19 March 2008

Early retirement makes you live longer? Or kills you? Who knows?

"Staying on the job five extra years lowers your risk of dying by ten percent." -- on a local TV newscast.

The point here is that early retirement causes one to die earlier, even if you're healthy. That seems believable.

But we all have, of course, a one hundred percent risk of dying.

Presumably they meant that it lowers the risk of dying by ten percent per year. I don't want to try to get more data from that, though, because even that's a big assumption; the numbers in this context might be meaningless.

What I would want is a statement of the form "staying on the job five extra years raises your life expectancy by X years". (For what it's worth, a bit of poking around the internet doesn't give a value for X, but does give the impression that some people think X is negative.)

4 comments:

michaeldcassidy said...

I wonder if anyone weeded out those who retire early because they are sick. I do believe that retirement early or late could lead to substance abuse through boredom.

Anonymous said...

My bet is that if someone loves his job and keeps it longer, he will live longer, but if he hates his job and just can't afford to retire, he will live less. It all depends...

unapologetic said...

What about the converse? Say you've got a job that lets you retire on paper (let's call it "emeritus") at 65, but you can still hang around and work with even less demands on you into your 70s? Oh, and you get to wear silly hats when the weather is bad too.

jd2718 said...

Where's the cause? Where's the effect?

Poor health may lead one to die earlier and to retire earlier.

Maybe supervisors are more likely to encourage healthy, chipper, cheerful types to stay on extra years (directly, or just by smiling at them more).

Jonathan