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According to a recent poll by Harris Interactive, most Americans think the optimal time to retire is when one reaches his or her 61st birthday.
 
The survey asked 2,242 respondents questions about the perfect age overall, as well as the ideal ages for various life events, such as retirement, having children and getting married.
 
The ‘perfect age’ overall was determined to be 50. In 2003, respondents were most likely to choose 41.
 
The answers to this question were largely dependent on the age of the respondent. For example, baby boomers – those between the ages of 49 and 67– were most likely to respond that the perfect age was 55. However, for echo boomers – those between the ages of 18 and 36 – the most optimal age was perceived to be 38.
 
Responses varied at the regional level, as well. Among Eastern residents, 53 was viewed as the perfect age. Southerners opted for 51. Midwesterners said it was 50, while in the West, most people chose 47.
 
Interestingly, women were more likely to choose an older ‘perfect age’ – 53 – compared to male respondents’ 47.
 
For life events, such as having the first baby or becoming an ‘empty nester,’ the Harris Poll found that respondents thought 28 and 45 were the perfect ages, respectively.
 
Speak up: What are your thoughts on these findings? Do you agree that 50 is the ‘perfect age’ overall? Is 61 the ‘perfect age’ to retire?