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Dream Again

What will your retirement age be?

Have you ever wondered why age 65 is considered by some to be the "normal retirement age"?

In 1935 when Social Security was first designed, 65 was the retirement age most commonly used by company pension plans. Recently, however, Social Security has changed the full retirement age (FRA) to 66 for those born between 1943 and 1959, and to age 67 for anyone born 1960 or later.

Whatever your age when you decide to retire, outliving your money should ideally be the least of your concerns. There are ways to help avoid this happening. Consider these options:

  • Wait a little longer to collect Social Security benefits. For every year you wait past your FRA to elect benefits, you earn delayed retirement credits. The credits can increase your monthly benefit by about 8 percent per year, up to age 70.
  • Limit your spending. Many financial professionals recommend that you tap no more than 4 to 5 percent (adjusted annually for inflation) of your nest egg each year to help make your money last.
  • Make an income annuity part of your strategy. Use part of your retirement savings to purchase an annuity that provides a guaranteed income stream for as long as you live[1].

Your Age and Retirement

As you get closer to retirement, here are some key ages to keep in mind:

  • Age 50 – Catch-up eligibility allows saving more in individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and some retirement plans
  • Age 55 – May withdraw retirement plan savings without penalty if you leave your job or retire
  • Age 59 ½  – May withdraw money from qualified plans/IRAs without IRS penalty[2]
  • Age 62 – Earliest age to begin collecting Social Security
  • Age 65-70 – Social Security full retirement age[3]
  • Age 65 – Entitled to Medicare coverage
  • Age 70 – Latest age to start Social Security
  • Age 70 ½ – Must start required minimum distributions (RMDs) [4]

Get help from a financial professional

» Find out how a financial professional or advisor can help.

More articles from the introductory issue of The Principal Retirement NewsletterSM

Download the entire introductory issue (PDF: 860 KB)


All annuity guarantees are subject to the claims paying abilities of the issuing insurance company.
If the employer plan allows.
Full retirement age is based on the year you were born. See for details.
If a participant in a qualified retirement plan is still employed and not a greater than 5 percent owner, they are not required to start minimum distributions from that plan until they retire.


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