Monday, June 28, 2004

I'm Not Dying to Retire

And I mean that literally. Most people suspected it, but today's WSJ "special report" on retirement (no direct link yet) discusses a scientific study showing that people who were working at age 70 were 2.5 times more likely to still be living at age 82 than those who weren't working:
It isn't clear from the data how long a person needs to continue working beyond the regular retirement age to reap the benefits to longevity, but it appears that the longer you continue working, the better:
The article also notes that "work" in these older years includes volunteering, while staying "active" and involved with family and friends doesn't cut it:
But for those workers who find themselves miserable in their jobs and can't wait to retire, the Israeli study did offer some hope. It appears that the same level of protection offered by paid work also can be obtained by doing unpaid work -- essentially, extensive volunteering that amounts to a regular job. The study found that busy volunteer workers were also more likely to be alive than their fully retired counterparts.
This study just solidifies my plans not to ever retire. I was "retired" when I was unemployed for half a year in 2002 and I hated it. And this was while I was in my mid 30s, in good health, and in fairly good financial shape. Simply stated, I was bored out of my mind, and I don't see that changing in 35 years.

So my plans are to keep "working" in some capacity until I drop. More than likely this will probably mean some sort of consulting once I am forced into retirement, but who knows what the labor landscape will look like in 30+ years. A different article in the same section noted that the ratio of workers to retirees will be down from today's 4-to-1 to 2-to-1, so with Social Security being insolvent by then, maybe the government will give companies special incentives to hire and retain older workers. If I'm lucky I'll have my own business and can run it as the old curmudgeon, but no matter what I do, I don't see myself stopping work.

In the mean time I know people who are literally counting down the days until their retirement. I just hope I can carve time out of my work schedule to go to their funerals.

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