Early Retirement = Early Death?

There are conflicting research results on whether early retirement is a cause for early deaths.

1. On one hand, there are researches which show that one additional year of early retirement causes an increase in the risk of premature death of 2.4 percentage points or 1.8 months in terms of years of life lost.

A study by Shell, which followed their workers for 26 years, suggested that survival for those who retire at 65 are greater. “ Survival rates remained significantly greater for those who retired at age 65 compared with those who retired at age 55,” the researchers wrote. Many people underestimate the importance of their job when they give it up.

2. On the other hand, Dr. Sing Lin in his paper “Optimum Strategies for Creativity and Longevity” dated 2002 pointed to an opposite direction. One of his conclusions is that ” if you are not able to get out of the pressure-cooker or the high-speed battleground at the age of 55 and “have” to keep on working very hard until the age of 65 or older before your retirement, then you probably will die within 18 months of retirement. By working very hard in the pressure cooker for 10 more years beyond the age of 55, you give up at least 20 years of your life span on average.”

See his paper  on link : http://faculty.kfupm.edu.sa/COE/gutub/English_Misc/Retire1.htm

From his actuarial study of the age at retirement vs life span done at Lockheed Martin and at Boeing, he came up with the following paired results of Age at Retirement /Average Age At Death:

49.9/86,   51.2 /85.3,   52.5 /84.6,   53.8 /83.9,    55.1 /83.2,   56.4 /82.5,   57.2 /81.4,   58.3 /80,    59.2 /78.5,   60.1 /76.8,   61 /74.5,   62.1 /71.8,   63.1 /69.3,   64.1 /67.9,   65.2 /66.8

For instance, if you retire at age 49.9, his results show that you may live to 86, whereas, if you retire at age 65.2, you may only have  1.6 years to live and die at 66.8. In Boeing’s numbers, employees retiring at 65 typically received their pension checks for only 18 months (at Lockheed, 17 months).

So, what should one believe?

The Boeing / Lockheed Martin studies did not indicate how big the population looked at and whether they were statistically significant for other types of employment where there are lower work stresses. Whereas, the Shell study may have been influenced by the relatively poor state of health of their staff who (were forced to ) retire early because of their poor health.

As reported in a Telegraph article, “Those forced into early retirement generally have poorer mental health than those who take routine retirement, who in turn have poorer mental health than those who have taken voluntary early retirement” and “Early retirement is generally good for people’s health and well being unless it has been forced on them.”

We tend to build our lives around our work,” an expert Milner said. “When we are no longer working, we can lapse into lack of activity, and that can contribute to bad health.”

So, let’s look at the plus and minus sides of retirement:

On retirement– there is a reduction of job related stress that leads to increased blood pressure and other bad habits that come with many jobs. However, for some, there may be an increase of stress due to worries about not having enough money for the retirement or the lack of identity and purpose of life.

Pre-retirement –  complaining about one’s career and the management might have cost one a decade of life, not to mention perhaps several decades of living. However, for some people, work gives them a sense of purpose and for the rare few, the only purpose in life.

The crucial question is whether you are able to structure your retirement life such that there are more positive benefits than negative impacts.

To be healthy, retirement must be active“, Milner said. In his experience, he said, “retired people who plunged into new activities enjoyed their lives more, and were thus healthier. One study showed “that older adults who volunteer to help others can reduce their risk of dying prematurely by 60 percent,” he said.

So, while generally a reduction in work related stress is conducive to longer living, in our retirement we must not let ourselves  lapse into lack of activity but to remain physically, mentally and socially active. For those who regard work as the only purpose in life and have no activities outside work,  continue working may be better off as they have already achieved their purpose.

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; We grow old because we stop playing” – George Bernard Shaw

241 thoughts on “Early Retirement = Early Death?

  1. If a person retires on his own volition, it is assumed that he has crunched all the numbers re:living expenses, leisure etc. In this case, he is happy to be retired and hopefully lead a fulfiling life. A happy man lives longer. It has been said that a smile each day lenghts a person’s life-you can only smile heartily if you are interacting with other persons. Sometimes, body language would indicate your state of mind.

  2. Stay active and happy. Do something everyday to make the world a better place! I’m nowhere close to retirement but don’t think an early retirement would equate to an early death as long as you stayed active!

    • Many thanks for the comments! Yes, I also think it is important to do something meaningful, stay healthy, happy and active during our retirement.

  3. Beautiful post. Helps us see “the forest thru the trees.” I’d say that “youth is delightful, but a happy life leads to a happy retirement,” and ‘all’s well that ends well.” Thanks for ideas and your visit.

    • Hi, love your blog. I love the sea, ships and beaches. Your postings make me wanting to be in your part of the world. Thanks for liking the post! Regards, Michael

    • My pleasure. I’ll be back to learn more from you. Excellent photography, Michael, places I like to see before I go. And the quotes you use are ones I’d like to reread before I sleep. Thanks again for a thought- stimulating site.

