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As older age populations continue to increase in the US and around the world more studies are conducted that attempt to quantify the benefits and risks of working too long versus stopping too soon. One of the most recent and most credible of these studies, in our view, was conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health. They found that retirement is often associated with a decline in health and that retired people were as much as 40% more likely to have a Heart Attack or Stroke than those who were still working, with the highest increase during the first year of retirement.

We should point out that other studies agree with these findings, but that's not to say everyone is onboard. Some studies show improved health after retirement and others show no impact at all. Our own research indicates the Harvard Study has considerable merit and that retirement is indeed one of life's most "stressful" events, but not everywhere. In some cultures old people are held in high esteem and in others they are viewed as a burden, especially those that have difficulty finding something meaningful to do after they retire. Establishing new social networks is not always easy to do and there are self-image issues involved as well. You don't just retire from your often end up retiring from daily contact with friends and colleagues too.

As you know, we believe everything affects how long you are likely to live and that life expectancy at birth statistics are not as meaningful as life expectancy by age. Some countries rank far higher than others when longevity is measured from age 65 and above...others decline. See stats where you live here:

What's clear about the Harvard data, in our opinion, is that we all need more than just quality healthcare to live long and productive lives. Each of us needs someone to love, something to hope for and something meaningful to do too! Tom LeDuc