Retirement is, to say the least, fashionable. It is a symbol of wealth and, oftentimes, is touted as a move of intelligence, too. “After all,” retirees say, “who can stand to have to work all their lives?” And for some, this idea of retiring early and, I don’t know, playing golf, sounds like their idea of perfection. But just because everybody says it is the right move doesn’t necessarily make that true. Aside from the many people who cannot afford to retire, there is also a fairly large demographic of individuals who simply are better off not retiring. Some people are healthy enough to continue full employment into their 70s, 80s and even their 90s. What if you love what you do? What if your work helps people? So, why stop then? Well, there’s no reason to. And here’s why:
Emotional fulfillment is greater
Working can be a major source of happiness, especially in your later years. In short, work is a really great way of giving people purpose. Sometimes when people retire, they sit around doing nothing all day or just watch reruns of Frasier on Netflix (or something of that nature. Maybe The Dick Van Dyke Show). This is majorly bad for one’s mood. But still, people often fall into this retiree trap of do-nothingness. On the other hand, with work, you are keeping busy and not just wasting away inside the four walls of your house or apartment.
Ken Lopaty, 87, has spent the last 55 years working at McDonald’s; currently, he owns seven franchises across Los Angeles. Lopaty says that working, for him, is not only about the physical, but “the mental.” He notes: “It has helped me stay healthy by continuing to exercise my brain every single day. Most people I know who have retired have truly aged much quicker because they don’t have many things that fill their time.” Dr. Susan Besser, a primary care provider specializing in family medicine in Overlea, Md., can corroborate Lopaty’s story: “People who retire,” she told the Washington Post, “become more isolated … and socialization is very important to mental and emotional health. Retirees don’t have the daily social interactions, not to mention the daily routine to help with mental and emotional stability.”
Additionally, by working longer, you can save more money. According to the Washington Post “delaying retirement by three to six months has the same impact on the retirement standard of living as saving an additional one percentage point of labor earnings for 30 years.”
Physical health benefits
Did you know that if you don’t retire, you will be able to lift a full-grown adult male bison in each hand by 75, guaranteed? Well, OK, maybe not that. But studies do show that working longer tends to result in greater health. Personal finance expert Jean Chatzky of NBC’s “Today Show” did a segment on the benefits of not retiring. She found that “people who continued to work past 65 had an 11 percent lower chance of death from all causes.” Studies have shown that retirement also can raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.
You’ll get bored
When you are retired, every day is Saturday. But when every day is a Saturday, there is also the risk of having zero real-feeling Saturdays. We all had that friend who was always free and ready to rock when we were studying. At the time, we probably envied that person, but we should have learned a lesson from them instead. Having all of your time be free time is not always so much fun. It can be straight-up boring. The reason that we enjoy our weekends so much is because we work very, very hard throughout the workweek. It feels like we really “earned” our leisure time. The idea that a life of leisure and a total lack of all responsibilities is the ideal state for happiness may be misguided. At least, for some of us it is.
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