Retiring early can make you depressed and unhealthy, as well as poor, according to a new study by the Institute of Economic Affairs, a British think tank. The IEA looked at micro-level data from 11 countries on the physical and mental health of retirees. Here were some of the report’s findings:
– Retirement increases the probability of suffering from clinical
depression by about 40 per cent
– Retirement increases the probability of having at least one
diagnosed physical condition by about 60 per cent
– Retirement increases the probability of taking a drug for such
a condition by about 60 per cent
This data should be taken with a grain of salt. The IEA is a free market think tank with an interest in raising the pension age. Moreover, as with any study, it’s not always clear how the correlation/causation dynamic plays out. Does retirement make people unhealthy, or does being unhealthy lead people to retire?
Nevertheless, this data reinforces our point from yesterday: Work is an essential aspect of human life, one of the things that fulfill us as human beings. There is a basic human desire to contribute to society, so we grow depressed and feel listless when we’re not doing that.
While we don’t want to read policy directives right out of this research, the general principle, that work is important for people of all ages, should always be in the background of our thinking about retirement and employment more broadly.
[Woodworking image courtesy of Shutterstock]