      If you have a minute, how did you discover my site? Best, Whitt

    • Hi Whitt,
      I came across your Ship’s Papers while reading the Travel blogs on WordPress.
      In my previous life, I directed the design and construction of the largest container terminal in HK and sometimes have to deal with ship handling at ports.
      Since youth, I have taken a liking to sea and maritime (mainly engineering) matters.
      Your pictures of the French Polynesia are so beautiful that really entice me to travel there. Is that correct that there is a quota on the number of vistors visting at any one time?
      Best regards,
      Michael

  4. i’m guessing (based on the industries) that most of the subjects in the two studies were male. It will be interesting to see what the research shows as more women retire. i suspect we are not as closely identified with our jobs so may have an easier time of transitioning to this new stage in life.

    • You are right, I belive women ease into retirement more readily as evident by the substantial number of women transitioning into housewives and back to work without much of a psychologicl problem, maybe this is one of the reasons why women generally have a longer life. Thanks for perusing the post! Regards, Michael

  5. I used to lead a group of seniors, and the Boeing study seem not to fit my experience. I wonder why you didn’t share your own thoughts and concerned about your retirement? It’s interesting that the studies are about men, as I do believe that most women (not I) do have an easier time retiring, as we are used to working and doing much more, to begin with.

    • The Boeing data only relates to males in a technical filed and therefore may not reflect the population in general but the survey did start people asking whether people die earlier if retire early. I do agree that females are more adaptable to work and retirement. Some of the males identify work with life and that makes the transition to retirement difficult. Regards, Michael

  6. Very interesting! My father is 70 this month and he still works, planning to partially retire next year, but he is keen on everything, specially geocaching, nor me or friends my age can climb the tree for a cache as he can … Or solve the puzzle caches, it is always challenge for him and he is very good at it! He likes his work, but starts to be tired of the stress there, so I hope he will enjoy long geocaching retirment!

    • Hi PragueByKathy, it looks like you have a very active and untiring dad with an inquisitive mind which is very imporant if he retires. I am sure he will enjoy his retirement. Thanks so much for perusing my blog!

  7. Michael, this is a great article. I have heard that retirees shorten their lives by retiring young, and my dad would certainly bear that our. He retired at 55 and lived to 63. However, you point out that many who retire early are not in the best of health in the first place. My mother, on the other hand, lived with a full rich life in poor health her last 20 years, but she died at age 80 after retiring at 61 or 2. Very few of the years she worked were full time, however. Statistics don’t tell the whole story, but they are certainly interesting! As a new retiree at age 60, I am keeping very busy, and plan to live a long life barring unforeseen circumstances. ML 🙂

  8. My simple thought is that if man is active after retirement he can live long. Being active I mean like having hobbies which give the feeling of success, good mood and being part of our modern community. Of course food is important.

    My hobbies are books in French, photographing, car driving, hiking, happy music (Cumbias) from South and Central America and travel.

    • Hi Sartenada, what you said make good sense and I can see that you have a lot of hobbies which will keep you healthy, feel of accomplishment and good mood. I hope I can follow you as an example. Best wishes 🙂

  9. what a great post! from the people I know, as someone above already said, women tend to have so many hobbies, interests, friendships, voluntary jobs etc, that they keep themselves busy and active even after retiring. Keeping their minds and body exercised and occupied. Many men tend to have no hobbies or interests outside work…. I think reading, travelling, blogging, sport, dancing, are all great things to do to enjoy the passing life.

    • Very true, women are more adaptable to retirement. Many men put so much emphasis on work; retirement is just unthinkable. Also, we are less sociable, that makes retirement also difficult. Thank you for the kind comment; have a great weekend 🙂

  10. I’m working backwards here, hope you don’t mind 🙂

    I used to work in upstream Oil and Gas HSE (now I homeschool-teach my kids) so your article and links intrigued me.

    My dad worked in telecoms and retired early. He had other problems too that were magnified when he stopped working, depression etc. But when he found something to live for, something he used to enjoy and found that he still loved doing, he picked himself up and started “living” again (he always enjoyed farming).

    I have learned that having interests that make you feel important and valued makes a difference in “prolonging” life not just those of the retirable age but even those who are younger and dealing with depression or other issues.

    In the past, there were no such things as “retirement”, people just grew old and changed the way they contributed to society. The key there was that they never stopped being a valuable part of the community (normally by sharing what they knew with the younger generations). And as for women who have not focused on work-outside-the-home for most of their lives, the transition is not as defined as it is for men. So the change is not as abrupt. Sounding like a “change management” document now, sorry! To continue, women have usually felt one of their greatest contributions is in raising children and it is the empty nest that is probably the equivalent of the retirement challenge for them. But like I said, man or woman, retiree or not, it’s all the same. Being a contributing member of the community (and being valued for it) is more likely a better indicator of mortality than retirement 🙂

    Blogging has provided an excellent platform for persons to be able to contribute to society in that sense. Well, at least those who have access to it 🙂

    Anyways, that’s my 2 cents thrown in there. Actually more like a couple of dollars and sorry for the long comment…

    Regards,
    Mary

    • Hi My Tropical Home, I think you have made a very clear and thorough analysis of retirement. Just like you, I would also like to be able to contribute to the society after retirement and blogging is one of the means. Thank you for the invaluable comment 🙂

