Author Topic: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement  (Read 3564 times)

Lady Stash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« on: April 22, 2019, 12:21:49 PM »
There's an interesting article in the WSJ today on the pros and cons of retiring early.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-case-against-early-retirement-11555899000

It cites data on mortality rates, depression rates and cognitive function to argue that you are better off working longer vs. retiring in your early 60s.   

My take away is that it's important to have an engaging and stimulating life outside of your job if you plan to walk away from the built in cognitive and social benefits of a full time job.   






maizefolk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4668
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2019, 12:26:25 PM »
Unfortunately I don't have a subscription to the WSJ. Do they mention if the studies they are citing have a way to control for cause and effect with it comes to mortality, depression and cognitive function?

Poor health, mental illness, and early declines in mental functioning can all push people into early retirement who otherwise wouldn't (and intentional, planned, and voluntary early retirement is extremely rare in our society), so without the control my concern would be that they may have the direction of causality backwards.

Lady Stash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2019, 12:37:36 PM »
Here's the article.


MOD EDIT: Removed. We'd rather not copy/paste whole articles from sources. Feel free to quote excerpts to discuss. Cheers!
« Last Edit: April 22, 2019, 03:14:50 PM by arebelspy »

Kwill

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1767
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2019, 01:13:35 PM »
It's interesting, but I wonder about correlation vs. causation. Are people who reach their 60s in poor health more likely to retire early than people in good health? Would someone with a family history of premature death be more likely to prioritise early retirement than someone whose parents and grandparents all lived until their 90s?

Shane

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1200
  • Location: PA
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2019, 01:19:35 PM »
As @maizeman said above, correlation ≠ causation. Some workers may retire (or be asked to retire) early after their job performance begins to decline due to onset of cognitive and/or physical decline.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2019, 01:40:29 PM by Shane »

spartana

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • FIREd at 36? Or maybe it was 42?
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2019, 01:20:39 PM »
God I hate these kinds of articles. They rarely address the reasons why some people may retire young (ill, disabled, caretakers for spouses or elderly parents, etc) and they never address really early retirees - those in their 30s, 40s or 50s. The issues that may plague a 62 year old retiree in the 5 plus  years after they retire are unlikely to be the same as the issues that a 30 or 40 or even a 50 year old retiree will deal with.

Moustachienne

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2019, 01:49:37 PM »
Yeah, I really dislike these articles too and I always wonder who/what is really behind the push to keep people working longer.  Work at a traditional paid job if you want to, sure, but staying at a job you don't like when you are FI because of the fears stoked by this article, no thanks.  There's a big wide world out there and for most of us in lucky countries, a lot of interesting and challenging options beyond keeping on keeping on at a desk or in a cubicle.

That said, it can be useful to use the fear mongering as a checklist for creating a satisfying life, at work or retired.

- Eating, smoking, drinking too much?  Make sure you're building and maintaining healthy habits.
- Cognitive decline?  Make sure you're always learning.
- Shrinking social network?  Seek out opportunities to meet and engage with people, the more diverse the better.
- Financial challenges?  Get your house in order.


And they do admit this:
Itís important to point out that a paying job isnít always necessary to reap the health benefits of work. About one-third of Americans age 55 and older regularly volunteer for community groups and other organizations. Such unpaid activities can involve levels of physical, cognitive and social engagement similar to those in paid employment. Many studies, including a 2019 evaluation of the Foster Grandparent and Senior Companion programs, find that unpaid work, like paid work, reduces depression and loneliness and improves life satisfaction for older adults.

And this:
These studies arenít definitive. More research is needed to establish the pathways through which retirement affects health, and to identify which types of workers are most affected. For example, the health benefits of work arenít generally shared by people with especially stressful, boring or physically demanding jobs. Workers in blue-collar jobs, for instance, accumulate health problems more rapidly as they age than workers in less physical jobs and usually experience health gains when they retire.

caleb

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 313
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2019, 02:28:30 PM »
Quote
Whatís more, for many older workers the decision to leave a job is not their own. Instead, too many are pushed out of their jobs before they are ready to retire, and end up struggling to find new work with comparable pay. Employers often seem reluctant to hire older workers, because of fears that they are too expensive, lack up-to-date skills, or will retire before employers can recoup the cost of hiring and training them.

I haven't looked at the study beyond the article, but it wouldn't surprise me if all or nearly all of the effects are driven by displaced and/or discouraged workers who likely have a disproportionate share of risk factors "retiring" asap when their first SS check arrives.

ericrugiero

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 268
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2019, 02:35:45 PM »
"Dr. Fitzpatrick and Dr. Moore found that men are 2% more likely to die in the month they turn 62 than in the previous month. This mortality surge is driven largely by increases in deaths from lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and risk factors for these conditions include smoking and lack of physical activityóboth of which become more common when people retire." 

