Retiring Earlier Than Planned: What Matters Most?

Feb 22, 2019 / Amanda Chase, Horsesmouth Assistant Editor

Many people have all the best intentions of working longer and delaying claiming Social Security. But more than a third of older workers retire earlier than planned. The question is, why? This Center for Retirement Research brief looks into the most common factors.

This study looks at: 1) the impact of unexpected changes in health, employment, family, and finances on early retirement; and 2) the prevalence of these shocks.

The findings suggest that:

  • Health shocks play the largest role, mainly because they are also widespread.
  • Job loss without finding a new job, while not as prevalent, is also important.
  • Family transitions have a modest impact, while financial shocks appear to have little effect.

A key caveat is that all the shocks combined explain only about a quarter of earlier-than-planned retirements, so clearly other factors are also at play.


This material is provided exclusively for use by individuals with an active license to the Savvy Social Security Planning Program. Use of this material is subject to the Social Security Planning Program Agreement and applicable copyright laws. Unauthorized use, reproduction or distribution of this material is a violation of federal law and punishable by civil and criminal penalty. This material is furnished “as is” without warranty of any kind. Its accuracy and completeness is not guaranteed and all warranties express or implied are hereby excluded.

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