Why retiring earlier may equal dying later
A new study links early retirement with a lower probability of death -- for men anyway. But a different study shows benefits from continuing to work.
How long you live may not only depend on your diet, exercise habits and genetics -- it could also be linked to how early you retire, according to a study released last month by the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam.
Researchers from the university analyzed data relating to a 2005 decision to give Dutch civil servants a one-time opportunity to retire at age 55, instead of the usual early retirement ages of 61 or 62 or the full retirement age of 65.
According to the study's findings, men who retired early decreased their chance of dying within the next five years by 42.3%, or by 2.5 percentage points. Perhaps even more surprising was the fact that these early retirees had the lowest probability of death during that five-year period, even when compared to younger demographics. Women didn't seem to experience the same benefit, although females tended to have a lower death rate anyway.
The study hypothesized that the lower stress levels the early retirees may have encountered could have contributed to their lower mortality rates. Other studies, such as this report from Carnegie Mellon University that found that stress may interfere with how the body deals with inflammation, have suggested that stress could be a contributing factor in some illnesses.
Weighing an early retirement
The study was intended to provide guidance on how early retirements may impact public pension funds, but its lessons may be relevant to individual retirement funds as well.
Early retirement combined with long life not only means you have to stretch your retirement money over more years, but that you also have fewer working years in which to sock away money into your 401k, IRAs and savings accounts.
Given that the savings rates of U.S. workers have been below 5% for most of the past decade, it may be impossible for many to afford retirement at age 55. A 2013 study by the Employee Benefits Research Institute found that nearly half of U.S. workers are not at all confident or not too confident in their ability to retire comfortably in the future.
Also, unlike their Dutch counterparts in the study, U.S. workers who retire at age 55 would have to completely self-fund their retirement until age 62, the earliest age at which they can begin receiving Social Security payments.
But the news for late retirees it isn't all bad. According to a French study, working longer may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, indicating that a late retirement may provide some benefits to brain health.
But whether you aim to retire early and live longer, or work later and be mentally sharper, planning carefully for your financial needs in retirement is likely a sensible move.
More from MoneyRates.com:
May be true for some, but certainly not for all. Some people live to work and have no outside hobbies or interests that could fill their day. My grandmother worked until she was 79 (as a waitress, no less) and credited having somewhere to get up and go to as keeping her healthy.
semi retire if you can,some people just need a break from time to time.
Do what right for you and what you want to do. You can get by on very little if you and your wife chose to. Its not that easy if you have kids. You youngsters out there, give it some serious thought about having kids, that will certainly limit your retirement choices.
My wife and I retired when I was 52. I went back to college and took another degree in something I loved to do. A field archaeologist does not earn very much and in fact has to pay many of his expenses himself but for me, it was worth while. I had managed to earn and save enough to carry us until SS at 62. I also was pretty good at stock picking and when I wasn't working as a field archaeologist I played the stock market.
I am 84 now. I lost my wife 2 years ago near our 48th anniversary . I had a stroke in 2007 when I returned from project in Tibet, probably because of working at the extreme elevations for several months. My wife and I lived an extremely happy life after I retired from the high stress job I was in.
It did provide college for out kids but neither were scholars and neither has done well. That's their problem. Mom and Dad gave them the opportunities.
I..am so blessed. I was able to retire at 54. At 60, I work part time (22 hrs a week) golf&gas money!! When all of my buddies were drinkin in clubs and throwin money away. I saved a lot and invested conservatively from the age of 20. Went to college on a B-ball schlorship at a city college.And my wife and I had our both our kids at 21 and 22 yrs of age.
They to went to a community college, stayed at home and both got academic schlorships. You can do it too. BUTT........ either have your kid/kids real early or none at all or don't get married!! And Save. Save like your life depended on it!! Now I have 6 duplexes I rent out.from those savings. YOU GOTTA REALLY WANT TO RETIRE EARLY THOUGH. Its a project that can be accomplished. Good luck to all you..Young folk out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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