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Early Retirement, Early Death?

A study by Josef Zweimuller, Andreas Kuhn and Jean-Philippe Wuellrich at the University of Zurich suggests that early retirement could lead to an earlier death. Specifically, they estimated a decrease of 1.8 months in lifespan for each year a person retires early.

The researchers looked at data from Austria, where workers in some regions of the country were allowed to retire up to 3.5 years earlier than workers in located in other regions. The group was comprised of blue-collar workers born between 1929 and 1941. The study found that, for every year they retired early, men incurred a 2.4 percentage point increase in incidences of premature death, defined as dying before age 67.

What caused the earlier death rates? Changes in health-related behavior, particularly smoking, drinking, an unhealthy diet and little physical exercise were the primary culprits. Heart disease (mostly heart attacks), diseases related to excessive alcohol consumption and vehicle injuries accounted for 78% of the causal retirement effect.

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Discussion

Glen Goss from Massachusetts posted 8 months ago:

I wonder what percentage of the causes for early retirement were health related rather than poor health being caused by retirement.


Helen Keegan from Florida posted 8 months ago:

I am 94, retired at 65 and traveled widely (19 countries). I am a woman so I am always busy and love my life!


F Giedt from California posted 8 months ago:

I'm 87 and retired at 65 from California State University Northridge. We have very active programs for retired faculty, including clubs for book reading, attending movies, playing bridge and bird watching. I also have volunteered working with our China Institute in selecting scholarship recipients and other projects.


Carolyn Stewart from California posted 8 months ago:

I am 92, retired 20 years ago from the Stanford University Libraries, but have been busier than ever since then. Six years ago I moved to a retirement community which is owned and run by the residents. I live in the independent living section, and enjoy the various committees - especially the library committee where my past work experience is very helpful. Good health is important, too.


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