If you look at financial news, you’re going to see something related to retirement.

Retirement is something we talk about from time to time (for a good reason), and today we’re going to discuss nurse retirement age, specifically… 

  • “What is the best age to retire from nursing?” 
  • “How long do you have to work as a nurse before you can retire?” 
  • “Is there an age limit for nursing?” 

So, what is the best age for a nurse to retire? The average retirement age is 62, but the best age for a nurse to retire depends on the individual nurse. There are 3 criteria you need to check to determine when you should retire. 1) When you want to retire. 2) When you have enough money saved. 3) When you can no longer do your job.

*disclosure: this post on when is the best age to retire as a nurse may contain affiliate links. If you click and make a purchase, I may receive a commission. Please see my disclaimer.

Average Age of Retirement

According to Gallup, the average age of retirement in the United States is age 62. A number that continues to keep going up.

It’s been cited that one of the reasons the retirement age continues to keep going up is due to economic reasons and lack of retirement savings. 

Factors that Affect Nurse Retirement Age

older nurses discussing their retirement

1. When You Want to Retire

As mentioned above, for nurses thinking about retirement, one of the first places to start is figuring out when you want to retire. 

This question is essential because, in a way, asking and answering “when does a nurse want to retire” vs. “what is the best age for a nurse to retire” is dependent on when a nurse is ready to retire.

That might not make sense, so let me explain. 

When asked, many Americans said they would like to retire by age 50-55. With the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) movement, many Americans want to retire even earlier. 

If you look at the actual retirement data, Americans are retiring in their 60s primarily related to not having enough saved up. 

So, what does this mean for nurses?

It means you need to know when you would like to retire because depending on how early you want to retire, it will determine how much you need to have saved up. 

The last point I would like to add is that some nurses might not want to retire even if they have enough money saved.

The reason could be because they really enjoy their job, or they find a sense of identity with their job. Either way is fine. It’s just a matter of understanding what you want. 

Top Jobs for Retired Nurses

If you’re close to retirement, make sure to check out our article talking about some of the best jobs for nurses in retirement.

2. When You Have Enough Money Saved for Retirement

Knowing when you want to retire is one thing but having enough money to retire is another. 

Almost 50% of Americans are not saving for retirement.

Instead, many Americans are opting to depend on social security for their retirement needs. For many reasons, this is not a good strategy. 

Now you might be wondering how much should a nurse have for retirement? You can do a quick internet search, and you’ll find all sorts of answers, but the truth is that it depends on a lot of factors. Every nurse has unique needs, wants, and goals with different family and lifestyle situations.

For example:

  • A nurse who wants to retire in a major city or coastal area is going to have different financial obligations that will be vastly different from another nurse who wants to retire in the midwest or in a small rural town.
  • A nurse who wants to retire and travel is going to have higher expenses than a nurse who doesn’t want to travel during retirement.

I’m using one variable to help highlight this point, but I hope you can see that it’s hard to give a cookie-cutter answer because many people in retirement live very different lives.

This is why I always recommend seeking out a personal finance advisor who can look at your unique situation with your individual goals and help you make a personalized plan. Go here to search for a personal finance advisor.

With that said, I do understand that a general rule of thumb can be good for just giving you an idea of what you need. Here’s a rule of thumb from The Motley Fool.

According to The Motley Fool, the average American worker will need about 80% of their income (before retirement) to live comfortably. If you’re wondering about social security, it will only replace about half of your income for the average worker.

Here’s an Example Based on The Motley Fool Guideline
Let’s run a scenario where you’re making about $100,000 a year pre-retirement.

That means you’ll need $80,000 of income per year for retirement. If you get about $40,000 a year from social security, that means you’ll need to save up enough to get the other $40,000 of income.

I included a calculator below you can use if you want a visual that’s more representative of your actual household income. (Remember the calculator is based on The Motley Fool principle stated above)

$
$
$

For the sake of simplicity, we took out a lot of variables. But once again, make sure to see a personal finance professional to dissect your financial situation properly. 

Related: How to Save Money as a Nurse

3. When You Can No Longer Physically, Mentally or Emotionally Do Your Job

Nursing can be a very physically demanding job, especially if you work on a med-surg floor. 

