The Waiting Game

Delaying retirement is a smart idea if you can swing it

Saving for retirement can be daunting. You can make it easier on yourself by maintaining your investments and making sure you save early and often. You can also do something that doesn’t sound so appealing: Delay your retirement.

Pushing back your retirement isn’t the most exciting plan, but it can help if you’re feeling like your savings are falling short. If you wait to retire, you’ll have additional time to save and give your investments extra time to grow. Even if the market is volatile, you’re still likely to come out ahead. Delaying retirement also means more years in the workforce, which means retirement will be less expensive. As USA Today notes, if you planned on retiring at 60 and wait until your 65 — with the idea that you’ll likely live until 85 or so — you now only have to save for 20 years, not 25. Breaking that down in terms of money, if you planned on spending about $50,000 per year in retirement, waiting those extra five years will reduce your savings goal by about $250,000.

Delaying retirement is also a good way to make sure you hit Social Security’s Full Retirement Age (FRA). If you claim Social Security before your FRA — 62 for everyone — you’ll get hit with early filing fees and you’ll receive less money each month. If you wait until past your FRA, your checks will be bigger. And the longer you wait, the bigger the amount becomes (until you hit 70, when you must start taking benefits).

If delaying retirement is feasible for you, it’s a great way to ensure your golden years will be as comfortable as possible.

Chris O'Shea

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