Did you know that you can live longer by retiring early? In the Journal of Health and Economics in 2017, economists affirmed that early retirement could lengthen an individual’s life span.
Researchers found that early retired Dutch civil servants, over the age of 50, are 42% less likely to die over the next five years than working quinquagenarians. A quinquagenarian is a person between 50 and 59. A sexagenarian is someone who is between 60 and 69.
According to researchers, retiring gives you freedom and time to focus on your health. In retirement, you have plenty of time to sleep and see the doctor whenever you feel something is wrong with your body.
Also, retirement alleviates stress. Most types of workplaces are stressful and expose people to harmful chemicals, including Freon, disinfectants, and glues.
Stress can negatively affect your behavior, mental, and physical health. If left unchecked, stress could contribute to numerous health problems such as diabetes, kidney disease, hypertension, and heart disease.
High blood pressure alone is a risk factor for several fatal conditions, like a heart attack. The retirees in the said study have a low probability of dying from cardiovascular diseases and kidney failure.
Your life and the most careful preparation and plans for retirement can fall to pieces because of retirement risks. The number of risks increases as you delay your retirement. A stock market crash, a lengthy illness, or a failed financial plan are only some of those things.
Nowadays, people can live for over thirty years after retiring. This is true in many 1st and 2nd world countries. The average life expectancy in Japan is 85.3 years. In Singapore, the average national life expectancy is 85.2 years.
Do you want to know the secret to longevity? How does early retirement affect your life expectancy? For your health and happiness, you should consider the key factors below.
Does Retirement Age Affect Life Expectancy?
As stated, early retirement could lengthen your lifespan. This has been proven in various studies conducted in recent years, including the 2017 Dutch study above.
In other European countries, it was revealed that retirement results in a 35% decrease in the probability of developing or contracting chronic and fatal illnesses. The researchers involved in the study were Norma B. Coe, Ph.D., an associate professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine, and Gema Zamarro, a professor and researcher at the University of Arkansas.
They exploited the discontinuities in early retirement behavior across European countries. Self-reported health status seemed to be a temporary effect. But the overall health index indicated that there are long-lasting health benefits, which include improved mental health.
Stress and common harmful substances in the workplace can cause Alzheimer’s disease (AD), dementia, and mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression.
According to the 2016 study in the United Kingdom, too much stress can ultimately lead to dementia and depression. Anxiety and chronic stress can damage your prefrontal cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, and amygdala. Your amygdala regulates your emotions, and your hippocampus is associated with your recognition, episodic, and declarative memory.
With the age of quinquagenarian and sexagenarians, they are already prone to neurodegenerative diseases. Chronic stress and bad eating habits can gradually damage the areas of their brain responsible for memory, thinking, and emotional responses.
Coping with the adverse effects of workplace stress can be challenging. In most cases, the source of long-term stress is constant. This hinders the body from returning to normal functioning, leading to insomnia, diarrhea, and palpitations.
Also, stress responses, including hypertension, increased heart rate, and tightening of muscles, can disturb the following organ systems:
- Immune system
- Digestive system
- Reproductive system
- Cardiovascular system
Because of stress and fatigue, seniors experience irritability, anger, sleeplessness, headaches, and digestive symptoms. Over time, the effects of stress in your body may lead to chronic or fatal health problems:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
Mentally, lack of sleep and sleep disorders in the elderly cause decreased mental capacity, neurodegenerative diseases, confusion, and memory distortion.
In conclusion, one health risk factor can lead to numerous illnesses. Chronic stress is just one effect of working over the age of fifty.
An analysis conducted in the US revealed that seven years in retirement could reduce a quinquagenarian’s chances of getting a chronic disease. The probability of developing diabetes and heart conditions decreased by 20%.
In a longitudinal study performed in China, the researchers found out that retirement is associated with the following:
- Normal blood pressure
- Reduced diastolic blood pressure
- A decrease in waist circumference
- Healthier weight
- Decreased risk of being an alcoholic past age 50
The association between blood pressure and early retirement was stronger for urban dwellers and men than for women. The study suggests that retirement is beneficial for body mass index, blood pressure, and heart health.
