As mentioned, here is the other article that debunked the previous one that says after 55, you'll die early if you continue working.

I have watched a documentary many years ago about this one, where is says that we reach a certain age where our body becomes very fragile, and at the same time, sensitive to changes. This means that much of our muscles tend to get more painful with each use. But the less we use them, the more they get tight and tough - and becomes harder to use the next time.

That is our old-age problem. And we live with it so long and as long as we live.

Read on...

No truth to retirement-lifespan link

Letter from Larry Haverkamp

I REFER to the letter “Retire early, live longer” by Tan Kok Tim (Aug 3). It refers to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s comments in “I don’t think there should be a retirement age: MM” (July 29).

The author claims Mr Lee is wrong to say people should keep working. He argues that people will live longer if they retire early and cites a study by Boeing Aerospace retirees which found that staff who retired at 50 had an average lifespan of 86, and that those who retired at 65 lived to an average age of only 66.8 years.

He says the study found that “for every year a person works beyond age 55, he lives an average of two years less”.
Mr Tan is not correct. Boeing Corporation has put out a one-page paper on its webpage titled: “Let’s retire the rumour about life expectancy.” It explains that the graphs and study attributed to Boeing are a hoax.

The first sentence of the paper is: “An incorrect but alarming chart that claims to show the life expectancy of Boeing retirees has been circulating on the Internet.

“It is not based on fact. There is no correlation between age at retirement and the life expectancy of Boeing retirees.
“We examine data regularly for trends. Our data shows that life expectancy of a Boeing retiree does not depend on age at retirement ... (This analysis) is based on 4,699 random samples over thirty years.”

According to Ms Julie Curtis, an actuary at Boeing: “The idea that working longer will shorten a Boeing employee’s life expectancy simply isn’t true.

“I’ve been looking at the data since 1983, and the length of a retiree’s life is unrelated to the age at his or her retirement. Our retirees tend to live a long time no matter how old they are when they retire.”

Boeing adds: “The first inaccurate life expectancy chart surfaced in the early ’80s, and versions of it have been floating around for years — almost as an ‘urban myth’.”

So, it looks like Minister Mentor’s intuition about working longer to live longer might not be so far off after all. Other research backs it up.

A study published in the British Medical Journal looked at 3,500 workers in the petrochemical industry who retired at ages 55, 60 and 65. It found that employees who retired at 55 had a significantly increased mortality compared with those who retired at 65. It noted, however, that some workers may have taken early retirement for health reasons.

An expert on ageing, Ms Sally Greengross, is chief executive of the International Longevity Centre in Britain, and claims that greater social engagement and involvement is key to improving the health of older people. “Work is a huge part of this equation, and provides mental and physical activity, self-esteem, social interaction and income for many of us. Sudden retirement may not be the honeymoon we expect it to be,” she said.

The director-general of Age Concern, Mr Gordon Lishman, has a similar view. He said: “After stopping work, it is vital for older people to stay mentally and physically active to enjoy a fulfilling retirement.”

My two cents: A worthwhile pastime is writing letters to Today. After completing this one, I feel rejuvenated already.

From TODAY, Voices - Thursday, 05-Aug-2010

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I came upon this article in TODAY daily, and I wasn't paying attention to it, until I saw another article that is actually debunking the 'myth' stated here, or, to be exact, clarified the so-called 'hoax' that this article was based on.

It wouldn't be fun and interesting if you immediately read the other article, so read this one first.

Retire early, live longer
Studies show that you die two years earlier for every year you work beyond 55

Letter from Tan Kok Tim

I REFER to Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s comments in “I don’t think there should be a retirement age: MM” (July 29).

Japanese Nobel Laureate Dr Leo Esaki once spoke on the relationship between longevity and retirement age. He revealed that the pension funds in many large companies such as AT&T, Boeing, Lockheed, Lucent, and so on, are overfunded as many who retire at the age of 65, usually die within two years of retirement.

Separately, Dr Ephrem Cheng of the University of Alberta did an actuarial study of lifespan versus age at retirement, based on the number of pension cheques sent to Boeing Aerospace retirees. It found that staff who retire at the age of 50 had an average lifespan of 86. Those who retire at the age of 65 live to an average age of just 66.8.

This study concludes that for every year a person works beyond the age of 55, he lives an average of two years less.

In other words, Boeing employees who retire at the age of 65 receive pension cheques for only 18 months, on average, before dying. Lockheed, similarly, found that employees retiring at the age of 65 take only an average of 17 months of pension prior to death.

People who retire at the age of 65 or older probably put too much stress on their ageing bodies and minds, such that they develop serious health problems that ultimately force them to retire. With such long-term stress-related problems, they die within two years after they retire.

On the flipside, people who retire early might either be richer or better able to plan and manage the various aspects of their life, health and career well, such that they can afford to retire early and comfortably.

Many of these early retirees still continue doing some work, but on a part-time or project basis, at a more leisurely pace, without the stress of the daily grind.

Most Japanese workers retire at the age of 60 or under. One wonders if this is a factor contributing to the long average lifespan the Japanese enjoy.

The lesson here: As you get older, you should consider planning your career path and financial matters so that you can retire comfortably at an early age, and enjoy a long and happy life in retirement.

On the other hand, if we are encouraged to stay in the pressure-cooker corporate world until the age of 65 or older, it could impact our health and lifespan.

I hope Singaporeans will factor in how stressful their jobs are at work when contemplating at what age to retire. There are hidden costs to not having a retirement age that may not be obvious until it is too late.

So are you retiring early?

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