Chart of the Day:Retirement Age v. Life Expectancy
The chart above displays the decreasing median retirement age for men (data from BLS) over the last half century, from almost 67 years in 1950 to less than 62 years by 2005, a decrease of more than 5 years. During the same period, male life expectancy has increased significantly by almost 10 years, from 65.47 years in 1950 to 75.2 years in 2005 (data from CDC). As a result of those two trends, the average expected time in retirement for men has increased from 0 in 1950 to 13.5 years in 2005.
1. It's only been in the last 50 years or so that the average male lived long enough to enjoy any time in retirement. For all of human history before the 1950s, the average male worked his entire life and died before reaching retirement age. When it comes to expected years in retirement, there has never been a better time to be alive.
2. The Social Security system was designed in the 1930s when the average male wouldn't ever collect any benefits.
3. Given the recent performance of the stock market, the median retirement age may increase.