The Silver Lining in My “I’ll Never Be Able to Retire” Cloud

As someone who's never made a ton of money, has been self-employed for much of my career, has not been real good about setting aside funds for retirement and is of the generation that will suffer first when the Boomers bankrupt the Social Security and Medicare systems, I long ago reconciled myself to the idea that I'll probably never be able to retire. That sounds like a bummer, but since I don't play golf I don't think it's that big of a deal. And there's this positive aspect of not retiring – I'll probably live longer:

We find that a reduction in the retirement age causes a significant increase in the risk of premature death – defined as death before age 67 – for males but not for females. The effect for males is not only statistically significant but also quantitatively important. According to our estimates, one additional year of early retirement causes an increase in the risk of premature death of 2.4 percentage points (a relative increase of about 13.4%; or 1.8 months in terms of years of life lost)…

The authors trace the effect to negative behavioral changes associated with early retirement and conclude that “32.4% of the causal retirement effect can be directly attributed to smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.”

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