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Who’s most likely to retire early?

Written by Diane Archer

Some people are lucky enough to choose to retire early because they have adequate savings and retirement income. Most people have little choice and depend heavily on Social Security. A September 2015 paper published by the Center for Retirement Research uses the Health and Retirement Study to determine the key factors that lead people to retire before they plan to retire. The researchers find that sometimes it’s health, sometimes it’s employment type, sometimes family, and sometimes finances.

Who’s most likely to retire early?

  • Health is the biggest impetus for people to retire early. People in poor health or whose health is deteriorating are far more likely to retire earlier than others.
  • People with retiree health coverage in poor health are a bit more likely to retire earlier than others. It’s not clear whether the ACA is also an impetus for people in poor health to retire earlier than they would otherwise.
  • People who lose their jobs or whose spouses retire earlier than planned, or who become caregivers of their parents are a lot more likely to retire earlier than others.

Who’s less likely to retire early?

  • People who are able to move easily from one job to another are less likely to retire early when the jobs they are able to move into require less stress and less time or lead to a higher income than their previous jobs.
  • Changes in people’s income and savings do not play a significant role in people’s retirement earlier than planned.

Time magazine reports that people who work in a range of labor intensive and stressful jobs tend to retire earlier than others. The Time article lists the 50 professions in which people retire by the time they are 65. Fewer than half of one percent of emergency medical technicians and paramedics, sheet metal works and logisticians retire after the age of 65. People in the food processing profession, financial analysts, logisticians and physician assistants also almost all retire before age 66.

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