Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 2.
New data crunched by SmartAsset reveal a startling insight: where you live may decide when you retire. That's because some states have an average retirement age of 62. In other states it is as high as 65. That's a big gap.
The data deliver other surprises. For instance, by age 63, about half the population is no longer working. Also, despite talk of more of us working much later in life, per SmartAsset's data, only 6% of Americans are working at age 80. There are state-by-state variations even on the elderly working, however. In North Dakota, SmartAsset said a staggering 9% of 80-year-olds work, 50% more than the national average.
But the big question is why do people in some states retire at 62, while in other states people customarily toil until 65? Experts are at the ready with explanations.
In these seven states, the average retirement age is 62: West Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, Michigan and Alabama. In these states, the average age is 65: Utah, Wyoming, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Kansas and Nebraska.
Understand, too, that average retirement age in states does move year to year. Last year, for instance, SmartAsset found the average retirement age in Delaware was 62. Now it has popped up to 63. In New York, last year the average retirement age was 64. This year it fell to 63.
Know, too, that these are "average" numbers. They don't mean everybody retires at 62 or 65 or whatever. In Missouri, for instance, where SmartAsset found 62 to be the average retirement age, 38% of 65-year-olds are still working.