Retiring may not be all it’s cracked up to be — depending on how you view it. If you envision reading and whiling away your days doing things you enjoy, you could be right. If you are not sure of what you are going to be doing once you retire then you should begin working that out as soon as possible.
Keeping fit and healthy is essential to both body and mind as you age. But what effect will stopping all your usual activities have on your health and, in particular, your mental wellbeing?
There is an ongoing worry in the United States about lengthening life expectancies. People are living longer than ever before. One of the reasons is the advances in medical science over the last century, combined with increased awareness of the benefits of preventive measures like nutrition and exercise.
This has had a knock-on effect on health care and pension systems, which has led the American government to push back the statutory retirement age. The concern is that there is not enough to pay for everyone to retire early.
In fact, Social Security currently pays out more in benefits than it collects in payroll taxes. Since 2010, the Social Security fund can’t cover payments for the baby-boom generation that started to retire and it is believed that our Social Security pot will be completely exhausted by 2042.
The effects of retiring on your health can be quite significant. For one thing, most retirees tend to be less physically active than when they were working. Just think of it in terms of numbers of steps taken if nothing else.
For many, their physical and mental health declines once they retire. Research shows that full retirement results in 34 percent of people with lessened mobility. There is a marked increase in illness overall as well.
The mental health aspect cannot be overlooked. Fully retiring worsens mental health by up to 14.5 percent. Many seniors report a feeling of lessened purpose in life or an increase in “blue spells” or sadness during retirement. Living out your supposed golden years in a malaise of depression is not what you deserve from life.
As it is, retiring can lead to difficulties associated with activities of daily living (ADL). Over 60 percent of retirees report struggling with this once they leave the workforce.
A decline in being physically active as well as speaking with other people less due to diminished social engagements and interactions could lead to a serious health impact. Studies have shown that perhaps retiring later could solve part of the problem. Working for longer means you are active longer and your brain and mind are also challenged far more regularly. This protects against cognitive decline over the years.
“The best way to prepare for retirement is to invest wisely, so you’ll have the resources you’ll need, no matter what situation arises,” says William Campbell, Senior Vice President, Investments at David Lerner Associates.
And if you do decide to retire no later than originally planned, be sure to stay active — go for walks, engage in social activities, eat well, etc. so that you can keep any of the negative health side-effects at bay.
Material contained in this article is provided for information purposes only and is not intended to be used in connection with the evaluation of any investments offered by David Lerner Associates, Inc. This material does not constitute an offer or recommendation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered in connection with the purchase or sale of securities.
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