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Contrary to popular belief, a recent study suggests that those who retire early may live longer than their counterparts who retire at the traditional age of 65 or older.

According to the study, which was performed by the Tinbergen Institute at the University of Amsterdam, those who retired earlier than age 65 had about a 42% lower risk of dying within five years of retirement than those who had stopped working at the traditional retirement age.
 
The researchers studied a policy put into place by Dutch lawmakers in 2004 that enabled civil servants who had held their position for at least a decade to retire early at the age of 55.  By analyzing the early retirement of civil servants that resulted from this policy change, the researchers were able to estimate the effect of early retirement on the probability of dying within five years.
 
The researchers determined that those who retired later in life actually had a greater mortality risk than those who had left the workforce at 55. This was particularly true among men.
 
Researchers offer theories
 
The researchers came to a variety of conclusions as to reasons for their findings.
 
"After retirement, workers' body and mind are possibly discharged, reducing the probability to die within five years," the report stated. "As men were working more hours than women, work may have been more stressful and demanding for men than for women, discharging men from a heavier weight at retirement than women."
 
Researchers said that there were a number of different conclusions to take away from the analysis, all of which could have an impact on the pension and retirement plans that employers provide to their workers.
 
"Our results have policy implications in the short and long run," the researchers wrote. "In the short run, in times of crisis, companies may consider reducing their workforce by offering early retirement to workers. Retirement of the workforce imposes a cost to pension funds in the form of retirement benefits that are paid."
 
As for the long-term implications, it all depends on when people would become eligible for pensions. If the retirement age was moved to 55, pension funds would have to pay more. However, if countries continue to increase their retirement age to the late 60s or early 70s, there would be a reduced strain on the system due to the shorter lifespan expectancy.