I AM A SONIC BOOMER, NOT A SENIOR... In this blog, I am writing to and for those who believe that the Boomers will change what the word Senior means. I also believe that Boomers will change what retirement means in our society. The blog is also for those who are interested in what life after retirement may look like for them. In this blog I highlight and write about issues that I believe to be important both for Seniors and working Boomers.
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Ever heard the saying "retire and die" its not true!
We have all heard the saying known as ''retirre and die'' - the belief that men who retire early die sooner. And it is said to be backed by evidence. In one often-cited but rarely seen study the Shell Corporation is said to have found employees who retired at 55 were nearly twice as likely to die in the next decade as those who kept working. However, the age one retires makes no difference to when a person dies, an Australian and Norwegian study has found. The results, based on 20 years of population-level data, suggest politicians grappling with the challenges of an ageing population can extend people's careers, without hastening their death.
But evidence of a solid link has been hard to find, in part because ill-health is one of the reasons people retire early.
Now Australia's Centre of Excellence in Population Aging Research believes it has cracked the puzzle.
In new research released in September, it says there is no such effect. Men who retire early are no more likely to die at any age than those who stay working
The lead Australian author John Piggott had to get around what he called ''confounding influences''.
''Some people retire early because they are ill. Six months later they die. But they didn't die because they retired early,'' he says.
''Some people retire early because their firm has shut down. They are demoralised and depressed, they face financial stress and their social networks break down. But they didn't necessarily die early because they retired early, it might have been because of the way it happened.''
Professor Piggott and researchers from Norway took advantage of a ''natural experiment''.
In 1989 Norway introduced an early retirement program that covered some firms and not others. About half its private sector employers steadily cut the minimum age for access to retirement benefits from 67 to 62. The others did not. Years on, the data shows no statistically significant difference in death rates up to the age of 70.
''It means you can leave work without worrying about losing years; do whatever works for you,'' Professor Piggott says.
Since retiring at 55, former English teacher Ena Hall has spent three decades travelling and studying. Her 88-year-old husband, John, has become absorbed by painting. Now 83, Mrs Hall agrees the couple's early retirement has been salubrious but attributes this mainly to a change in mindset.
''Being a teacher for 35 years, you're moving when the bell goes and you live to a heavy routine,'' she said. ''I think it's about shelving responsibilities.''
For the government the implications are that it, too, need not worry about hastening death by encouraging people to work longer.
''If it were firmly established that working longer led to an earlier death, policy makers would feel kind of mean,'' Professor Piggott says. He supports delaying the age at which people can access tax-free superannuation.
''Many people retire at 60, get $400,000 tax-free and then three years down the track have only $160,000 and need to get back into the workforce … I would lift the age for access to tax-free super in line with increases in the age for access to the pension,'' he said.