By: Margarida Correia, Employee Benefits News, October 2017

Why the average retirement age is rising
Social Security, pension type, and education are factors that have contributed to the rise in the retirement age since the mid-1980s, writes Alicia H. Munnell, director of Boston College Center for Retirement Research, in this article on MarketWatch. Other factors that have also spurred an increase in retirement age are improved health and longevity, jobs becoming less physically demanding, writes Munnell. “While all these factors help explain the gains since the mid-1980s, I was concerned that they had played themselves out. At least for men, though, the increase in the average retirement age from 63.9 in 2013 to 64.6 in 2015 is encouraging.”

Here’s how much the average 40-something American has saved for retirement
Data from Economic Policy Institute show that the average retirement savings balance of households headed by people in the 44-49 age bracket is $81,347, according to this article on Motley Fool. The amount may not be enough to secure retirement, as Fidelity says that people in their 40s should have amassed retirement savings equivalent to four times their wage income. People should not rely on Social Security for retirement income, as it is not designed to fully cover their needs in retirement.

Thank Richard Thaler for your retirement savings
Many workers are now saving for retirement through automatic enrollment in their 401(k) plans, thanks to Richard Thaler, who was awarded the Nobel prize for economics, according to this article on Bloomberg. Thaler championed the idea of automatic enrollment, saying that people need to be “nudged” into signing up in their employer-sponsored retirement plan. “Probably [behavioral economics’] biggest impact is changing the way retirement plans are run,” Thaler has said.

Ask Larry: Can my husband still claim spousal only at FRA if I file early?
A husband is allowed to apply for restricted application for Social Security spousal benefits when he reaches his full retirement age and his wife starts collecting her own retirement benefit, according to this article on Forbes. This is a strategy that enables him to defer his own retirement benefit until 70 and increase his monthly benefit payout.

A Japanese doctor who studied longevity — and lived to 105 — said if you must retire, do it well after age 65
A 105-year-old Japanese doctor said that people should retire much later than age 65 if they want a long, healthy life, according to this article on Money. “He believed that life is all about contribution, so he had this incredible drive to help people, to wake up early in the morning and do something wonderful for other people,” said a journalist who interviewed the doctor for Japan Times. “This is what was driving him and what kept him living.”

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