Delaying retirement may help you live longer

Delaying retirement may help you live longer

Accepted wisdom has always been that people who retire early live longer, but is that really the case?

Research currently being carried out suggests the opposite. Analysis of records of more than one million pensioners in occupational schemes indicates that for every year that members delayed retirement between the ages of 60 and 70 average life expectancy increased by approximately one month.

Researchers from the University of Glasgow and pensions consultancy Hymans Robertson has received funding to examine this question and the issues that surround retirement choices and longevity.

The two year project will link data with NHS patient records to identify factors that affect life expectancy. This is very relevant to the fact that an increasing proportion of the population are now in retirement putting all pension schemes under increasing and unsustainable pressure.

This seems to indicate that postponing retirement seems an obvious solution. However, there is currently insufficient information about the factors that encourage, or discourage, people from retiring later – and the health and wealth implications of such decisions.

Dr Daniel Mackay of the University of Glasgow and the university, lead researcher in the project, states “It is likely that both the decision making and outcomes vary according to the socio-economic status of the individual.

Encouraging people to retire later in life may impact on both health and wealth inequalities. Understanding these issues is essential to informing the actions of policy makers and employers.”

The project “Exploring the impact of pensions on working lifetimes and subsequent longevity” has received a research grant worth £592,000 – 80% of which comes from the Medical Research Council – and a further £402,000 from Hymans Roberts.

We await their findings with much interest.

by Tina Foster