Is it that men who retire early do so because they are unhealthy, or is it that men who retire early die prematurely because they are healthier when working? A recent article in The Daily Mail, "Retiring early could kill you – especially if you're a man,” cites an additional study that also shows a link between early death and early retirement.
The link between premature death and premature retirement is stronger among men. They have a 20% higher mortality risk. They have a 20% higher mortality risk, if they start claiming Social Security benefits at 62, which is three years premature. Researchers believe it could be due to workers forced to take early retirement, due to underlying health issues.
However, there’s no data to show that people who retire early die sooner than those who keep working past 65.
The research was conducted by economists Maria Fitzpatrick and Timothy Moore and entailed analysis of birth and death records for the entire US population. This was compared to data on claims for pensions, looking at each claimant's gender and age, and subsequent mortality.
The researchers found that a third of Americans start taking Social Security benefits at 62, which is thought to be early retirement for most employees. For those whose retirement technically started at 62 or earlier, retiring at 62 didn’t have an effect on their health. However, the study found that those who retired early at 62, had a significantly higher mortality rate than workers who retired on time.
Fitzpatrick and Moore concluded that early retirement “may have an immediate, negative impact” on health.
This isn’t the first study to find this connection. In 2016, researchers at Oregon State University found that those who work past age 65 added more years to their life than those who retired at 65.
Reference: Daily Mail (December 19, 2017)”Retiring early could kill you – especially if you're a man”