Workers Who Delay Retirement May Be Happiest

Once a radical view, working longer as a means to health and happiness is the new reality for many.

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Much has been made of the slow economy forcing older people to stay on the job longer than they’d like. Older workers believe health care costs alone will consume their savings in retirement, and about half plan to keep working for no other reason. But how terrible is this, really?

A growing body of research suggests that staying on the job longer is good not just for your wealth but for your health, too. That was the central premise of my first book with gerontologist Ken Dychtwald, and when we published The Power Years in 2005 this was an under appreciated view.

Today this line of thinking is broadly accepted and often the central tenet of financial firms’ advice to under-saved baby boomers. Working just two or three years longer can shore up your retirement security; it gives you the added benefit of staying busy, connected and relevant, all of which diminish stress and loneliness which are so damaging to mental and physical well being.

Of course, this is the glass half-full point of view. Others note that not everyone is able to work longer. In a post last year I noted:

“A McKinsey study of retirees in 2006 found that 57% quit work for good earlier than they had expected; 40% were forced to quit because of job loss (44%), their own health (47%) or to become a caregiver (9%). In a more recent survey, the Employee Benefit Research Institute found this year that half of workers will retire earlier than planned because of health issues (51%), job loss (21%), caring for a spouse (19%), or obsolete job skills (11%).”

But for those with the choice, the benefits of staying at work are no longer mere conjecture. A study last fall from the American Psychological Association Center for Organizational Excellence found that the top reasons working Americans aged 18 and older stay with their current employers are that their jobs fit well with their lives and they enjoy what they do. These ranked above benefits and pay.

(MORE: If There’s No Inflation, Why Are Prices Up So Much?)

The demographic most likely to cite work-life fit and enjoyment are workers past age 55, according to the study. Some 80% cited job enjoyment while 76% cited work-life fit. That compares to 58% and 61%, respectively, of workers aged 18 to 34.

“Top employers create an environment where employees feel connected to the organization and have a positive work experience that’s part of a rich, fulfilling life,” David Ballard, head of APA’s Psychologically Healthy Workplace Program, said in a release. Increasingly, older workers are the prime beneficiaries and it’s helping to solve the retirement security puzzle.

(MORE: Have Americans Given Up on Saving for Retirement?)

54 comments
CUtoolbox
CUtoolbox

@IslandFCU Makes sense! Too many people look forward to retirement without realizing that working is what keeps us happy and healthy!

JimPackham
JimPackham

%s %s %s "There goes Bill" Its %s to bring some1 new in. %s ThroughTheLookingGlass

flaircleaners
flaircleaners

@TIME is happiness to length of delay proportional? Would love to get out early, but want those extra :)s !!!

czydiamond
czydiamond

Could this possibly due simply to the fact that people who like their jobs will remain longer, while those who despise their work will retire. Of course you will be healthier and happier if you are doing work you like.


John
John

I knew it was time to retire when my boss started manufacturing things she could use against me during reviews.

Fortunately we were a tight knit group and we shared our feelings.  I was able to refute some of the accusations and my co-workers were able to refute others.  

I had planned on working an additional year before I retired.  I made it for another 6 months and then decided I was through fencing with the boss.

I've been retired for about 3 years now and it is amazing how far down my blood pressure readings have gone, so I think my general health has improved.


Marion Marion
Marion Marion

True and especially for men. I did payroll for a large company and noticed that a lot of men seem to die within 2-3 years after their retirement.

Amore Love Nnep
Amore Love Nnep

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Artem Korolev
Artem Korolev

thank you again for stating the obvious TIME. ;P wouldnt be your first time.

Reino Ruusu
Reino Ruusu

I'd say the causation is most probably the reverse. People who are healty and happy in their job retire later.

Mark Anthony Palma
Mark Anthony Palma

I'm 48, and have been on my job for over 29 years. Now, grant it, my knees are shot because of my job. I don't plan to retire until at least 40 years, or longer.

Miles Lacey
Miles Lacey

When I was working as a case manager administering New Zealand Superannuation payments I found that those people who retired tended to decline rapidly in all aspects of their health. That's primarily because, no matter how much they may have disliked their jobs, it did keep them on their toes mentally and give them a sense of identity and purpose.

Les Markowitz
Les Markowitz

Not if you worked for my ex-boss. I was retired 3 years ago ( after 25 years) and haven't worked since. My boss had a brain-computer with no 'delete' button,so when a decision was made that was it. No recourse. However,I'm T G healthy,happy and have an exceptional family who keep me busy. And grandsons, one of whom I'm babysitting right now. Now let me add, that after everyone saying that one must keep active ( or fade away ) after retiring, altho I DON'T have a permanent job, I have the best life, am 68 and still 'karaoke' with my buds. ( I was also a part-time muso for many years). AND I'M CERTAINLY NOT A MILLIONAIRE. I rest ( pardon the pun ) my case.

John A. Schumacher
John A. Schumacher

I will never retire until I cannot work anymore. Why? To walk around the mall and listen to my wife babble????

Hippie Granny
Hippie Granny

Unless you are a teacher. Some of them should retire or move on to another career. They can get very crabby.

lennypr
lennypr

%s %s in %s Definitely but our territories in %s the situation is a chaos now everybody wants their pension back!

hddoger
hddoger

%s %s Good luck and enjoy.. %s

SusanaMNK
SusanaMNK

@TIME @TIMEBusiness Provided one has access to jobs.Hardly a reality where only "young militants" are fostered to occupy professional posts.

Gge.Ga
Gge.Ga

@RonDeanKy @TIME @TIMEBusiness 

 Delaying retirement may not be a choice if there has been poor judgement over the 40 year life span of a normal person.  There are options for tose who may not be wealthy but secure. 

  Move out of the USA is a good start. The USA is one of the most expensive countries vs retirement mioney (Social Security as a prime example) For $2000 a month a couple can have a nice one bedroom home, with a maid once a week, including utilities, dining out a couple times a week and living good...in Mexico. Add in cheap health care, prescription drugs at 75% or more less than the USA and great weather.  There are those who do this every year and more come to Mexico every year.  But you have to plan on something like this and be mentally strong to withstand the outcry from children and family members. Only you can make a choice if you wish to work until you drop dead or begin to enjoy life.