Last year, a study published in the journal of Health and Economics concluded that an early retirement can lead to a longer life.
The study followed Dutch male workers, over the age of 54, for a five-year period. Researchers discovered that the research subjects who had retired early were 42 percent less likely to die over the five-year period, than those who were still working. To some, these results might seem to contradict viewpoints popularly held in the US, that working keeps us active and healthy!
Researchers explained their results in two ways. First, they concluded that an early retirement grants the individual more free time to pursue activities that promote better health. More free time allowed the test subjects to get more sleep, exercise more regularly, and attend doctor appointments immediately when a health problem appeared.
Second, the researchers noted that cardiovascular disease and stroke, in particular, were notably less present in the early retirees. They hypothesized that working causes higher levels of stress, and idea with which we can all agree! Therefore, an early retirement can alleviate stress, and prevent hypertension which is an underlying causative factor for both stroke and cardiovascular disease.
Other studies in the United States, England, Germany, Israel, and other countries have reached a similar conclusion.
Still, many people believe that continuing to work benefits their health, due to being mentally and socially active. And they probably are not wrong! Perhaps the key is to gradually reduce work hours, lower stress, and ease into retirement. Or, if you do retire early, make an effort to keep yourself mentally and socially active (in addition to regular physical exercise, of course).
There is no single “right” time for everyone to retire, and for many of us the decision rests upon finances and career or business goals. Our point here is that retirement isn’t just a financial decision; it’s a lifestyle and health decision as well. Remember to consider all pieces of the puzzle when deciding upon your target retirement date, and stay in touch with us. We’ll help you reevaluate and update your plans as needed.