November 28, 2019 by Dymphna

Shocking fact: the longer you work, the earlier you die

People are talking about encouraging people to work longer, as if work doesn’t kill you.

Apparently retire late = die early.

Ok, so the nation is debating retirement again.

People are saying that maybe people should be working longer, retiring later.

Maybe you’re looking at your own financial situation and thinking, “Maybe I’ll have to bang out another ten years… work through to 75…”

My advice would be to just hold up a moment and think about that. And as we think about what we want our retirement system to be like, my advice to the whole country is just hold up and think about it.

Because the fact is that work doesn’t get any easier. In fact it gets harder. There’s a big difference between working a decade between 25 and 35 and working a decade between 65 and 75.

And there’s a good chance that if you push your retirement back into your 70s, you’ll pay for it with years off your life.

Work takes its toll on the body, and there’s evidence to suggest that the later you retire, the sooner you can expect to die:

An actuarial study conducted on some of the larger US Pension Funds including Boeing Aerospace, indicates that employees who retired at the age of 65, died within two years of retirement.

Dr Ephrem (Siao Chung) Cheng provided the results from an Actuarial Study on the correlation between Retirement Age and Longevity.

The studies were based on the number of Pension Fund cheques sent to Boeing retirees. The Boeing experience was that employees retiring at age 65 received pension cheques for 18 months, on average, prior to death. A similar experience was discovered at Lockheed Martin, where on average, employees received pension cheques for just 17 months.

Apparently the experiences at Ford Motor Company and Bell Labs were similar to those of Boeing and Lockheed…

The thought is that the hard working late retirees (65) are more than likely putting too much stress on their ageing bodies and minds and due to the stress, they develop a variety of health problems. The associated stress induced health problems lead to them dying within two years of retirement.

Another startling statistic from the same Corporations is that those who retire earlier, say age 55, tend to enjoy their retirement on average for more than 25 years. The chances are that those able to retire earlier have less stress, have planned and managed their lives better, with respect to finances, health and career and are able to retire comfortably.

… In a nutshell, by putting in 10 more ‘hard’ years, after the age of 55, you could potentially forfeit 20 years of your Retirement. Or saying it differently, for every year you work beyond the age of 55, on average one forfeits two years of life span.

These are American results, and I’d be guessing they’d be better in Australia because our health system is so much better.

But still, the point is that one does not simply “work longer”. Prolonging your wage employment has serious impacts on your health and well-being, and even your life expectancy.

So think about it. And if ‘working longer’ is part of your financial strategy, even just as a safety net, it’s time to have a serious rethink about what you are signing yourself up for.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, we all need to take our wealth (and our quality of life) into our own hands. That’s the only way we can lock in the results we’re after.