If you’re wondering if it’s possible to retire in the fifties, the answer is yes.
While the normal retirement age for most people usually means 65 or older, early retirement can give you more time to do things you enjoy or explore new interests. But it’s important to build a solid financial foundation before leaving your day job behind. Running the numbers can help with deciding if retiring in the fifties is a realistic goal. A financial advisor can help you get a realistic estimate of when you may be prepared to retire.
While the traditional retirement age is generally 60, there are legal reasons you may want to retire before that. For example, if you’re in a high-paying career and want to save more money for retirement, there’s nothing in the retirement rulebook that says you can’t retire at 50 years old. Some members of the FIRE (financial independence, retire early) movement aims to retire as early as 40. So it’s perfectly legal to retire in your mid-50s if that’s your goal.
Social Security guidelines:
If you’re retiring at 50, you may be in the minority. Most people retire at age 66 or 67—according to Social Security guidelines. If you choose to retire early, this means your retirement plan will look very different from most other people’s plans.
The good news is that retirement planning can help make sure your finances are taken care of for years after you stop working. The bad news is that it’s important to keep in mind that retiring in the fifties isn’t the norm for most people. If you’re going by the normal retirement age prescribed by Social Security, for example, that usually means waiting until you’re 66 or 67. And some seniors may choose to delay retirement to their 70s or simply keep working indefinitely.
Social Security retirement benefits are a critical part of your financial puzzle. These benefits are designed to provide monthly income in addition to any income you have from qualified retirement accounts, taxable investment accounts, annuities, or other sources.
You can receive Social Security retirement benefits at age 62 if you have worked at least 10 years and paid FICA taxes on enough wages to qualify for that amount. You must also have made sufficient contributions to your employer’s retirement plan(s) during your working career.
So you can retire at 50 and collect your Social Security contributions? Unfortunately, the answer is no. The earliest age for drawing social security pensions is 62 years. However, there is a catch. If you receive Social Security benefits before you reach statutory retirement age, your benefit amount will be reduced.
Your benefits may also be reduced if you start drawing benefits at age 62 but continue to work. So let’s say you retire from your full-time job at the age of 50 but want to work as a consultant. From the age of 62, you are entitled to a Social Security pension benefit, but your income from consulting work may affect your entitlement.
The downside of Social Security is that you may be rewarded with more benefits while you wait to file a claim. For example, if you wait until age 70 to join Social Security, you could receive a monthly payment equal to 132% of your regular benefit amount.
So if you ask, can I retire at 50? It is important to realize that you will not have Social Security as a source of income for several years. And if you choose to claim these benefits as soon as possible, they will be less than if you waited until full retirement age instead.
Planning for retirement at age 50 differs from planning for retirement at age 65 or older for one very important reason: you need more money to get through old age. If you retire at 65 and live to be 90, your money should last you 25 years.
However, if you retire at 50, your savings must now last you for 35 years. And that’s assuming you stay healthy and don’t eventually need long-term care, which could put a significant strain on your resources.
One of the costs to consider when retiring at 50 is health. Medicare can cover some healthcare costs in retirement, but you can’t enroll until you turn 65. This leaves a 10-year gap in which to budget for other healthcare expenses.
Retiring at 50 is noble, but achievable with the right financial planning. Think about it soon.