Retiring in your sixties is not as common as it once was. Workers in the digital age often wait until later in life to maximize their retirement income. That changes the nature of retirement planning. Age 65 was once the time to sail off into the sunset; it could now be age 70 or 75. That gives you an entire decade in your 60s to prepare.
Opting for a later retirement means that you’ll be faced with several milestone decisions while you’re still working. For instance, you can start taking social security benefits at age 62. Is that a good option? Waiting until age 70 could net you a higher social security income. In this article, we’ll cover that and other retirement planning strategies for those in their 60s.
Optimize your social security benefits
Contrary to what you may have read online, the social security trust fund isn’t going anywhere. Congress may need to make some changes to ensure full payouts, but social security income in retirement will continue to be available. Those payments scale up as you age, beginning with a minimum payout at age 62 and going up each year until you reach age 70.
Taking social security at age 62, aka early retirement, results in a social security benefit check that is roughly 70% less than the maximum you could receive at age 67. If you wait longer than that, your payout will increase by 8% a year until you reach age 70. That’s the best way to maximize social security income in retirement if you can afford to wait.
Apply for Medicare benefits
Medicare coverage doesn’t kick in automatically at age 65 if you’re not already taking social security benefit payments. Many Americans are not aware of that. A recent Harris Poll revealed that 7 out of 10 participants in Medicare programs wish they knew more about them.
Enrolling for Medicare Part A is required and should be done three months before your 65th birthday, regardless of whether you’re still working. Part B and Part D enrollment is not required if you’re still working, but you may want to look into them anyway. It could help cover additional health care costs.
Delay your retirement savings distributions as long as possible
The Secure Act of 2020 changed the required minimum distribution (RMD) age to 73 for people born between 1951 and 1959 and age 75 for those born in 1960 or later. The previous RMD age was 70 ½. That means that you can keep contributing and maximizing returns on your 401k or IRA throughout your 60s and well into your 70s.
Higher life expectancies and studies that revealed people are working longer were the two driving forces behind the new Secure Act. It also provides an additional runway for workers in their sixties who don’t have the financial resources to retire. Combine later RMDs with maximized social security taken at age 70, and your finances in retirement will be more secure.
The Bottom Line
Maximizing social security, enrolling for Medicare when it’s required, and delaying RMDs as long as possible are three ways you can increase your retirement income while you’re in your 60s. Don’t worry about social security becoming “insolvent” because it’s unlikely ever to happen. Follow the suggestions here, and you should have a comfortable retirement.