Many people in the United States today work until they’re 65, and then they retire. However, recent studies have shown that delaying retirement, and staying in the workforce for a longer period of time, can lead to a longer life.
What Does the Study Say?
Researchers at Oregon State University found that people who retired at 66 rather than 65 had an 11% lower chance of dying – from any cause. The research team took a sample of people from the years of 1992 to 2010. Study participants had retired by the time the study concluded in 2010. The group was divided into two categories: those who were retiring for health-related reasons, and those who were retiring without their health playing into their decision. This helped the researchers see whether people who were unhealthy and retiring early as a result could also benefit from staying in the workforce for a longer period of time.
The study’s results were truly amazing. Across the board, people who chose to delay retirement lived longer. “Healthy” retirees who delayed retirement had an 11% lower risk of mortality by the time the study concluded. “Unhealthy” retirees who delayed retirement had similar results – a 9% lower risk of mortality. The results were consistent across different groups of people, from all different walks of life, backgrounds, and industries.
Preparing Psychologically for Retirement
Researchers who were involved with the study believe that individuals who remain active and mentally engaged in their work reap the benefit of longevity. Logically, this makes sense. Staying physically active, even if it’s just getting up to go to work every morning, can help to increase the length of your life. However, it’s the mental aspect that’s especially interesting.
At Goepper Burkhardt, we view retirement planning as more than a dollars and cents game. Planning your retirement lifestyle, and budgeting accordingly, can help you make the transition into this new, unknown season of your life. When we spend the majority of our lives working to climb the ladder, provide for our families, and reach financial goals, retirement can feel like a bit of a shock to the system. We’re no longer caught up in corporate responsibilities. We don’t have a day-to-day agenda. Our lifestyle dramatically changes overnight, and it can be overwhelming.
Most of us want to live long, happy lives, and the question of planning for longevity comes into play. We not only need to ensure that we have enough money to get through the rest of our lives, we also need to plan our lifestyle to encourage consistently fulfilling days, months, and years as we age.
How Can I Continue to Work?
Working, in one capacity or another, can help you to fill your time as you reach retirement age. However, many people are concerned by the idea of staying at their current job, or in their current line of work. Maybe it’s too stressful, or you’ve been looking forward to walking away from the ups and downs of your job for some time. While sticking in your current job for an extended period of time is likely the easiest solution for working longer, you have other options.
#1: You can reduce your time at your current position.
If you love your current job, but aren’t interested in continuing to work 9-5 anymore, you might consider staying on in a different capacity. Consulting, or being a member of your organization’s Board of Directors may be an option. Alternatively, you could ask to work part time, or to have your hours slightly reduced.
#2: You can find a job in a field you’ve always been interested in.
Have you always wanted to teach? Or to work with animals? Look for jobs that you qualify for within these passions, and apply. Although it may feel unusual to change careers this late in life, view this shift as a new adventure. You could have another fulfilling, exciting career ahead of you for many years to come.
#3: Start your own freelancing business.
If you’ve always loved writing, or you enjoy creating DIY projects, you might find some success in freelancing or running your own small business.
#4: Don’t want to work? Volunteer!
In some cases, continuing to work isn’t a comfortable option. If this is your situation, consider picking up part time volunteer work in your community. Whether you spend a few mornings a week at the local animal shelter, or you volunteer at the hospital, you’ll still be tapping into a source that provides personal development, cognitive stimulation, and physical activity.
Work and Your Retirement Plan
If working longer is part of your retirement plan, you’ll need to coordinate several aspects of your finances. From when to take Required Minimum Distributions, to understanding how your pension from your old job works, a financial planner can help. Contact us today to learn more.