It is now evident that retirement prolongs life and promotes health. It also opens paths for camaraderie and socialization.
Working does expose an individual to various kinds of people; however, it also causes social exclusion. Racism manifested as microaggressions, and exclusion, by denial of rights and resources, is only two causes of workplace isolation.
Today, many studies prove that isolation and loneliness are linked to suicide, somatic symptoms, mental illnesses, and cognitive decline. These effects of social isolation on your health can decrease your remaining years here on Earth.
In a study, American retirees are happier. They are less likely to be depressed than white-collared and blue-collared workers.
Work that involves physical activity to some degree can keep your body fit and healthy. However, in the analysis conducted by SHARE in 2015, strenuous jobs may lead to obesity after retirement. The results showed that men who retired from demanding jobs are at risk of obesity.
The people accustomed to landscaping or construction jobs have a higher chance of becoming obese after retiring. Work promotes bad habits, such as binge eating, smoking, and alcohol consumption, as well as reduced exercising.
If such habits are carried past old age, the results will be damaging to your health. You already know the reason why. The 2017 Dutch study revealed that the primary causes of retiree mortality in the UK are digestive and cardiovascular diseases. Bad habits contribute to the illnesses mentioned above.
Exercise is associated with the prevention of diseases prevalent in seniors. Perhaps, lack of time due to work commitments is the primary reason why working adults don’t exercise.
Retirees have more time to engage in physical regimens than the members of the working class. Retirees can get more sleep and can spend more time gardening and doing chores than them.
According to Peter Eibich, an economist at Oxford University, retirement can improve the mental and physical health status of a person. He investigated the mechanisms behind the health effects of retirement.
Exploiting financial incentives in the German pension system for identifying probable subjects, he found out that retirees have increased their physical activity and sleep duration. On top of all that, he observed that German retirees had reduced their outpatient care utilization after retiring.
Increased duration of sleep and relief from work-related strain and stress are critical mechanisms on how early retirement affects health.
How Long Does the Average Person Live after Retirement?
How long will you live after retirement? Your life expectancy is crucial to planning your retirement. This is because you need to estimate how much money you will need to live your life after retiring.
The number is a wild guess. However, you have to get it right because this is a factor that determines whether or not you can live a comfortable and fulfilling life in the future.
You must put a lot of thought into your life expectancy and the date of your retirement, in determining how long your retirement will be and the amount of money you will need.
For instance, you retire at seventy, but you get to live up to 103. In this situation, your money must last for over thirty years. If you retire at fifty and you die at ninety, your money must last for ten more years.
Admittedly, estimating your death date isn’t an exciting topic. But you must put your emotions aside because this is very important to your retirement plan.
The two scenarios above require a different amount of savings. Your financial counselor may provide different situations, but it is up to you to come up with the most probable number.
Life expectancy has been improving across the world. According to Ourworldindata.org, a healthy lifespan worldwide has increased in recent years. This is due to advancements in medical technology and improved healthcare and treatments.
If treatment for heart disease and cancer will improve, the lifespan in various countries will also increase. All of these imply that basing your end-of-life on Google search and your grandparents aren’t satisfactory. If the current trends continue, you may be able to live longer than your parents and grandparents, unless you have an unhealthy lifestyle.
A considerable amount of data has been collected concerning life expectancy. In the United States, it keeps increasing over time. Problems related to obesity, however, doesn’t make it rise that much.
Wad Pfau, a Forbes contributor, and researcher estimated that the life expectancy of Americans only increases by one year every decade. Today, a male baby born in the United States is estimated to live until he is in his late 70s.
However, please keep in mind that even if your life expectancy at birth is seventy-five and you are seventy-four today, then the data does not imply that you may die next year.
If you surpass your life expectancy, it means you have avoided many risks. And probably, you may have years left to live. This depends on your habits and financial, mental, and physical health.
Today, healthy Americans who are in their mid-70s are expected to live for another ten years. When they hit eighty, their health is expected to decline.
