When is the right age to retire?

Mar 20, 2023, 5:00 PM

A man walks past piles of garbage in Paris, Monday, March 13, 2023. A contentious bill that would r...

A man walks past piles of garbage in Paris, Monday, March 13, 2023. A contentious bill that would raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 64 got a push forward with the Senate's adoption of the measure amid strikes, protests and uncollected garbage piling higher by the day. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

(AP Photo/Lewis Joly)

SALT LAKE CITY — What is the best age to retire? 

Dave & Dujanovic are joined by Certified Financial Planner Shane Stewart with Deseret Mutual Benefit Administrators to discuss when to make that decision to retire.

Protests in France

The French government on Thursday forced through plans to raise the country’s retirement age from 62 to 64, sparking a protest movement, which started on Jan. 19, 2023, as reported by CNN.

Debbie said she would be mad too, if the government kept moving up the retirement age.

ABC News reporter Ines de La Cuetara reports from Paris:

“We’re seeing massive protests around the country, not just here in Paris, really around France. There were over 260 protests held [Thursday]. Over a million people participated,” de La Cuetara said. “The way these protests work, they’re rolling strikes. So it’s people who go on strike, and as they’re on strike, they also participate in these protests. At the end of every day, the unions vote on whether to extend the strike another day.

“Workers are outraged. Unions are outraged. The unions here [in France] are very powerful. They’re very organized. So they are determined to take to the streets for as long as it takes to get the government to budge here. But on the flip side, the French government has shown no indication that it is going to backtrack on this plan to raise the retirement age,” de La Cuetara said.

When is the right age to retire? Ask the expert.

“Just like the United States, France has a big math problem. Too many people are retiring. Too many people are collecting Social Security. In France, they call it the government pension,” Dave noted.

As a result of changes to Social Security enacted in 1983, benefits are now expected to be payable in full on a timely basis until 2037, when the trust fund reserves are projected to become exhausted, according to the Social Security website.

There are 50 million Americans collecting Social Security right now. A 150 million of us are paying into the system to support those 50 million Americans. Once those funds are gone, then you no longer have a chunk of money that you can draw from, then it is 100% paid for by taxes,” Dave said.

“So what is the best age to retire from a certified financial planner’s point of view?” Debbie asked Stewart.

“When you’re financially ready, but that’s a pretty complex answer,” he said. “The longer you can wait to retire, the better off you’ll be because you’re shortening the time that you’ll need to use your money in retirement.”

Stewart added in the past two decades normal retirement in the United States has increased from 62 for men and 59 for women to 65 for men and 62 for women.

“When it [Social Security] was instituted in 1934, if you were 65, you were expected to live seven years. Now, if you’re 65, you’re expected to live at least 20. And that’s where the mathematical problem happens with Social Security,” Stewart said.

The Greenspan commission

In 1983, a bipartisan commission was appointed by President Ronald Reagan and Congress, with Alan Greenspan as chairman, to map out changes needed to the Social Security system, which was in trouble – not unlike today’s trouble.

The Greenspan commission suggested many changes to Congress which were implemented and “saved” Social Security at that time. Several of the changes adopted then were:

Increased the full retirement age gradually from age 65 to age 67 for those born 1960 and after.

Read other adopted changes at The Street.

“That could happen again. Our children could then have a full retirement age of 68 or 69. And if you look at the original intention, that would be fair. It would be politically a tough thing to put out there,” Stewart said.

Related reading: Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?


Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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When is the right age to retire?