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Many Americans are eager to retire. Yet one big concern about their golden years looms over them – whether or not they will have financial security.
The average age at which Americans say they plan to retire is 62, according to a recent survey from Natixis Investment Managers.
The anticipated retirement age, however, varied by generation.
The youngest cohort, Generation Y, currently ages 25 to 40, plans to retire at an average age of 59. For Generation X, now 41 to 56, the average age is 60. Baby boomers, meanwhile, who are currently ages 57 to 75, indicated they plan to work longer, with an average expected retirement age of 68.
That's as 83% of non-retired U.S. investors said they are confident they will be financially secure in retirement. That includes 88% of Gen Y, 82% of Gen X and 79% of baby boomers.
Even so, 41% of respondents said achieving financial security in retirement is "going to take a miracle," the survey found. That sentiment was highest among Gen Y, with 46%, and Gen X, 45%, while baby boomers came in with 30%.
While there is a general sense of confidence, the results show there are a number of questions people have with regard to retirement planning, said Dave Goodsell, executive director at Natixis' Center for Investor Insight.
Those questions include: When am I going to retire? How much money am I going to need? How long will the money need to last?
"There are a lot of things that cause nagging doubt for people," Goodsell said.
The survey included 750 U.S. investors who had a median of $450,000 in investable assets.
The U.S. results are part of a global survey of 8,550 individual investors. Notably, the average retirement age for that broader group around the world was also 62.
The U.S. results show the older people get, the more retirement is elusive, Goodsell said.
For baby boomers, the 68 number may also be prompted by a key threshold for Social Security, he said.
Age 62 is the year at which people first become eligible for Social Security benefits. However, by claiming early, they will receive permanently reduced monthly benefits. If instead they wait until full retirement age – up to age 67, depending on when someone was born – they will get 100% of the benefits they earned.
Research from the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College shows that Americans mostly tend to claim retirement benefits either around 62 or their full retirement age as defined by Social Security.
Delaying retirement past age 62 not only has advantages with regard to delaying Social Security benefits. It can also enable someone to wait until Medicare eligibility age – generally 65 – and continue to earn income.
Yet not everyone has a choice as to when they retire, which can happen unexpectedly due to unforeseen health or career circumstances, such as a late career layoff, Goodsell said.
The key to is to prepare for what all circumstances can bring.
"There's a lot that can be done to educate individuals on what their investment options are, how to go about planning for retirement and how to put the pieces together," he said.