Find Your Roadmap! 10 Retirement Milestones and Why Hitting them Matters.

Retirement might not be a physical destination you can plug into your GPS but if you follow this potential path, you might unlock and even maximize success in retirement income planning.

A winding street with icons displaying different Ages

Hey, you hit the big 50 – thinking about retirement yet? You can now make what’s known as catch-up contributions. Defined and governed by the IRS, your maximum annual contributions increase for both a traditional 401(k) or an IRA. The idea is to make sure you can save more and make up for years you potentially didn’t save.1^Internal Revenue Service: Retirement Topics - Catch-Up Contributions, August, 2023

This becomes especially important if you want to retire early. The rule of 55 gives you the chance to withdraw funds from an employee-sponsored 401(k) plan and others, without incurring a penalty. You’ll have to leave your job before you turn 55 and your plan has to allow these types of withdrawals.2^Internal Revenue Service: Topic no. 558, Additional tax on early distributions from retirement plans other than IRAs, November, 2023

Not quite 60 but almost there! At this milestone, your traditional IRAs and workplace retirement plans enter the full picture. You can now withdraw from them without incurring any penalties.3^Internal Revenue Service: Retirement Topics - Exceptions to Tax on Early Distributions, August, 2023

Up until now, there were a lot of stipulations and factors to consider before withdrawing money. Stop and take inventory of where you are in your retirement planning. There is likely still a significant tax impact from your early withdrawals. Check with a financial professional if an early retirement is right for you

This is the first time Social Security enters the picture. Spousal Social Security becomes available, meaning that if your spouse or ex-spouse of at least 10 years passed away, you can claim a Social Security Survivor benefit.4^Social Security Administration: Benefits for Spouses, December, 2023

Social Security is now officially on the table for you – BUT benefits might be reduced if taken before you reach your full retirement age and if you keep working. For more on eligibility and other important factors, visit

Health care is an important piece of the puzzle in retirement. An employer sponsored health care plan might have left you without health care if you already retired. At 65, Medicare eligibility begins and you can enroll three months before you hit 65. If you already collect Social Security benefits, you are automatically enrolled. For more information about Medicare enrollment, visit

You’ve reached full retirement age! Your actual retirement date depends on a sliding scale that you can find here. 

No more reason to wait. At 70, waiting to withdraw Social Security doesn't make sense. Each year you opt to wait to withdraw benefits, your benefit increases by 8 percent. At 70 you’ll have maxed out.5^Social Security Administration: Delayed Retirement, December, 2023

This is where RMDs or Required Minimum Distributions come in. To ensure money is eventually taxed, the IRS requires annual withdrawals from tax-deferred accounts as of a designated age. RMDs are withdrawn each year and are included as taxable income along with any other income generated in retirement, except for any income that was previously taxed. You are required to take out RMDs from your workplace retirement plans. The laws around RMDs recently changed with SECURE 2.0 and you can find more information on what that means here.

You’ve made it! This timeline is only a snapshot of what your retirement journey might look like. Click here for more resources on how to best plan for retirement income and how American Equity can be part of your journey.






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