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The age you retire will affect your retirement income.

Deciding at what age you're going to retire is both a lifestyle and a financial decision. As you near retirement, it's important to explore the financial implications of your retirement timeline. Retiring early means you'll have more time to enjoy your new lifestyle, but fewer years to accumulate wealth. On the other hand, waiting to retire will give you more time to build your savings, but leaves you less time to enjoy a well-deserved reprieve from the working world.

Depending on the year you were born, your full retirement age (FRA) will be between ages 66 and 67. You may begin drawing Social Security as early as age 62, but by withdrawing before your FRA, your benefits will be permanently reduced by up to 30% of their full value. On the other hand, as shown below, delaying your retirement beyond your FRA increases your total benefit amount by 8% per year.

Another way your retirement age impacts your finances relates to health insurance coverage. If you plan on retiring early, you'll need an insurance plan for the years before Medicare benefits begin at age 65. If you've benefited from employer-subsidized health insurance, be prepared for more expensive annual premiums. For example, in 2016 the average annual health insurance premiums for an individual age 55-64 was $6,960 and the average deductible was $4,358 ($11,318 per year out-of pocket).

If your goal is to retire before age 65, make sure to plan now for health insurance needs. Even the best insurance may not cover all of your expenses in case of a medical emergency. Fortunately, you can take steps to help ensure you're protected no matter what life throws at you-which brings us to our second retirement reality.


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