    • In retirement, you may dislike it in that you find yourself contributing less to the society or your previous dedication. On the other hand, you find you have the complete freedom of spending the time, on things you like and developing new interests. On the whole, considering the above two aspects, I am enjoying my retirement. Thanks for the perusal and kind comment 🙂

  11. I am one of those rare ones that have a second income (husband) and have worked part-time since having children. I always joke that I’ve been “semi-retired” for over 20 years. 🙂 However, my job is high stress. Now that the kids are grown and on their own it is such a nice blend to average 30 hours per week and have time to do my other hobbies on the side. I love my job but if I had to do it every day, five days a week, with no sight of retirement til 65, then I’m afraid I would be that last number—dead at 66.8. I agree with those stats but do totally believe that keeping active and on schedule is the best thing when retired. Some of my days off I can see my time drift through my fingers because I don’t have all the schedules to keep me going. My involvement in many other activities like blogging and photography, keep me going!
    Excellent, thought-provoking article!

  12. Thank you for the research. Very interesting contrast comparisons!!!! Having something to look forward to each day, living within the moment, as the Zen quote goes, “Chop wood, carry water”, gives practical duties of the seeming mundane. The simple effort of healthful preparation and beautiful presentation of each daily meal according to the needs of one’s doshas (body type for balance and greatest happiness) creates greater longevity advantages. Seeing the helpfulness one’s partner and how one’s partner assists one, gives great meaning and advantages to longevity as well. People are not aware that much happiness rests within the types of foods they eat, which create their perceptions and ways of being.

    • Thanks very much for the thought provoking/ inspiring comment. I would also like to live a simple life and put more thoughts on food preparation. Thank you 🙂

  13. I retired early at age 57 from corporate to start my own business. I have always been pretty active and social. I work out at least four times a week in a gym where others are looking to stay healthy as well currently I am writing a novel. Smiling and having a happy out look on life is key. You cannot look to others to make you happy and fulfilled. We are living in critical times and many do not see a great future for their world around them. This is where, I escape into meditation, remaining grounded and spiritually connected. I have been retired now for three years and looking forward to the next 40.

    • I think to have enough exercise is a must during retirement. I envy that you are able to start your own business and knows how to practice meditation! I am sure you will still e around in 40 years’ time. Regards, Michael

  14. Excellent post, Michael. The loneliness factor is a big one…some people who live for work, don’t have groups or family to hang out with in retirement…work was their only social interaction with others. I really think it is a very personal decision…people with hobbies and social networks (as well as good health) can really thrive in retirement…

    • What you said is so true, there is a psychological side to it which I tried to cover it in another post. It is sad to see that for some people there is no life after work 🙂

  15. I enjoyed this post very much! Each has to find his or her way in or out of retirement. The most important thing is to stay active mentally and physically. Thanks for the recent visit to my blog!

  16. An interesting post. I would LOVE to retire right now, today, this minute! To not wake up at 7am, not commute, not sit in an office with irritating colleagues. Alas, I have funds for about two years of non-income. So I guess I’d better go to work tomorrow, after all. Thanks for ‘liking’ my post, btw!

    • Hi Elizabeth, I know how you feel. To gain financial freedom is the first step. I love my work but finally considered that it was no longer the best way of spending my time and life. I was also worried that early retirement means early death, I’m now convinced that shouldn’t be the case. You are most welcome. Regards, Michael

  17. Okay, so by these calculations I should have 28 years left of my life, but I’d like to extend it 19.9 years to live to 100. How old am I? I’ve always thought it was a state of mind, do we work to live or live to work? When I turned 50 I told everyone life has just started. It’s like an odometer when it turns over to 00000. Then it all starts again. I’ve always loved numbers – determined to bend the numbers and hit the second roll over mark.

    • Hi, you are a very active and creative person. Without a shadow of doubt, I believe you will live up to 100+ (modern medical technology will help you with that too). Best wishes, Michael

  18. Oh, you retired people! Really, Michael, I’m just jealous. This is a great post! When we’re kids, we couldn’t wait to get older (i.e. drive a car, drink a beer, become independent). When we do get old(er), we wish to be young once more. And then there are those who wish they were 62 or 65 or whatever works best in order to begin tapping into social security and/or pension. In other words, I wanna be just like Mike! Thanks for the “refresher course”!! Have a great day.

    • Hi Laurie, we do not have social security as you have; once you are retired you are into insecurity, you only hope that your savings will last longer than your life (people now lives longer). But of course, one should be optimistic about the future and enjoy this phase of life. Thanks for digging into my old article. Regards, Michael

  19. Fascinating – after reading this I wonder of I should aim for semi retirement @ age 60, with a heavy dose of volunteer work so as to hedge my bets and all. And I’m not even a gambling man. Great article Micahel with lots of food for thought. Thanks.

    • You will have the answer if you ask yourself the question whether you want one further year of work or one more year of retirement. Thanks for reading the post. Have a great weekend!

