Seven Age Milestones that Impact Retirement Planning


February 11, 2021

5:39 min

Group of people varying in age standing outside

Take the right retirement planning steps as you reach certain age milestones to help you maximize your income, minimize taxes and avoid penalties.

As you travel the savings road toward retirement and beyond, certain key dates will pop up. Some of these dates are critically important to your retirement planning efforts.

Taking the right retirement planning steps as you reach each of the following age milestones could help you maximize your income, minimize your taxes and avoid penalties.

AGE 50: Time to fly

If you’ve not been able to save as much as you wanted due to other financial priorities, this is a great opportunity to catch up on your retirement saving. At age 50, you’re eligible to make “catch-up” contributions to 401(k)s and other employer-sponsored retirement plans. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) “catch-up” contribution limits are adjusted annually. For 2021, the IRS allows you to contribute an additional $6,500 to your workplace retirement plan over the annual contribution limit of $19,500.

AGE 55: Considering early retirement?

This is the age when some retirement plans, including 401(k)s and defined government pension plans, allow withdrawals without imposing a premature tax penalty – usually 10%. This can be helpful if you’re considering retiring early.[1] Please keep in mind, if available, these distributions are only allowed if you retire during or after the year you turn 55, and withdrawals can only be taken from the 401(k) of the company you retired from, and not from 401(k)s you may have with any previous employers.

AGE 59½: Out of the penalty box

Once you reach age 59½, withdrawals from employer-sponsored retirement plans are no longer subject to the additional 10% federal penalty tax on early withdrawals — though you still may owe regular income tax on the distributions. But it’s generally better to leave your tax-advantaged retirement savings alone until you plan to begin taking distributions during retirement. When investors reach this age, many plans allow for an in-service rollover from a 401(k) plan to an IRA, while allowing you to continue working and contributing to the 401(k). This can be a big milestone for many investors, and can give a person the ability to retire if there is enough money saved.[1] In-service distributions are complex, and anyone considering this option should read the plan document thoroughly to determine whether an in-service distribution provision is available, and the conditions under which a participant may take an in-service distribution, to avoid making costly errors.

AGE 62: Stake your claim?

Age 62 is the minimum age at which you can choose to begin receiving Social Security benefits. Many people choose to take benefits early, for a variety of reasons. However, the math is pretty clear: claiming earlier gives you a reduced benefit and claiming later gives you an increased benefit. For each year you postpone taking this benefit (until age 70), your monthly check will be larger. Taking Social Security early could lead to a 25% reduction in lifetime benefits. Also, it’s important to consider income restrictions, which could come into play if you take Social Security early.[1] Check out the Social Security Benefits Planner ( for more comprehensive information and other resources. To calculate your 401(k), estimate Social Security benefits, invest for retirement, and many others, visit our calculator center.

AGE 65: Say hello to Medicare

Healthcare costs rank as one of the top concerns and expenses for retirees. If you’re already receiving Social Security, you’re automatically enrolled in both Parts A and B of Medicare. But if you aren’t yet receiving Social Security, you will need to apply for Medicare during one of the designated annual enrollment periods. Keep in mind that you may be eligible for Medicare coverage at 65, but your full retirement age for Social Security may be later. Your initial Medicare enrollment period lasts for seven months, beginning three months before the month in which you turn 65. Missing your enrollment date may mean penalties or even higher premiums for the rest of your life. Check out for comprehensive information (you can also sign up to get regular email alerts and updates).

AGE 67: Paid in full

Your “full retirement age” for Social Security benefits is the age at which you may first become entitled to full or unreduced retirement benefits. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, age 66 is your full retirement age. For those born after 1954, the full retirement age will increase by two months a year until the current maximum of age 67 for those born in 1960 and later. There are no income restrictions by taking Social Security when you reach the full retirement age. Typically, there’s a large increase in income compared to starting to collect when you reach age 62.[1]

AGE 70: Max out on social security

If you’ve waited until your 70th birthday to begin taking Social Security, you’ll now get the biggest possible monthly benefit, which may be significantly larger than if you had started receiving payments at age 62. There’s no benefit to waiting until after age 70 to start collecting Social Security.

AGE 72: Show me the money

Even if you don’t feel ready to start withdrawing funds from your workplace retirement plan and other Individual Retirement Accounts, the government requires you to do so once you reach age 72. The amounts of these required minimum distributions will vary from year to year, depending on the value of your retirement accounts and your age. Failing to take a required minimum distribution, or taking an insufficient amount, can result in costly penalties.

Many factors can affect your finances and retirement, whether it’s marriage, divorce, disability, kids going to college, health care and medical expenses. We’re here to help you every step of the way. Choosing an appropriate distribution strategy can help you avoid issues and make the most of your retirement assets. Be sure to consult with a tax or retirement plan professional.1 Contact us to discuss your saving and investing options, retirement planning strategy, or if there’s any questions we can help answer.


[1] 7 Key Milestone Ages Toward Your Retirement, Kiplinger

1In certain instances RMDs can be delayed for retirement plans sponsored by the employer for whom you currently are working. For past employer plans and IRAs RMDs must be satisfied.
This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal or investment advice. If you are seeking investment advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.
The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.

Category: Retirement

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