Author Topic: "Early Retirement: Bad For Your Health?"  (Read 2668 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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"Early Retirement: Bad For Your Health?"
« on: March 30, 2012, 11:59:36 AM »
Don't know whether to post this here or under the general topic, but apparently early retirement is bad for your health:

For those who can't be bothered reading the link, it boils down to losing 1.8 months of life for each year of earlier retirement.

Since you can't really argue with the data itself it makes me wonder *why* it is bad for the group studied.


  • Bristles
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Re: "Early Retirement: Bad For Your Health?"
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2012, 12:22:12 PM »
From the article:

The authors trace the effect to negative behavioral changes associated with early retirement and conclude that 32.4% of the causal retirement effect can be directly attributed to smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

Our results also indicate that the causal effect of early retirement on mortality for females is zero, suggesting that the negative association between retirement age and mortality in the raw data is entirely due to negative health selection

So the article offers two explanations, both of which would make sense to me. Add in excessive sitting-on-a-couch-watching-TV and and behavioral changes makes a very good case; and on the other hand, unhealthy people are both less able to continue working into old age, and more motivated to retire to enjoy what time they have left.

Rich M

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Re: "Early Retirement: Bad For Your Health?"
« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2012, 08:23:12 PM »
I love freakonomics. The Steven and Stephan are awesome people and have a great book and podcast and NY times article.  But do remember they look at correlation.  Correlation does not equal causality.  It's damn entertaining though and does hint enough at possibles causes of things.

For those who don't know correlation, it can be for example, "more people in North Carolina get lung cancer than any other state."  One might think that people moving to NC would have a high risk of lung cancer just living there.  But maybe the real reason is the social aspect that perhaps more people who live in NC, smoke-- and smoking causes lung cancer.  The correlation is they live in NC.  The causation is smoking causes lung cancer and more people smoke there than most states.

So like the post above, maybe the more people die earlier when they retire because most people sit around? Maybe people who retire early have depression due to not having the tight social network they had at work or a goal in life.   Or maybe many people actually retire early due to a low energy because they have an underlying disease?

It is important to know this for sure and what is really important is to have a plan when retiring.  If the plan is to get fat, go on cruises and get drunk every night, maybe retirement is not such a good thing because it might actually make one's life expectancy decrease.

If the plan is to be energetic, do fun things, help people, be inspired, it might actually increase one's longevity since there is evidence that lower stress is healthy.