According to Simon Moore, another Forbes contributor, the Chief Investment Officer of Moola, those who reach sixty-five may live for another twenty years. If you are past seventy right now, you may live for twelve more years.
Also, Moore stated that women worldwide have longer lifespans than men. Also, Hispanic people tend to live longer than Americans.
The gaps between racial groups are narrowing, however. Of course, health, lifestyle, and family history are significant factors.
In conclusion, a sixty-five-year-old retiree may live for twenty more years. According to Gerontology.edu, quinquagenarians have a 1:20 chance of living for another thirty years. And sexagenarians have a 1:40 chance of reaching 100 years.
Based on their studies and surveys, the people who retire at sixty-five has a 76% chance of living to seventy-five, a 38% chance of reaching eight-five, and a 5% chance of reaching ninety-five. If you retire past that age, your chances of having ten more years decreased by 11%.
Taking everything into account, the rule of thumb in estimating life expectancy is to consider the scenarios below:
- It isn’t easy to estimate your life span. If you retire at fifty, you’re perfectly fit, and you have a healthy lifestyle, assume that you may live for thirty more years.
- If you are suffering from two or more severe health conditions, estimate that you may last for more or less ten years.
- If you retire at sixty-five and you have maintenance medications, you may last for twenty years. If you’re healthy, you may reach ninety-five.
- If you decide to stop working at seventy-five, you will probably have ten years left to live.
These are not for sure timelines. No one knows, but these are just a few general guidelines to help you on your journey based on the compiled studies.
Do You Live longer If You Retire Earlier?
The answer to this question is, “Yes.” According to economists, researchers, and physicians, early retirement provides many health benefits.
It keeps you away from the negative effects of work and their workplaces and enables you to focus on your health. When you retire, you have plenty of time to do the following:
- Attend doctor appointments
- Do what you love and be happy
- Spend time with your family
- Perform healthy physical activities that burn fats and keep you active
- Stay fresh and visit unpolluted environment
- Prepare and eat healthy meals
- Focus on a balanced diet
Being happy alone can improve your health drastically. As stated in a recent study, it can also increase your lifespan. Seniors, in particular, have a 65% chance of living for another ten years if they are contented and happy with their life.
Andrew Steptoe, Ph.D., the lead researcher of the study, a British epidemiologist and psychologist and Head of the Department of Behavioral Science and Health at University College London, said, “Happiness can affect a person’s health and longevity positively.”
3,800 British quinquagenarians and sexagenarians participated in the study. Steptoe and his colleagues asked the participants about their lives and to record their anxiety and happiness levels. Later, the subjects were segregated into three groups based on the levels of their happiness.
On some measures, such as smoking, wealth, and age, the groups were slightly different. However, they were similar in terms of overall health, ethnic background, education, and employment status.
After five years, more or less 10% of the members of the least happy group had died. 95% of the subjects in the intermediate group were left. The group with the happiest participants had only lost 4% of their members.
The researchers concluded that the participants placed in the happiest group had a 35% lower probability of dying in the next ten years than the members of the least happy group.
What Is the Best Age to Retire for Health?
This is the million-dollar question for you. Your family history, location, retirement age, and physical, emotional, and mental health are the major factors that determine the length of your retirement.
The majority of the members of the working class want to live long. They want to enjoy the remaining years of their life and be able to relax often and do what they love. You probably feel the same way.
After all, you have worked hard these past years. You should have the energy to enjoy your remaining time here on Earth. When you retire at sixty-five or seventy-five, do you think you can still play with your grandchildren? Can you enjoy a breath of fresh air when your back burns like fire?
For most people nowadays, retiring between the age of fifty to sixty-five is the best option when you consider the studies are covering early retirement and health — retiring at fifty increases your lifespan.
However, you should also consider your finances after retirement. Do you think you can be financially stable in the next thirty years? If you retire early, be sure that you and those dependent on you can maintain good financial health in the next thirty or forty years.
Furthermore, it is recommended to hire a licensed and trustworthy retirement plan adviser. He or she can help you plan your retirement, invest in profitable opportunities, and offset retirement risks.