Wow, So you retire at 62, and lung cancer kills you within a month???  And here I was thinking that it took years of smoking for that to happen. 

Some of the results make sense such as:
-  retiring to watch tv while drinking and smoking is bad for your health
-  staying intellectually stimulated is good for your brain
-  social interaction is good for your health

But, I'm thinking there are tons of options to get mental stimulation and social interaction.  So much of this depends what you DO after you retire.  I've never heard of anyone in the fire community advocating retiring to watch TV and drink/smoke. 

mathlete

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1584
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #9 on: April 22, 2019, 03:01:50 PM »
God I hate these kinds of articles. They rarely address the reasons why some people may retire young (ill, disabled, caretakers for spouses or elderly parents, etc) and they never address really early retirees - those in their 30s, 40s or 50s. The issues that may plague a 62 year old retiree in the 5 plus  years after they retire are unlikely to be the same as the issues that a 30 or 40 or even a 50 year old retiree will deal with.

I mostly agree. A 40 year old who retires isn't going to get dentures and come down with fibromyalgia the day after they quit.

We're partially to blame though. Retirement has a very clear meaning to most people. Quitting work, playing golf, and watching TV. We're the ones who wanted to expand the definition to include "pursuing work that I love regardless of the paycheck" and stuff like that.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6597
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2019, 03:35:54 PM »
In the people I have known to retire in their 50ís most was due to health issues.  One healthy couple I know retired at 56.  Oddly enough he was the picture of health and suffered a widow maker heart attack. Most donít survive. He ended up with a heart transplant and at 65 is very active. He would have had the heart attack if he had been working.

spartana

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • FIREd at 36? Or maybe it was 42?
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2019, 05:18:44 PM »
God I hate these kinds of articles. They rarely address the reasons why some people may retire young (ill, disabled, caretakers for spouses or elderly parents, etc) and they never address really early retirees - those in their 30s, 40s or 50s. The issues that may plague a 62 year old retiree in the 5 plus  years after they retire are unlikely to be the same as the issues that a 30 or 40 or even a 50 year old retiree will deal with.

I mostly agree. A 40 year old who retires isn't going to get dentures and come down with fibromyalgia the day after they quit.

We're partially to blame though. Retirement has a very clear meaning to most people. Quitting work, playing golf, and watching TV. We're the ones who wanted to expand the definition to include "pursuing work that I love regardless of the paycheck" and stuff like that.
You're right. We are the outliers here in the retirement world so I guess I should cut the authors a little slack. But I find the idea that most 62 year olds, especially in this day and age, would be so physically, mentally and emotionally unfit once retired they would die or become severely diseased, disabled, depressed and lose cognitive function JUST because they retired. Its as if saying they were able and hearty and vibrant their entire lives and succumbed to old age once they stopped working. It seems more likely they had many of those issues before they retired - perhaps had them for decades - and just succumbed to them once older. IDK just my personal pet peeve. I do think it would be fun if someone did a study of really early retirees and looked at their physical, emotional and mental health once they reached 62 or older. Will someone who retired at 42 and hasn't worked a job for 20 years be better off or worse off then someone who retired at 62?

mathlete

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1584
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #12 on: April 22, 2019, 05:27:34 PM »
You're right. We are the outliers here in the retirement world so I guess I should cut the authors a little slack. But I find the idea that most 62 year olds, especially in this day and age, would be so physically, mentally and emotionally unfit once retired they would die or become severely diseased, disabled, depressed and lose cognitive function JUST because they retired. Its as if saying they were able and hearty and vibrant their entire lives and succumbed to old age once they stopped working. It seems more likely they had many of those issues before they retired - perhaps had them for decades - and just succumbed to them once older. IDK just my personal pet peeve. I do think it would be fun if someone did a study of really early retirees and looked at their physical, emotional and mental health once they reached 62 or older. Will someone who retired at 42 and hasn't worked a job for 20 years be better off or worse off then someone who retired at 62?

Yeah, it peeves me too. There is a type of journalism where everything reported is factually correct (retirees lose a social circle and tend to be more sedentary), but the catchy headline doesn't logically or necessarily follow from the facts.

Stop me if you've seen something like this before:

Want to Live Longer? Drink Red Wine!

That's what researchers at Columbia University say! According to a 2016 study, adults who have between 2 and 3 glasses of red wine each week live 12% longer than their peers. Red Wine has long been known as a rich source of heart-healthy antioxidants. So pop a bottle and watch Dany slay this week on Game of Thrones! Remember moderation though!

As far as bad journalism goes, it's pretty benign. Still annoying to see though.


Grande

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #13 on: April 22, 2019, 06:05:45 PM »
You're right. We are the outliers h

That's what researchers at Columbia University say! According to a 2016 study, adults who have between 2 and 3 glasses of red wine each week live 12% longer than their peers. Red Wine has long been known as a rich source of heart-healthy antioxidants. So pop a bottle and watch Dany slay this week on Game of Thrones! Remember moderation though!

