Workers who retire later live longer, says new study

Early retirement may not be as good for us as we once thought.

An early retirement may lead to an early death, according to a shocking new study.

The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health analysed data from 2,956 people who participated in a retirement study between 1992 and 2010.

People were divided into unhealthy and healthy retirees based on whether they said illness influenced their decision to stop working, with two thirds saying they were healthy and one third unhealthy.

Over the course of the 18-year study, 12% of the healthy and 25.6% of the unhealthy group died. After factoring in the healthy group’s better education and finances, it found that healthy retirees who work even a year longer had a 11% lower risk of death from ‘all causes’.

What’s more, the unhealthy group reduced their chances of dying by 9% by delaying retirement.

Shield your investments from the taxman with a Stocks & Shares ISA

Economic and social benefits

“It may not apply to everybody, but we think work brings people a lot of economic and social benefits that could impact the length of their lives,” said Chenkai Wu, the lead author of the study.

“The findings seem to indicate that people who remain active and engaged gain a benefit from that.” adds Robert Stawski, senior author of the paper.

Additional research is needed to better understand the links between work and health:

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Stawski said. “We see the relationship between work and longevity, but we don’t know everything about people’s lives, health and well-being after retirement that could be influencing their longevity.”

However, conflicting studies from other parts of the world have suggested there is no ‘ideal’ retirement age.

Plan for your retirement with a Self-Invested Pension Plan

When should I retire then?

Of course, the State Pension age will creep up over the coming years but when you retire is down to you, your circumstances and your preferences.

Enthusiastic travellers and hobbyists might want to retire earlier when they’re a bit fitter, both physically and mentally. That said, you won’t be able to get your hands on your State Pension until you reach the age of 65 (for now) so you need to take that into account.

Working later will give you a more comfortable retirement financially, but you may be less able to do what you want if this involves more strenuous activities. However, as this new study suggests, working on into retirement age could actually be beneficial for your physical and mental health, so keep an open mind.

Keep track of all of your financial records, documents and bills with loveMONEY's Plans app. The digital vault will let you see your financial life at a glance, helping you to get organised for the future, including retirement. Start your 30-day free trial today.

Popular on loveMONEY:

eBay confirms buyer fraud crackdown

20 things that are stopping someone buying your home

Don't lose your dream holiday to these sneaky scams

Nine shopping rip-offs you can avoid


Be the first to comment

Do you want to comment on this article? You need to be signed in for this feature

Copyright © All rights reserved.