Given the fiscal cliff, Medicare woes and slow economic times, having to work longer before we retire appears to be a given for many men. Some wonder if having to work longer to make ends meet will taint our golden years?
A new study finds that raising the retirement age to increase financial stability does not make men worse off psychologically in the long-run.
Dr. Elizabeth Mokyr Horner, from the University of California, Berkeley found that that individuals go through the same psychological stages as they adjust to retirement, with life satisfaction stabilizing after 70, irrespective of how old they are when they retire.
The study is published online in the Journal of Happiness Studies.
The inevitable raise of retirement age in America is not without precedent as several countries across the globe have enacted similar measures.
Horner investigated the relationship between retirement and happiness in individuals near retirement and afterwards by reviewing international data, especially from the UK and other EU countries as well as health and retirement studies for the U.S.
The data covered a total of 18,345 fully retired men aged between 50-70 years. Horner studied men’s perception of life satisfaction at different time points after retirement.
In the time surrounding retirement, the men experienced a large improvement in well-being and life satisfaction.
A few years after retirement, however, levels of happiness fell rapidly. This happened irrespective of how old men were when they retired. In the long-run i.e. post 70 years, happiness levels stabilized for all.
Horner believe this shows that the timing of retirement is somewhat of a non-factor as the stages of life satisfaction were consistent subsequent to whatever age a man decided to retire.
“A later formal retirement simply delays the well-being benefits of retirement in men, and age of formal retirement is relatively neutral with regard to overall happiness.
“Given the growing fiscal pressures to adjust the age of retirement upwards, it can be inferred from my studies that well-being may be, on balance, affected only marginally – if at all – by such changes.”