  20. Interesting and thought provoking! As one who retired early for health reasons, I aim to keep mentally active, socially active and within my parameters, some degree of physical activity, can’t do more than that!

  21. Having retired early (before 50) I shouldn’t have much time left now. I actually believe that genes, happiness and having activities and goals are the important factors. I was part of a study on the mental well being in seniors. It was a skewed group as they were all taken from the local u3a which meant that all participants were motivated to learn. The overriding factor that came out was the participants survival of difficult life events and their drive. Will be interesting to read the findings when they come out.

  22. Once again I clicked on one of your blog posts and found a beautiful photo and much food for thought in your post and all the comments. This is what I love about what I call the “blogiverse”, and I agree that joining the blogging community gives me a connection to creative, thoughtful people like you and your readers that I wouldn’t otherwise have. I loved my job teaching Chemistry, even though it often involved 60 hours of work each week, and still was able to be active in mountaineering, skiing, photography, running, playing music, meditating, and raising a child. Part of what allowed me to do all that was the meditating, which somehow gave me the need for less sleep than normal. But I retired early at 52 to become a stained glass artist, move off grid , and do volunteer work for animals and a Buddhist orgainization. My life was full and fulfilling, then I came out of retirement to teach half tiime when my friend developed breast cancer and needed me to take over her classes. After four more years, at age 61, I retired again, and this time I’m making it stick! A friend introduced me to blogging, and it is the perfect activity for me to do while I travel by sailboat and stay in marinas and anchorages with WiFi. Being grateful, active both mentally and physically, involved in community and taking time to help others seems to be the key ingredients for a fulfulling retirement. Thank you for your wonderful blog that you’ve created in your retirement! And thank you for liking Curiosity Cafe and the Weekly Photo Challenges. I am commenting using the rainbowspinnaker blog because I can’t figure out how to change back and forth from rs to cc!

    • Hi, very glad that you share with me your way of life and the circumstances surrounding your retirement. I find it very inspiring and hope one day I do voluntary work too. At the moment, I am also trying give something back to the community through teaching at the university and assist in writing books which touch on my past career. Glad to know that you are travelling (on a sailboat – which makes it more interesting). Hope to be in touch again soon 🙂

  23. A very interesting post. I’ve come to realise that you should never leave your life until later. Live every moment while you can. Even the word retirement, speaks of an end. Thanks for sharing.

    • Yes, live and enjoy every moment of it as best as you can! Don’t work too long, if you think retirement works better for you and you can afford it. Have a great weekend!

  24. It sounds as if you have many interests and a full life, so I wish you a full and exciting retirement!
    Most interesting blog, thank you.
    Thank you also for visitng mine!!

  25. At 59, and loving my job….I’m still feeling like I would love to get up and walk the dogs every day to start my day. Health isn’t guaranteed, and happiness is entirely my responsibility. It’s interesting, and definitely provides food for thought. I’m not sure I agree with the earlier research. I have been so blessed that I love my job. 99% of the time! it truly doesn’t feel like I went to work. It’s more if a “and they actually pay me for this!” Great articles!

    • Hi, if you enjoy your work and have the health for it, the best thing is that you carry on working until one of these two conditions is no longer there. Retirement is most beneficial when one finds time can be more enjoyable outside work! Regards, Michael

  26. Boeing is trying to refute the retire/die in two years “ myth” as they call it.
    A quote from their web site “In fact, for those who retired at age 65 and are still alive
    – the average age is 78.:”

    That quote does not address the average who retire and die two years later !!
    It really adds meaning to the quote Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.

    http://www.boeing.com/companyoffices/empinfo/benefits/pension/seminars/Rumor.pdf

  27. My husband and I are both retired and loving it. We happily planned and saved for enough funds to live a nice life, and I think that makes a difference. Whether you have a spouse or significant other is important too. Lastly, pets and just being happy helps you live longer. Thanks for liking my last post. I love for people to stop by!

  28. I retired when I was 43 and never looked back, will be 68 ths year. Had my fair share of problems, but these were aggravated by poor lifestyle choices, not age.

    Might just be the luck of the draw Michael.

    Thanks for stoppin by my blog

    LDS

  29. If you expect someone or something else to give you purpose, you will die when you loose that person or thing. If you have your own purpose to go on, you will.

  30. I remembered a man retired from his job and died before he received his first retirement check. I retired and moved to another state. I didn’t work for five years but now gave a job I work any three days a week I choose. I’m also active-sometimes too active. Thanks for liking my post. Blessings.

  31. Michael, this is an excellent post. Really valuable information. I think it also verifies what we intuitively know: that allowing work to define you, regardless of when you retire, is a road to an early death.

    • Glad that you like the post! Many people don’t like or want to give up their job when they can no longer hang on to it. At one stage, we must let go and start a new lease of life. Regards, Michael

  32. Great site you have. I retired at 51, with a pension. did a bunch of volunteer work, and worked as volunteer in our condo. Loved every minute of it. Been retired now since 1985. still never have a dull boring day. My wife and I travel a lot, and that too is great. Always have a project on the go.

