The Average Retirement Age in 2023 for Men vs. Women

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Most people are aware of the gender-related wage gap. Women in 2022 earned just 82% of what men earned in the U.S. for similar jobs, according to statistics from the Pew Research Center. A Goldman Sachs report revealed that women earn 21% less over their lifetime than men. Yet, in spite of lower earnings, women in the U.S. actually retire two years earlier than men on average.

According to U.S. Census Bureau Data, the average retirement age for women in 2016 was 63, compared to 65 for men. Other sources, such as Forbes, quote the average retirement age at 65 for men and 62 for women as of 2021, which means women are retiring even earlier than men as time goes on.

A 2022 Gallup poll pegs the average age for retirement across genders at 61, which is up from age 57 in 1991. Another study, the Retirement Confidence Survey, found that the median retirement age for both men and women is 62, although many anticipate delaying retirement until age 65. While the ages vary slightly across these various studies, the trend remains the same: women and men are delaying retirement into at least their 60s.

Reasons People Delay Retirement

Many factors go into determining when you can retire, including healthcare costs. Some Americans wait until age 65 when Medicare will cover at least some of the medical costs. According to a report from Fidelity Investments, the average 65-year-old couple that retired in 2022 can expect to spend an average of $315,000 on healthcare through the duration of their retirement.

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It’s also important to keep in mind that if you delay retirement until Full Retirement Age or beyond, you can max out your Social Security benefits for increased income in your later years. FRA for anyone born in 1960 or later is 67 years old. If you wait until you are 70 to begin collecting Social Security, you can collect 132% of your FRA benefit amount.

Why Women Retire Earlier Than Planned

Some people, especially women, may intend to keep working into their late 60s or early 70s, but circumstances force an earlier retirement. According to the Goldman Sachs Retirement Survey & Insights Report, 60% of women retired earlier than they planned, and 66% said their retirement was for “reasons outside their control.”

These reasons include health, family care needs, and a lay-off or job loss. Roughly 75% of unpaid caregivers to spouses, aging parents, or other seniors are women, according to the senior care website A Place for Mom.

Another study from the Michigan Retirement and Disability Research Center at the University of Michigan, reported by GOBankingRates, found that early childhood trauma, ranging from childhood poverty to “negative exposures and unfavorable conditions” can lead to chronic disease, mental illness, obesity and even risky health behaviors like smoking, in later years. These conditions, in turn, can lead to early-than-planned retirement for men and women, alike.

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