Do you long to retire early and enjoy a life of leisure?
Not so fast.
A study from the national Health and Retirement Study followed about 12,000 retirees and found that those who worked part time or on a temporary basis were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart disease, stroke, arthritis and psychiatric problems.
Why? If you think your job stresses you out, researchers say retirement can do it, too.
“The biggest factor here is stress. The loss of your regular working routine can be stressful – and studies have shown that diseases like cancer and heart disease can be stress related,” study coauthor Mo Wang, told O, the Oprah magazine.
That’s not all. Wang told HealthDay:
“There are tons of reasons why working is good for you,” said study co-author Mo Wang, an associate professor in the department of psychology at the University of Maryland. “When you work, you have a daily structure. You may do more physical activity. Working provides financial resources, social context, opportunities to interact and to learn new skills. Working can also be good for self-esteem and nurturing a sense of identity.”
I suppose this means the perfect retirement is a compromise: give up some of the intensity of your go-go-go career but do enough work to maintain a routine and connection to society. As a bonus, that’s also a buffer against your retirement investments going south in a bad economy. But the Health and Retirement Study shows this partial retirement approach is what most of us want — but it’s uncommon:
From the outset, the HRS has consistently shown that three out of every four older workers have said they would prefer to reduce hours gradually rather than retire abruptly. Nevertheless, the most common retirement pattern is from full-time
work to complete retirement. This pattern likely results from employers’ lack of flexibility about work hours (e.g., in accommodating older workers’ desire to work part-time).
Do you intend to stop working completely when you retire? Have you tried it? How did it work for you?
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