Full retirement age is now 66 or 67, depending on the year you were born. But a recent survey revealed that one in four workers don’t plan to retire until after their 70th birthday. While some people may choose to work longer out of a desire to stay active, others may have to do so in order to keep up with their expenses. If you’re thinking about putting off your retirement, here’s a look at some of the pros and cons of working until age 70.
Pro: Working Longer May Be Good for Your Health
Getting older takes a toll on you physically. But according to one study, working longer could extend your life span. Researchers at Oregon State University found that putting retirement off for just one year after turning 65 could reduce the risk of dying by 11%.
Sticking with the 9-to-5 until age 70 doesn’t mean you’ll live forever. But it could give you more time to enjoy your golden years.
Pro: You Can Squeeze More Money Out of Social Security
With Social Security, you can get more bang for your buck by waiting until age 70 to begin drawing your benefits. If your normal retirement age is 66 but you wait until you turn 70 to start taking your Social Security benefits, you could receive 132% of the monthly amount you’re eligible for. That’s a nice financial incentive for working a little longer.
Pro: You Can Continue Growing Your Nest Egg
Working until age 70 could be a smart move if you want to add more money to your retirement fund. If you have a 401(k), for example, you could continue making contributions up to the annual limit, along with catch-up contributions while you’re employed. You could also defer triggering required minimum distributions from an employer-sponsored plan.
If you’ve got a traditional IRA, you can make new contributions until age 70 1/2. At that point, the required minimum distribution rule would kick in. With a Roth IRA, however, you have the advantage of being able to save indefinitely.
Con: Your Savings May Still Come Up Short
Continuing to earn a paycheck may help you out if you want to save more for retirement. But it may not do you any good if you end up having to spend a lot of money to counter a rising cost of living. Healthcare expenses in particular can take a big bite out of your savings.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the average 65 to 74-year-old spends 12.2% of their income on healthcare each year. By the time they turn 75, medical expenses eat up nearly 16% of their income. At the same time, housing costs also creep up, moving from 32.4% of income in the late 60s and early 70s to almost 37% by age 75 and beyond.
Working longer also doesn’t counter the effects of inflation. When inflation rises, it has the ability to significantly erode retirement savings. According to one report, retirees can lose as much as $94,770 over the course of a 20-year period if the annual inflation rate is 2.5%.
The Bottom Line
If you’re on the fence about whether you should work until you turn 70, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of delaying your retirement can guide you toward making the decision that’s best for you. Remember that while having extra income can certainly be helpful, you’ll have less time to enjoy your retirement.