  33. I voluntarily retired from teaching at age 58. I have since volunteered all over the world. Now at 73 I volunteer 11 hours per week. My mother taught me to have something to do when you retire.
    The other issue for me is health. If I sit around I get fat. If I get fat I get diabetes and hypertension. All this relates to your study.
    When I retired I moved from Portland Oregon to Corvallis Oregon. I said I would help anyone but kids and dysfunctional families. So I work with senior citizens driving for them or bringing them good. I believe they also are contributing to my longevity. I’m me woman my age that u recently met grew up where I lived from 1945 to 1950! Much of my writing now is because if meeting her.
    So your statistics are interesting, but it is the stories behind them that draw meaning for me. Thank you very much for sharing this.

    • Hi, it is great that you are volunteering. Helping senior citizens is a great undertaking which I am sure has contributed to your longevity. I am glad that you are doing well and enjoying life!

  34. As you say, the sexes probably differ. I’m 81, raised 5 kids, enjoy the grandkids, exercise, meditate, eat right. I’ve written a novel, blog, and hope to publish a memoir later this year. I started “working’ too late to find meaningful work. Retirement liberated me into creativity.

  35. Oh no! According to that study, my goose is cooked even before it gets in the oven. I better start blogging faster, or maybe just enjoy my last meal.

  36. For many people, their work is how they define themselves. When that work ‘world’ ends, they feel the loss so deeply. Having been forced into a very early retirement, I packed-up, sold-up, moved to France and focused on writing, exploring… I just may be around for awhile! 😉

  37. I have taken early retirement to prevent early death. Work was becoming the death of me. Now I feel alive and vital and with purpose. I love what I have chosen to do and it costs me almost nothing. So I should be able to spread out meagre savings and superannuation insurance for enough years until I decide a timely death is appropriate.

  38. In my opinion early retirement frequently means early death unless the person finds something really purposeful to do. I have not intention of retiring in the foreseeable future–I love my job. If a person dislikes their job, it might be different. My dad farmed until he died at 90. When someone would ask him why he did not move to town, he would answer that everyone he knew who did either died or went back to the farm every day so why do it. Glad you liked my post!!!

  39. Thanks for this informative and fascinating piece. I like actor Jeff Bridges’ idea of “plorking”–in which work and play are the same thing. Too bad so many people’s careers have to consist of unremitting drudgery and tedium instead of the excitement of creative pursuits. Thanks also for liking my latest blog post.

    • It is true that many people’s careers consist of drudgery and tedium. Some people perhaps started with a career they like but cannot persist for 30-40 years on the same thing!

  40. I’ve been self employed in various ways for most of my working life. I love what I do, when I stop enjoying it I find something else that I do enjoy, as long as it earns me a reasonable income. I’m 64, and have no intention of ever retiring! I do think the key is to love what you do, and do what you love.

  41. All very interesting. I have been retired more or less for many years, but keep writing as a freelance journalist. Yes, one needs to stay active. Thanks for visiting talesandtravel.com.

  42. Michael, I`m glad you liked my blog about The Golden Horn. I found your article about early retirement interesting, partly because my former business was financial advice which often involved retirement planning. I was struck by how many people who had eagerly looked forward to retirement found it unbearable. Now I am retired but can now pursue the writing I always wanted to do and that, I think, is essential. Retirement must be a step towards something not just a negative cessation of activity. Now I can combine my two loves of travelling and writing. Another that fits in with that is I like learning languages. Spanish is a very useful one. I wish you well in your studies. Patience is the answer in language learning.

    • Right!!…. “Wrong meaning attached to what life is”. Pretty spread actually, and many, others….There is this phrase in a very beautiful, and meaningful song that I heard in the movie ” The book of Eli” that says: …..”What made the world gone wrong?”, (kind of the theme bottom line of the movie)…..”I’m a fraise catcher”….In a whole blend of words on any kind of word composition, we all can find the ones that click on our inwards blending of meanings, in our memory…..so…for “this particular comment of yours Mr. Lai…In the background of my words commenting, this song just started to soothing in…..”Nice meaningful melody”…… “Great Day”.

  43. “Thank you!!” so much Mr. Michael Lai for liking my Blog ” Design to Love”. I’m very pleased with your appreciation. I’m just a starter on this activity to Blog on wordpress.com, but to tell you the true, I think that’s something I always liked to do. Always enjoyed to wrote short, long letters with my thoughts to people meaningful to me, and waited anxiously their answers back, cause….( as I said somewhere else )…. I prefer the slower motion of the reading critically, than the somehow, generally rapid, shooting of the “discourse”… may be, because English is not my maternal language, and may be too, because of my sensible/sensitive nature, and/or my personal natural rhythm. I think that sensibility is a Bless, in a way, but almost a curse some times.
    Mr. Lai, I just read your Blog about “retirement”, and I totally agree with your conclusions in the final paragraph. It was for me actually clarifying, reassuring, and wisely, concluded by you. It was also, an actual providential event, the fact of meeting you in wordpress, and reading your Blog, because I’m 58 years old, and since my 55’s had this inner knowingness and urgency to run out of the “pressure cooker”, so I started plotting since, the life of my dreams. “Thank you”, for your appearance, and I’m very interested in following your site periodically. “Thank you again”, “for you, and everything”.