As far as bad journalism goes, it's pretty benign. Still annoying to see though.



What's you point on the red wine stuff? Are you serious? Other research says otherwise. Plus there may be an increase in risk of breast cancer.

Blindsquirrel

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 661
  • Age: 2
  • Location: Flyover country
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #14 on: April 22, 2019, 06:30:13 PM »
   Welp, if I die young, at least I will have had a lot of time off. No one here gets out alive. :)
   Articles like that are irritating as most retire early due to health problems, not wealth problems. Big honking difference.

FIREstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 640
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #15 on: April 22, 2019, 06:53:24 PM »
That's what researchers at Columbia University say! According to a 2016 study, adults who have between 2 and 3 glasses of red wine each week live 12% longer than their peers. Red Wine has long been known as a rich source of heart-healthy antioxidants. So pop a bottle and watch Dany slay this week on Game of Thrones! Remember moderation though!

As far as bad journalism goes, it's pretty benign. Still annoying to see though.

What's you point on the red wine stuff? Are you serious? Other research says otherwise. Plus there may be an increase in risk of breast cancer.

I think that was meant as another example of correlation vs. causation.

spartana

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • FIREd at 36? Or maybe it was 42?
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #16 on: April 22, 2019, 10:41:28 PM »
You're right. We are the outliers here in the retirement world so I guess I should cut the authors a little slack. But I find the idea that most 62 year olds, especially in this day and age, would be so physically, mentally and emotionally unfit once retired they would die or become severely diseased, disabled, depressed and lose cognitive function JUST because they retired. Its as if saying they were able and hearty and vibrant their entire lives and succumbed to old age once they stopped working. It seems more likely they had many of those issues before they retired - perhaps had them for decades - and just succumbed to them once older. IDK just my personal pet peeve. I do think it would be fun if someone did a study of really early retirees and looked at their physical, emotional and mental health once they reached 62 or older. Will someone who retired at 42 and hasn't worked a job for 20 years be better off or worse off then someone who retired at 62?

Yeah, it peeves me too. There is a type of journalism where everything reported is factually correct (retirees lose a social circle and tend to be more sedentary), but the catchy headline doesn't logically or necessarily follow from the facts.

Stop me if you've seen something like this before:

Want to Live Longer? Drink Red Wine!

That's what researchers at Columbia University say! According to a 2016 study, adults who have between 2 and 3 glasses of red wine each week live 12% longer than their peers. Red Wine has long been known as a rich source of heart-healthy antioxidants. So pop a bottle and watch Dany slay this week on Game of Thrones! Remember moderation though!

As far as bad journalism goes, it's pretty benign. Still annoying to see though.
Oh no! I don't drink red wine AND I retired early. Guess it's time to start putting nails in my coffin ;-).

Seriously though, the article makes good points about continuing connections, being engaged in life, being physically and mentally fit, and challenging yourself in various ways in retirement. I think those are things people should do thru out their lives regardless of their age or work situation. Work doesn't necessarily provide those things for everyone, and may even prevent some people from achieving them and from achieving a better life. So leaving work/retiring at an early age may be a boost to attaining all those things rather than some kind of death sentence.

BookLoverL

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 353
  • Location: England
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2019, 12:00:30 AM »
I mean, if you retired to sit on the sofa doing nothing your entire life, it probably would have a bad impact and be unhealthy. But I don't think anyone here on this forum is planning to sit around doing literally nothing once they retire. The point is that then you have the space to pursue the things you want to do that weren't considered as financially valuable by society.

JTColton

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 34
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #18 on: April 23, 2019, 12:27:54 AM »
Will someone who retired at 42 and hasn't worked a job for 20 years be better off or worse off then someone who retired at 62?

This is the question they never ask, because they don't want to hear the answer.

Article is click bait fear mongering, would be well received over on BH. I've been seeing more articles like this, are they trying to scare people away from FIRE? Tells me the movement is growing and the status quo feels threatened.

cloudsail

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 553
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #19 on: April 23, 2019, 07:10:34 AM »
God I hate these kinds of articles. They rarely address the reasons why some people may retire young (ill, disabled, caretakers for spouses or elderly parents, etc) and they never address really early retirees - those in their 30s, 40s or 50s. The issues that may plague a 62 year old retiree in the 5 plus  years after they retire are unlikely to be the same as the issues that a 30 or 40 or even a 50 year old retiree will deal with.

I mostly agree. A 40 year old who retires isn't going to get dentures and come down with fibromyalgia the day after they quit.

We're partially to blame though. Retirement has a very clear meaning to most people. Quitting work, playing golf, and watching TV. We're the ones who wanted to expand the definition to include "pursuing work that I love regardless of the paycheck" and stuff like that.

