If anything has been a casualty of the Great Recession, it’s America’s traditional vision of retirement — clocking out at age 65 and settling into a condo in Florida.
Instead, workers today are coming to grips with the very realistic notion that they may work well into their 70s.
But is that really such a bad thing?
“As people not only live longer, but continue to feel healthy, why slow down? The rocking chair is out, entrepreneurship is in,” says Budd. “Older Americans are driving much of the growth in new businesses. People want to feel productive, regardless of age.”
Here are a few smart reasons you may want to rethink your retirement plans:
1. It will make you fat.
Researchers have found a link between approaching retirement age and expanding waistlines.
“People who are close to retirement age show the highest rates of weight gain and obesity,” write the authors of “The Effect of Retirement On Weight,” published in the Journal of Psychological Science.
More than 37,000 individuals aged 50 to 71 were analyzed over a 10 year period. Retirees averaged a 0.24 increase in their Body Mass Index.
“Given the increasing number of people approaching retirement age, the population level impact of the weight gain ascribed to retirement on health outcomes and health care system might be significant,” they conclude.
2. You’ve relied on your partner for financial security.
In the same University of Missouri study, Prof. Yao found spouses who retire around the same time could be setting themselves up for financial failure.
“It makes sense that many married couples would want to retire around the same time,” Yao says. “However, if both spouses decide to retire close to the end of an up market, the household would have little to no cushion should their retirement portfolios be affected by an economic downturn.”
That’s not to say couples can’t sail off into retirement together, but it further drives home the need to carefully plan out each step of the road to retirement — hopefully under guidance from a financial planner or at least with a carefully calculated retirement savings goal in mind.
3. You’re only following the crowd.
“I have spoken with many retirees who retired because that was the logical thing to do, or because all their friends had crossed over to retirement, leaving them to be the unbearable odd man out,” says Jim Heafner of Heafner Financial Solutions, Inc.
But “some never find the satisfaction that their work provided,” he says. “Others retire only to discover that they weren’t financially prepared. They learn firsthand how small the job market is for 60-year-olds. Typically, they cannot find a job that pays nearly as well as the one they just retired from.”
4. It can lead to early death.
In a study led by University of Zurich economist Josef Zweimuller, researchers found groups of blue collar workers who retired three years earlier than a control group had far higher mortality rates. In fact, for every year of early retirement, they shaved about two months off their lives.
Zweimuller and his fellow researchers attributed the trend to decreased mobility, which, including aforementioned weight gain, can lead to depleted cardiovascular and mental health.