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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