Early Retirement Law and Legal Definition

Early retirement may refer to an employer's retirement plan provision that lets an employee choose to retire before the company's official retirement age. Generally, if an employee elects to exercise this option, he or she can expect to receive fewer benefits than if the employee had waited until the official retirement age.

It may also refer to choosing to retire before the official retirement age established for receiving Social Security benefits. A person can receive benefits as early as age 62, but will receive a lesser amount than if they had waited to retire at the official retirement age, which is currently 67.