A Common Choice that Could Diminish the Best Years of Your Life…

Are you ready to retire? Don’t be too eager…

On March 9, 2018, the bull market celebrated its ninth birthday. Hopefully your investments have followed right along.

You’ve gone over the numbers. You have a plan in place to make sure you don’t run out of money. You’re sitting pretty.

Now you’re ready for retirement… that point in your life when you can spend as much time as you wish with the family, on the golf course, or traveling.

Time to tell the boss to take this job and shove it… right?

On the surface, it might look like a no-brainer.

But if we look at it from a non-financial prospective, retirement can come with certain risks…

In fact…

Early retirement may be dangerous to your health.

A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health found that people who waited one year past age 65 to retire were 11% less likely to die early.

And the Institute of Economic Affairs in the UK reported that retirement increases the chance of getting diagnosed with a physical condition by 60% and suffering from clinical depression by 40%. Plus the chances of requiring medication jumps by 60%.

Another study, this one in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, revealed that men who take Social Security as early as possible have a 20% increase in mortality risk.

Postponing retirement also delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

But don’t forget…

The Fun Factor

41% of Americans don’t use all their vacation days. And 83% do work-related activities when on vacations.

This workaholic mentality can carry into retirement. And becoming time affluent presents a problem for many.

Consider this: Retirees have more time to have fun — 7½ hours a day compared with working adults, who have only around 4, according to a Merrill Lynch and Age Wave study.

But many are at a loss for how to fill that time, which helps explain why the average retiree watches 48 hours of TV each week, according to Nielsen.

It’s easy to understand how older adults can forget to have fun… they feel guilty!

After all, they’ve worked for 30-40 years to pay off mortgages, putting children through school, and taking care of aging family members. To switch to a mode of having fun and being impulsive isn’t part of their makeup.

Once they retire they aren’t as motivated to stay active. That can lead to overeating, which can result in other problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and arthritis.

And without something to provide mental stimulation they can experience depression and a decline in cognitive function.

Is there a good balance between work and play?

At least one study found that there is…

Researchers at the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research examined 6,500 working adults who were on the job a range of hours each week. They were given several cognitive function tests to do within a set time, including reciting lists of numbers backwards, reading words aloud, and matching letters and numbers.

Their performance improved with every hour of work, until they reached 25 hours a week. That’s when the results slowly started to decline.

At first the decline was very marginal, and there was not much of an effect as working hours rose to 35 per week. Once they passed 40 hours, the decline was much more rapid. Those participants who worked 55 hours or more performed worse than unemployed and retired people.

Are you up to changing course?

Before you make the decision to clock out for the last time, plan for what you’ll do when you retire even more carefully than you did for life leading up to this point.

How will you replace the going out to lunch with coworkers and the daily routine that came from your job?

Non-working retirees in the Merrill Lynch survey said it wasn’t the reliable income they miss the most. It was the social connections.

And 75% of working focus group participants recommended that anyone considering retirement should be open to trying something new… something they truly enjoy… such as turning a hobby into a source of income.

You may find that your new direction will be more flexible, more fun, and less stressful and boring than your job was.

Rather than defining yourself by your work, define yourself by what you do with your newfound leisure time.

You might take a career intermission — a time to relax, recharge and get a feel for what retirement is really like.

Sure, as long as you’re prepared financially, retiring early is attractive. But don’t forget the emotional adjustments that you must make to avoid losing a sense of purpose and satisfaction.

So include a plan to replace the mental stimulation, social contacts and physical activities that are part of your job.

And you’ll be set to enjoy what could easily become the most exciting phase of your life.

To a richer life,

Nilus Mattive

Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap

The Daily Reckoning