A study from a team of researchers at Oregon State University shows that the longer you wait to retire, the longer you will likely live. So if you are planning to put off retirement until after 65, get your retirement plan ready to make sure you have planned to afford the extra longevity.
The 2016 study looked at 2,956 participants who were working in 1992 and retired sometime between 1993 and 2010. Healthy retirees were 11% less likely to die per year past retirement age. And people who said they were not healthy at the time of retirement showed a similar decrease in mortality.
What’s more, the study found that “there was no evidence that the effects of retirement age on mortality were modified by socio-demographic characteristics,” like wealth, race, gender or education level, “suggesting that the beneficial effect of retiring late may be universal across different socio-demographic profiles.”
Some studies have purported to show that staying married, owning a dog or visiting art museums are the keys to a longer life. Other studies show a link between higher educational attainment or living in a “blue” state and longevity. Wealth and exercise are often described as factors, too.
But the findings of the 2016 study suggest that the most profound reason people who retire later live longer is the same reason people in Okinawa, Japan, have the longest life expectancies. In Japanese it’s called “ikigai,” which literally means “life worth” and implies “something or someone that gives a person a sense of purpose or a reason for living.”
The authors of the Oregon State study explain why working longer may result in a longer life: “One possible explanation is employment is a key component of individuals’ identity that provides them with substantial financial, psychosocial, and cognitive resources.” “Additionally, retirement could be a stressful life event associated with cognitive decline, difficulties in daily activities, morbidities, anxiety, and depression.”
Work gives life purpose to many folks, and the longer you delay the transition out of the purposeful context of work, the better off you are. Following are several ways to stay in the workforce, or if that’s not practical or desirable, to replicate the benefits of work.
ORIGEN AUTORAL: Will Kenton