It’s so bad that the Washington Post has called nursing one of the most dangerous jobs in America.

Nurses are exposed to a hazardous work environment that ranges from hostile and combative patients to manual lifting and moving that no matter how good your body mechanic is, leaves you susceptible to injuries

On top of the physical aspects of nursing, it can be a very emotionally and mentally draining job. There’s a reason nurse burnout is so rampant in the nursing profession. 

For the reasons mentioned above, once you get to a certain point, you need to gauge your ability to keep doing your job. 

If you want to keep working past retirement or you must keep working, there are some options. 

For starters, your current nursing job is too physically demanding, look at other nursing specialties such as nurse case management. (You can go here to check out my list of the best jobs for nurses that are retired.)

If your job is too emotionally stressful, try switching departments or looking for a different nursing specialty that is less stressful. To a certain degree, all nursing jobs will have stress, but not all stress is the same…or the same to all nurses. 

Make Sure You Can Retire When You Want, and With Dignity

Do you know the answer to this question? Am I going to have enough money to retire when I want? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you need to seek out the help of a financial planner?

You don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t retire when you want because you can’t afford it.

The Right Age to Retire, Depends on the Nurse

To bring this all together to answer the question “When is the best age to retire from the nursing profession?” it depends on you. First, figure out when you want to retire from nursing.

After that, figure out how much money you’re going to need in your retirement “nest egg” to be able to do it.

If you must work later into retirement age or if something health-wise happens, try to find another nursing job that might not be as physically demanding.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you found this article helpful, please share it on your favorite social media platform. Also, let me know what your thoughts are in the comment section below. 

Have You Read These Articles?

Frequently Asked Questions

These are some frequently asked questions related to the question “best age to retire from nursing.”

No. Nursing is so broad and has so many specialties and sub-specialties, and because of that, whether you’re 21 or 51, you can find somewhere in nursing you can work.

Yes, you can if you want to and have enough saved up in your retirement.

The average age of registered nurses in the United States is 45-59. The actual average is around 50 years of age. The average age of nurses who are just starting is closer to 30.

Most nurses can expect to work more than 40 years before they retire. This assumes a person who started working at age 25 and retires at around age 70.

A nurse can retire early. This requires a nurse who started working, saving, and investing early in life and in their nursing career.

A nurse can retire at 55 with at least a 300k nest egg. This requires a nurse who started working, saving, and investing early.

This is very dependent on what company the nurse works for. Company retirement plans are not created equal, and some are much worse than others.

A nurse could easily retire with over a million dollars in the bank if they’ve been good at saving and investing throughout their career.

  • If a Midwife is working full time and she is 70 years old.
    There should be an age limit, as to when a person becomes unfit and and not capable in continuing to perform the duty of care, that is required by midwives. Midwives have a very responsible job.

  • I am BSN RN for 27 years working in Critical care. I have CCRN,TNCC,ACLS, And IABP certifications. but I want to earn more money and have a satisfying job as a nurse. would an NP in Psyche nursing be a good option at age 59, or should I stay in ICU till retirement

    • Hey Margaret,

      I think it really depends on what your end goals are and when you want to retire. I will try to give you some things to think about.

      Having worked the ICU myself, I know how strenuous it can be. As you get older, you might consider less physically demanding nursing jobs.

      I think being a psych NP would satisfy that while potentially giving you a gratifying job and good pay.

      Even at 59, I think you can still have a long and fruitful career after NP nursing school.

      Lastly, I want to mention that there are many nursing opportunities available for RNs that don’t require you to go back to school.

      Here are some articles to get you started:

      You can also search our site for our other lists of “best nursing jobs.”

      If you decide you want to go to NP school, you can search here to find schools in your area.

      I hope that helps.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  • I am finding the statistics regarding retirement vary from state to state. Why? What is the future outlook for nurse to patient ratio in the Med/Surg in-patient setting? How can I help administration see how to retain experienced nurses? Do you foresee the salaries of nurses increasing?

    • It’s hard to say. I’ve seen nursing pay on average go up over the last couple of years but based on where technology goes and how many nurses are produced from nursing programs, I can see it going up but plateauing potentially.