The United States of America is home to one of the latest retirement ages in the world, totaling an average of 63 years of age.

While the historical retirement age of the average American has steadily dropped over the past century – from 76 years of age in 1900 to an all-time low of 63 in both 1990 and 2000 – the average age that Americans retire has risen to 64, as of 2010.

In upcoming years, on a relatively short-term horizon of ten years, Americans are slated to keep working at older ages, rather than taking early retirement.

Why Are Americans Beginning To Work Later Into Their Golden Years?

As medicine becomes more advanced, average life expectancy is slated to increase around the world, just as it has throughout the past century-plus.

For example, in the 1800s in England, the average life expectancy was around 40 years of age. In 1900 – a full 117 years ago – the world’s average person could expect to live to the young age of 31. Fifty years later, it rose to 48; in 2014, the mean reached an all-time high of 71.5 years of age.

As such, it’s painfully obvious that, as people live healthier lives for longer periods, they’re likely to retire at later ages.

There’s One More Contributing Factor

The United States government has relatively recently increased the full retirement age – important in calculating Social Security disbursements in eligible persons’ later years.

For all United States citizens born past 1960, the full retirement age is set at 67 years of age. Let’s consider a mathematical example to grasp the impact of older full retirement ages.

Johnny Boy was born after 1960 and is eligible to begin receiving payments at the age of 62. Rather than waiting to capitalize on Social Security disbursements, Johnny Boy immediately begins drawing monthly payments. The amount received is dropped by 8 percent for every year it’s taken early. People in such situations might be forced to make generally bad financial decisions, like refinancing loans.

If Johnny’s full disbursement at full retirement age is $1,500, he only receives about $989 each month for the entirety of his retirement. If he had waited until he was 67 – the full retirement age – he would receive the full $1,500 benefit.

Further, those waiting longer than their full retirement ages to pull Social Security benefits get higher benefits than their maximum amount at age 67.

For example, Johnny Boy waits until he’s 72 years of age to begin drawing monthly disbursements from the Social Security program. He’d begin earning an impressive $2,200 on a monthly basis. While there’s a maximum limit to what individuals can receive as part of Social Security, most people don’t reach it.

The Potential Effects Of This Social Security Blunder

Individuals that have no choice but to begin drawing payments at age 62 lose out on thousands of dollars each and every year they receive benefits. As such, it’s likely that the average American works late into their lifetimes, resulting in higher Social Security payments.

Experts believe that the United States government will raise the full retirement age even further in coming years, resulting in longer working lives for many Americans, whether they can handle it, or not.