    • Thank you so much for your kind words. I am glad for your follow.
      I wish you a very happy and meaningful retirement – it appears that you have already charted out what to do in your retirement.
      In my case, I retired without a lot of thinking – I could have planned better.

  44. Well…actually…trying to shorten the explanations of my “actual situation”, I had to leave some spots of the real events unexplained. The real fact is that after been born , here, in USA, when I was 6 years old, my parents, (3 older sisters, and me), went back to their country of origin, Cuba. This was around the 60’s….Later on, around the late 90’s, we started coming back to US. Everybody was already grown up and with “College Education”, and my “dearly parents”, already in their “elderly years”. I was the last one to arrive at the end of year 1999. I really was not used to the rush of “American Life”, but…( no questions about it ), I needed “immediately” to incorporate my self into the “human built up machine”, to produce as efficiently as we could, the most profit possible, for any company or monopoly…..I started working madly, also trying to study something, (as the Bachelor in Economics that I brought from Cuba, never was really my real vocation, ( I explained about that in the profile section), and the other things that I’ve study, none of them, were neither really profitable for me, at this time….So… working madly, and studying, and younger (around my 43s)…I thought:….” this is a “Promenade” for me…(.I always was the type…”Dreamer, and warrior”, and with “the Pure Heart”),…So, I kept with all the trying, and possibilities that I had to the moment…my parents past away in 2002, and 2003, and my sisters were too overwhelmed in their own doings, with family, Childs, and multiples Grandchild to help me….. It was very challenging…and I objectively realized that,….. I was just in the midst of “my dark night of the soul”…. “It was just me and God”, but this times were even more harder than ever…..Finally, after, and through all the “known obstacles”, of the “given” social (mentality)- economic system, at the beginnings of 2009 I was working in the Central Pharmacy Operations Corporation of Walgreens, as a Pharmacy Technician…..”It lasted for two exact years”….”.got seek”, had to have finally a gallbladder surgery, very high blood pressure, and was “Depress”…..”was also in my 55’s”…….the exact age that Dr. Sing Lin indicates in his studies……And it is true, I started then to deepen the search in my spiritual, biological, social- economical reality, and the mentality status established around me, and got to the conclusion, that I needed to stop ripping my self off on this madness, meaningless marathon for “money”, and “at this age” precisely…… I have a partner since 2004, that has helped me economically, its been “very hard”, for both, in all meanings,……But, I never lost “HOPE”, So…among other things as you say in your conclusions, I kept with other many activities…….I jointed the “Cognition Project”, in the “internet”, with “Lumosity” (Neuroscientist website for researches, with any age participants), I’m training for now for FREE on this site, and its an excellent source of Neuroscience Information and Healing for our Brain, Mind, Body, Emotionally……, also, I’m trying to get some training, for a computer wise job on the internet, I read, I write “something”, listen to any beautiful inspirational music and move spontaneously around dancing, watch movies, go through sites like “500px”, “Vimeo”, to view astonishing landscapes, nature, and peoples, photos, from professional photographs, to watch critically and be inspirer, and share about it, I exercise, work at home, eat healthy, keep communication, and healthy dialogue with family members, help then when ever necessary, interchange ( in the already old style written letters ) with nuns in Spain ( specially close to me), and I just integrated the “wordpress” community, very revitalizing, healthy and instructive, very professional, and “certainly a lot more than just that”,…. through a Link that came into a weakly “Post” of “Spiritual Gems”, from Catholic Church that I receive, have Pets (Love Dogs as “little persons” with a different costume, preconceive by God like that, for a certain purpose…and so on…and on,….go gardening, watering the plants, occasional conversations in the market, are very important some times for us, and others….everybody needs a little push, any time, and that makes an important difference in everybody’s life…..
    Now…… we have the real facts over the table…just an other case to confirm exactly, “Dr. Sing Lin’s studies over retirement issues”, and Mr. Lai’s analysis of the two different theories, on this very helpful Blog.
    Thank you again,Mr. Lai, for your assertive, and opportune Blog, and your reply. I’ll keep in touch. “Beautiful days ahead to you”.

    • Many thanks for sharing your past with me; I am glad that some people do take my post seriously. I am sure you are fulfilling a very meaningful life in your retirement. Wish you all the best in your future endeavors! Regards, Michael

  45. Hi Michael, even though this article is almost 3 years old, it is still quite relevant. I would say that a study of “retired” people needs to differentiate between those who live active lives and have purpose and meaning vs. those who may have been forced into retirement or are dealing with chronic diseases that limit their activity levels and enjoyment of life. Retired people are not all the same.

    • You are quite right. Statisticians don’t really care there are in fact two different groups of people, they just take samples for their analysis, that is the reason why the statistical results could be so different – as I said in my recent post ” Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics”!

  46. Michael, since we have my octogenarian father in-law living with us I have made certain observations. He semi-retired about twenty years ago but was kept as a consultant for another five. After that he kept busy taking care of two old and invalid women, his wife and his mother in-law. His wife died and shortly later his MIL became so incapacitated that she was taken care of by one of her daughters who is younger than my FIL.

