The Mortality Effects of Early Retirement


Is an early retirement the proverbial of kiss of death? A newly published study seems to suggest so. The study carried out by Oregon State University shows a strong correlation between the early takers of retirement benefits and a jump in their mortality rates. The earlier you start, the higher the likelihood that you are going to die early. The jump in mortality was more pronounced in men where there was a 20% increase in mortality for those that retire early.

The study seems to suggest a strong link between early retirement and an increase in mortality risk. The researchers do not discount the fact that the higher mortality rate for this demographic could also be due to preexisting conditions that force many of the early takers to retire early. The study factors this in and high mortality rates for early takers were seen in both healthy and unhealthy retirees. This means that even those who retire early as a lifestyle choice are still likely to die earlier.


Wealth Management, Retirement planning

Why isn’t it just poor health?

Poor health is one of the top reasons for early retirement so the researchers moved to mitigate that factor early on in their research by factoring in the impact of early retirement on healthy retirees. The result showed that a longer time in the workplace seemed to lengthen the lifespan of the respondents regardless of their health status.

The study divided the respondents into the healthy and unhealthy retiree categories, basing this on whether health challenges had influenced their decision to retire. About 67% of the respondents reported being healthy while a third of the respondents said they were unhealthy.

The study was carried out over a period of 18 years between 1992 and 2010 and during that duration, 25.6% of the unhealthy retirees died compared to 12% of the healthy retirees. The study then factored in the healthy group’s finances, lifestyle and education and found that healthy retirees who had worked one year longer (aged over 65) had an 11% lower risk of dying from all causes.  Even the unhealthy group who delayed their retirement by one year reduced their mortality rate by 9%.

Of course, this may not likely apply to everyone but working longer seems to bring numerous social and economic benefits that have a positive impact on our lives and eventually help lengthen our life spans.

There seem to be great health benefits in being more engaged and active.

What are your plans for retirement? Are you active and engaged with your community? Do you plan on learning a new skill? Volunteering? Taking classes at your local college? Joining a board? Working part-time? Mentoring? The possibilities are endless. Stay active and healthy!

For information on how to plan for a financially healthy retirement, contact us today!