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Retirement is that one day in the future we all look forward to, when we’re work free, carefree and living life to its fullest. Retirement at age 65 is no longer the goal or even an option for most Americans. While it was once a target age, more Americans are needing to work past age 65 to have more time to earn and save. How do you know what age is right for you?

One major factor in making a decision on what age to retire can be medical benefits. Medicare coverage can start as early as the month you turn 65. Before age 65, medical insurance premiums are high, and being on a former employer’s COBRA plan can even be more costly. If there’s a gap between being employed and insured, and when Medicare starts, those years can extremely expensive, especially if coverage is denied.

For some, Social Security means retirement. But there’s no reason to associate accepting Social Security payments with the beginning of retirement. Social Security payments can begin as early as age 62, but payments will be reduced. Full retirement age for Social Security is 66 and will move to 67, and delaying the payments further until age 70 will further increase payments. So the longer you wait, the more benefits you’ll likely receive.

In addition to healthcare and Social Security, there are other factors to determine when retirement can comfortably happen. Bank account balances, 401k and IRA accounts as well as Roth IRA’s, plus any other regular expenses need to be taken into consideration.  It’s that full financial picture that dictates when you can retire comfortably. More and more people are needing to work much later, given the recent economic issues and unpredictability.

For those who are in their 30‘s and 40‘s, a retirement age may not be possible to determine just yet. Many things can change over the years, from inflation and economy,  to personal salary and medical situations. For those in the age group 55-65, a retirement age of 65 may be more of a reality, if there have been good earning years and careful long-term planning. Also, there’s a more solid picture of retirement account balances, Social Security benefits, medical costs and cost of living for those who are closer to retirement years.

These days, if you love your job and are making a good salary, you’re one of the lucky ones. Why retire if you don’t have to? Delaying Social Security payments will result in larger payments and your medical benefits will be stable. Working longer can also help maintain mental awareness, social life and activity level too. So what’s the best age to retire? It’s your call depending on your situation, but gone are the days where people are planning their retirement party at 65 years of age.

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