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Age 59½

This is when you can make penalty-free withdrawals from both your 401(k) and your IRA accounts. Again, I recommend holding off unless you plan on retiring right away.

Age 62

This is the earliest you can receive Social Security benefits. That said, your benefits will decrease if you receive them early. Are you noticing a pattern here?

Age 65

Age 65 is when you can sign up for Medicare. Tip: Applying three months before you turn 65 may help you save money on certain costs, like prescription drug coverage. This is also when people born before 1943 reach their full retirement age, or FRA. More on this a moment.

Age 66-67

Those born between 1943 and 1959 reach their FRA at 66. For those born in 1960 or later, the age is 67.


What is your “Full Retirement Age”?

The Social Security Administration defines your full retirement age as the age at which a person may first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. As mentioned, you can start receiving benefits at age 62, but the amount will be reduced. On the other hand, if you wait until your full retirement age, you will receive the full amount of benefits to which you’re entitled.

Assuming your FRA is 67, here’s how it works:

If you take benefits at age… Your benefits will be reduced by around…
62 30%
63 25%
64 20%
65 13.3%
66 6.7%
67 No reduction


Age 70 

While waiting until your full retirement age ensures unreduced benefits, waiting even longer can help maximize them. As the Social Security Administration puts it, “retirement benefits are increased by a certain percentage (depending on date of birth) if you delay your retirement beyond full retirement age.”  However, this only lasts until your 70th birthday. Once you turn 70, there’s no point in waiting any longer because your benefits won’t go up

Age 70½

This is the age at which you must take required minimum distributions, or RMDs, from any pretax retirement accounts like your 401(k) or IRA. This means you must start withdrawing money from these accounts to help pay for retirement. If you fail to withdraw at least the minimum amount, you will be required to pay a penalty.


It’s important to remember these important retirement dates because they can help you avoid penalties and maximize your savings. If you have any questions about this article or would like to discuss your financial situation, please give our office a call at 303-741-9772.

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