This is why I shy away from the word "retire" outside of these circles. It has too many connotations of old age and doing nothing. But I haven't found a good replacement word. Taking a break or a sabbatical doesn't seem quite accurate. Freelance?

HBFIRE

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1228
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Huntington Beach, CA
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2019, 07:43:23 AM »
The takeaway for me (I read the article) is what kind of person you are in retirement.

Are you sedentary?  This is common in retirement, and will lead to depression and poor health.
Are you mentally active?  Do you have anything to stimulate your brain and challenge you? 
Do you have other meaning in your life?  Having meaningful things to do is critical to happiness.
How is your social network?  Many retirees don't have a social network -- their work companions provided that.  It's been shown that not having close meaningful relationships is detrimental to health.

So basically, if you relied on work heavily for your social network, if work provided most of the meaning in your life, and if you just sit around all day since you don't have to work, there is a high probability that you will become more depressed and your health will decline in retirement.

This all probably sounds totally obvious, but apparently it's extremely common.  It's actually forcing me to do some self reflection to make sure I'm not falling into any of these areas.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2019, 07:44:58 AM by HBFIRE »

spartana

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1597
  • FIREd at 36? Or maybe it was 42?
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2019, 11:15:58 AM »
^The problem is that the article assumes the younger working person has all those things (fit, healthy, good diet, social life, engaging job, etc) and it only changes once they retire. However there are a lot of young working people with sedentary jobs, long car commutes, unhealthy fast food diets, little if any exercise, limited socializing,  limited sleep, high stress, and who spend their free time in front of a TV or computer screen. Those may be the early retiree that die shortly after retiring at 62. Its not like a fit, healthy, social person who's been active their entire lives suddenly succumbs to the life of a couch potato, bon bon eating, Oprah watching retiree.

maizefolk

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4668
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #22 on: April 23, 2019, 11:21:28 AM »
I would say that I'm in a position where what I do for a living is an active barrier to developing close meaningful relationships. Long and irregular hours (including weekends and evenings when social events might take place) and multiple moves to brand new portions of the country that forced me to start over from scratch each time.

Cultivating new relationships is work, and like the other items on the list, building and maintaining them takes time, attention, and energy, all of which are in short supply when your job is sucking up the lion share of each of them.

Lady Stash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #23 on: April 23, 2019, 12:46:20 PM »
I felt like they were able to tease out some of the causation vs correlation to make a decent case that there is something about retiring the can be detrimental to your health, for some subset of people.  From a study of data from the entire US population: "Men are 2% more likely to die in the month they turn 62 than in the previous month."  Let's assume that it is the sickest, most at risk people retiring at age 62 as soon as they are eligible.  There is still something about actually retiring which makes them more likely to die and causes a spike in death rates the very month they retire.

The other study I found compelling covered policy changes around retirement to show that changing retirement incentives so people stay at work longer alters death rates.  They found "delayed retirement reduces the 5-year mortality rate for men ages 62-65 by 2.4 percentage points, or a 32-percent reduction relative to non-workers"

I don't think we'll ever get a definitive study with a proper control group but these hint that there is something more here than correlation.

As others have said, it would be very interesting to see a study on younger, voluntary retirees who are leaving the workforce by choice to pursue other passions.

My hunch is that it may be better to "retire" to a meaningful pursuit when you are younger and healthier and more able to make that transition successfully.  Investing you whole life in a career and then leaving that structure when you feel sick and most need social support etc may be the issue. 
 

Lady Stash

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #24 on: April 23, 2019, 12:48:33 PM »
I always wonder who/what is really behind the push to keep people working longer. 

Yeah, this is the Wall Street Journal which is all about business and banks and how we grow our economy so I can see them pushing maximum labor force participation to grow the economy.  If you keep working, the economy is larger and Wall Street is wealthier.

That said, I felt like they made a compelling argument that some type of frequent social engagement and meaningful pursuit is good for you.  If not a paid job, then a volunteer job as they point out.

Buffaloski Boris

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1918
  • Politics is the disease, not the cure.
Re: Wall Street Journal: The Case Against Early Retirement
« Reply #25 on: April 23, 2019, 03:07:25 PM »
Will someone who retired at 42 and hasn't worked a job for 20 years be better off or worse off then someone who retired at 62?

This is the question they never ask, because they don't want to hear the answer.

Article is click bait fear mongering, would be well received over on BH. I've been seeing more articles like this, are they trying to scare people away from FIRE? Tells me the movement is growing and the status quo feels threatened.
^^^ This^^^

FIRE has some aspects that are definitely disruptive. Not just in that you can work relatively few years and retire, but in who specifically might find this attractive: those who are the creative minds and builders that businesses heavily rely on. If those folks in large numbers decide to say ďscrew it, Iíll do carpentry insteadĒ then that has some really interesting implications.