    Since he has come to live with us we are noticing a strong decline in mental and physical faculties. I think the main issue is that he has nothing to do. Since his job was his life, as well as the two women he took care of, he never developed an outside interest. In other words. No hobby. That is culturally also quite common where he is from. So now he sits on his rear end all day and watches TV from anywhere of 8-14 hours a day. No, I am not exaggerating. He doesn’t walk as much as he ought to after his heart attack last year and subsequent quadruple bypass and pacemaker and now complains of painful knees. Ummmm, yes, if you don’t use your knees, they are going to hurt. So he is gradually walking less and less, and at this rate I doubt he will live much longer.

    I believe people like you who are busy, who don’t spend all day on their chairs are fated to a long and rewarding retirement. You are a roll model. I doubt I’ll ever be financially able to travel the world as you have, but I have my gardening, knitting, reading, cooking and baking etc to keep me busy when the time comes many years from now.

    Blessed Be.

    • Hi Be, you are absolutely correct, one needs to have physical exercise almost everyday to maintain one’s health. For some aged people, like my mom, the soft tissues at the knees have worn away and the bone just grinds against the other bone surface, causing severe pain. Maybe ask you FIL to take some glucosamine to see whether it helps. In fact my mom has a knee pain for more than 20 years. She can’t walk much too and sits most of the day – this maybe one of the problems for her getting colon cancer. My mom is having a hydrotherapy every week, this eases a bit her spine. In fact, some of the knees problems initiate from a bad spine. I try to be as active as possible, but I am travelling less now as I have to look after my mom after her surgery. Some of the photos are recycled, I hope my readers wouldn’t mind too much about this. Be, I think you have the right attitude and a great sense of purpose. I am sure you will have a long and rewarding retirement too. best wishes for the future! Michael

  47. Thanks for “liking” mytimetotravel. I think it’s impossible to generalize about the impact of retirement. So much depends on what kind of work you were doing, your state of health, how well you have prepared etc. etc. I took early retirement 15 years ago at 53 so that I could travel, and it’s been a big success. What happens when I can no longer travel is another matter. One reason I retired was because i saw too many people retiring at 65 and either getting bored and coming back to work, or dropping dead not long afterwards. I didn’t want either of those outcomes, and I was fortunate to still be covered by an old-style pension plan with retiree medical, which gave me a choice.

    • The good thing with retiring early is that you still have the energy to pursue new things before the health deteriorates.
      You are quite correct, it is difficult to generalize on retirement. Regards, Michael

  48. Hi Michael, I’ve been a very early retiree and although it wasn’t really planned, I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I’ve been able to go to grad school (in English Lit, completely different from my CS background), and then moved to a University town where there’s more interesting things going on than in the suburbs. My comment about longevity is that I have noticed we can fall in the trap of letting others (e.g. the routine of work) lead us and so the older we retire, the less interest we have in the world around us. There’s also the calming effect of aging, i.e. our cognitive and physical abilities reduce every year, so it will be very tempting at age 65 to be inactive.

  49. Pingback: Will you die early if you retire early? Not necessarily. | rockingjohnhenry's Blog

  50. Great article Michael,
    I agree and so far being living proof as I retired at age 60 in great health and loving it! Doing your homework on your living expenses after retirement is the key which will bring you peace of mind and put a smile on your face each day. Also I’d like to thank you for liking my blog about how you can travel cheaper and make travel money all at the same time, as I am a firm believer that travel is not only enjoyable, educational, but can also add to one’s longevity! Happy Travels

  51. My God, how do you gets so many comments on your posts. I can hardly get one. As far as retirement goes it all depends on how much one loves their job. If it’s a joy keep working as long as possible. If it’s a pain STOP!

    • I have never thought I could be getting so many comments. Thank you for writing to me and hope that you will recover soon. Be strong and have fath in the Lord!

    • If you read my earlier posts, I have some posts dedicated to my mom who had colon cancer at an old age of 87.5, she has an operation and I hope she will recover from it.
      God do miracles, to have survive a major operation at her age was a small miracle. Have faith and be in good spirit, we will divide up the sorrows!

  52. Reblogged this on creatortruthlove and commented:
    This world is conceptual in word of action. Retirement has nothing to do with death. Our time of death is fix in time clock at the of our convenient. As scientist believe on their clinical findings that is not possible to find. If you really like to do the clinical test. Take two kids conceive same time at different place. Put them in the most healthy same environment. Find the result of their death.

  53. Although I can’t quote specific sources, I believe I’ve read that retirement is actually good for people, in general. Maybe if one is forced into retirement, that might lead to a whole new set of stresses. There are people who become really poor in retirement, trying to live on Social Security.

    Personally, I just retired in June at the age of 63. Since then I’ve taken one cruise, planned another trip to the Southwest in December, and will probably book a cruise to Alaska for next summer. Life is good!

