less?

Obviously the answer is different for everyone. My wife Peggy and I gave all of this much thought. We decided she could retire 3 years early even though there would be a 22.5% cut to her Social Security. Since my SS would be much larger we felt that I should retire at 66 when I could get 100% SS. When you retire early your SS is cut by 7.5% for each year you retire prior to 66. 62 is the earliest age to collect SS. Your SS would be cut by 30% at that age. Conversely, if you wait past 66 to collect Social Security then you can add an additional 7.5% of benefits for each year to a maximum of 130% at age 70. If I really liked my job I may have waited until 70 but... I no longer enjoyed going to work. It ceased being a fun place to work plus my commute was 90 minutes each way. 'Nuff said?

If you can afford to retire early that is great as long as you are aware that Medicare doesn't come into play until you are 65. Some employers, especially public service, will continue to cover you for a specified number of years after your early retirement. For the rest of us there is the open market. Your state of health can affect what that will cost.

Luckily we were able to retire exactly as planned. Paying off bills and saving money in retirement funds (more on those two things in later posts) enabled us to be home now watching TV and eating chips washed down with beer (black cherry soda for my wife). Please don't take me seriously. We actually gave those things up so we can have a “healthy” retirement! Well, maybe I still have a beer after cutting grass on a hot summer day.

So we are retired and living happy. I think we got it right! What was right for us anyway.

- 3 May 2018 at 08:54pm

Great article!
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