Sound financial planning is not only great for your bank balance—it could actually enhance your life expectancy. If you’re reading this then you most likely don’t need to be convinced of the benefits of looking after your wealth, but here’s an additional motive to add to the list.
The notion of retiring early can be very attractive. For some, it will already be a reality, while astute saving and investment may mean it’s entirely possible for those at the consideration phase. Research now suggests that an early retirement can actually also extend your life. Economists from the University of Amsterdam published a 2017 study in the Journal of Health and Economics which proved that male Dutch civil servants over the age of 54 who retired early were 42% less likely to die over the following five years, compared to those who carried on working.
Researchers put this life-extending phenomenon down to two main factors. First, when you retire you have extra time to invest in your health. Whether that means you find more time to exercise, more time to sleep or simply more time to visit a doctor when a health problem arises, you’ll see the benefit.
Secondly, work can be a large contributor to stress, creating hypertension which is in turn a big risk factor for potentially fatal illnesses. In the study, pensioners were shown to be appreciably less prone to fall victim to strokes or cardiovascular diseases.
Of course, there can be benefits to staying in work too. Involving yourself in a work environment is a great way of keeping your mind and body active. Furthermore, being part of a team helps develop and maintain a sense of purpose and belonging that is essential to cognitive health and development.
That’s not to say that all these benefits can’t be attained outside of work—the solution is to find a cause, interest or hobby to involve yourself in. As is so often the case, there’s no single answer. It’s essential to find the best path for you, whether that’s going part-time, retiring early or staying in work. Whatever you decide, use your time intelligently as it could have a big bearing on how long your retirement turns out to be!
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