    I retired because I could – my job was getting boring and there were other stresses involved in it. I just wanted to retire so I could have time to travel and write. I am fortunate to have the financial means to have a comfortable retirement. So in my case, I think retirement will contribute to my being healthy mentally and physically.

    Amazing the number of people who have weighed in on this topic! Good job!

  54. My mother Jean Davis passed away on Friday night and I need to get this to hr department so they will stop retirement benefits my phone is503-781-4397 thank you

  55. My anecdotal observation is that someone’s attitude prior to retirement influences their mortality as well as enjoyment of those years. Someone who hates work usually is grumpy in retirement (lack of structure, encouraging relationships, and motivation). Someone who enjoyed work usually finds fulfilling activity and relationships. Keep writing and photography for your health! 🙂
    Oscar

  56. Pingback: Retirement? No, Thank You | A Map of California

  57. I agree with you. From a biological viewpoint, the body gets rid of any excess. For example, those who rely on prosthetics will find their muscles for that part degenerate because the body no longer needs to rely on the muscles since the prosthetic parts are stronger. In this way, the body will tend to degenerate and ultimately shut itself down when the body no longer has the need for itself. Hence, exercising one’s mind and physical body will induce the need to survive and signal the body to keep working; reproduce and regenerate.

  58. This is something that needs to be shouted from the rooftops. I couldn’t agree with you more as I watch two good neighbours sink into apathy because they have both retired without planning properly for this late period in life. No hobbies, no real interests in anything, so television becomes their only point of contact with the world. As we know, television contracts the mind. I’ve tried to get them to listen to the radio at least (we have marvellous BBC radio in the UK) but years of relying on that box in the corner means that need that wallpaper for the mind. Thank you for an excellent article.

    • Gluing to the TV is definitely not a good idea. It is not only bad for the brain, but also bad for colon cancer. You would have done your neighbor a good service if you can talk him/ her out of it!

  59. I retired at age 56 and ran off to France with a man ten years younger. I couldn’t wait to quit work in order to do all the things I never had time for while I was working a full time job. Just because I retired from work didn’t mean I retired from life. Suddenly I had time for writing, photography, computer graphics, riding motorbikes, and maybe most importantly sitting in the sun watching the butterflies and listening to the breeze. I know of a man whose job was his life. When he retired he was lost and didn’t seem able to fill the hours, he became depressed and eventually committed suicide. So maybe it all depends on the individual state of mind, the zest for life (or not), and just how much we still love living. At 68 I’m still exploring life and finding huge enjoyment in many creative pursuits. I feel very lucky to have this state of mind. 🙂

  60. Great post! Thanks for sharing this. It’s all about what makes us happy and maintaining yhat peace of mind. The workplace is a place of socialization for many persons. Home may be a lonely place. But planning and deciding how you are going to live after retirement is very important. Companies can assist employees in this respect.

  61. It is really true that many folks underestimate the impact of stopping work, especially if that had been the “only” thing that they have been doing all their lives. I say “only” because we spend 8-10 hours at work. If you slap on the sleeping part, that leave probably less than one third of your life time for other things – family, friends, hobbies etc.
    Many empty nesters find that they have no hobbies or other interests when they retire. We all need to build another pillar in our lives aside from working!

  62. What a lot of comments you have! When I retired at 55 I vowed to stay healthy so now do aqua jogging five mornings a week (early) and gym circuit two days a week (even earlier). As a person who dislikes sport and formal exercise I can’t believe I actually have the discipline to do this. I am not a morning person but get up at 5.45 and walk to the gym and pool in the dark (in winter). By forming a habit I am able to do this without too much difficulty. The good thing is my husband comes too which gets him out of the house and socialising. The pool and gym are very social places and we have coffee with others every morning. Buying a caravan was another winner. We can go away for a road trip any time without worrying about the expense of accommodation. Then there is looking after the grandchildren – tiring but stimulating and wonderful. Now I’m 65 and hoping to last another ten or twenty years.

  63. Pingback: Fellow Adventurers (June 19) - links to great reads from other blogs

  64. This was a timely article that popped up in my email .. Because I am at this same crossroads right now. Contemplating early retirement vs going the full distance … careers, finances, activities … I do think that it is important to have a life plan beyond retirement, at any age, whether it be at 50 or 55 or 65. When I say that I want to retire early, my colleagues look at me in horror and ask what would I do, just sit at home and twiddle my thumbs? I tell them that there is more to life than just commuting to work and sitting in a cubicle. Thanks for the article.

  65. Having just returned from Croatia I thought I’d have a look at your photos of that lovely country. They are superb. I count myself lucky to have visited two such scenically outstanding countries as Japan and Croatia this year.

  66. Reblogged this on lolalynwrites and commented:
    2 1/2 years through my retirement, I realized being retired was the best thing that ever happened to me. For one, I was healed of all stress-induced health problems, and the most beautiful thing is the excess weight that I’ve been trying to lose for some 15 years or so, simply melted away until I went down from 82 kgs to 62 kgs. I’m at my healthiest and blessed with the “peace that passes all understanding”! I may have lost my huge source of income and corporate identity but I’m at this place where God wants me to be, relishing my newfound career as a writer and digital technology learner!

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