While many are thinking about working longer to put some extra cash for retirement in the bank, a medical team claim people who retire early enjoy better health and live longer.
That sets a conundrum for retirement savers.
If they retire early and live longer, they may not have enough money to fund a comfortable retirement as their funds run out before they die.
On the other hand, working longer to put more money aside for retirement could mean they are not so healthy once they give up their job and live a shorter life.
The theory from a team of Dutch researchers was based on a group of civil servants who were all granted early retirement in 2005.
Health benefits of stopping work
They had to be aged 55 or over and with no less than 10 years continuous service.
The study found that men who retired early were 2.6% less likely to die in the next five years than those who stayed at work.
Similar investigations in the USA, UK, Germany and Israel all concluded that retiring early had positive health effects. The American study found that retiring early reduced the risk of diabetes and heart attacks by a fifth.
Medical evidence suggests illness in retirement can be due to loneliness or isolation and a US study highlighted that those giving up work early were less likely to suffer depression or loneliness, while physical workers like builders who are used to heavy exercise because of the nature of their jobs are more likely to become obese in retirement.
Linking improved health with retirement
Linking early retirement with better health is not always obvious as many people give up working because of failing health. This can give a false impression that retirement leads to poor health and early death.
The studies also indicated that having more time in retirement to exercise contributes to a healthier lifestyle and living longer.
Balancing the need for saving enough money for retirement against surviving more years with good health is not an easy choice.
But, as the saying says, there’s no point ending as the richest man in the graveyard.