January 29, 2018

Q: Is retiring early a good way to live longer?

A: Only if it causes you to do more of the what's good for your health and less of what's bad for your health (and you already know what those things are).

(NYT.)

85 comments:

Original Mike said...

”Is retiring early a good way to live longer?”

Yes, when the meaning of the word “live” is understood properly.

robother said...

No more free donuts in the lawyer's lounge. So I've got that going for me.

Fernandistein said...

Q: Is treating your readership as if they were 6 years old a good way to sell advertising?

A: Time for recess!

KK Kraska said...

Switch to decaf and lower your BP by stopping your NYT subscription. Go for walks even in the winter, but not in sandals.

dreams said...

I know it's worked best for me, less wear and tear on my body and less stress. Live longer, it's a counterfactual?

Expat(ish) said...

Train to run or ride or swim long distances. You'll feel like it's longer.

-XC

PS - Old joke, but have you ever swum 3+ miles in a 25m pool? Feels like an eternity.

Big Mike said...

Things I've learned since retiring:

1) Sleeping in is good.

2) If it doesn't get done today, there's always tomorrow. But this is a trap! "Tomorrow" can add up to weeks and months if one lets it.

3) Not putting on a sport coat and tie is a good thing. But you still have to put on pants and a shirt.

4) Watching where you spend your money and what you spend it on is a good thing. I have lots of time to fix things that I once had to pay to replace (because in the 21st century paying someone else to repair it cost more than buying new). Related, it may take me a week to paint my deck this spring, but I have that week to spend.

5) Since I'm in my seventies I have to take an annual required minimum distribution (RMD) from my IRA. Thanks to Donald Trump the RMD has gone up for 2017 (because my investments have prospered) but my 2017 taxes will go down from what I paid last year. Bless the man!

6) Wife is a good companion. We always did like to do things together and now we can do more.

7) Life is less stressful; blood pressure is down. Some of this is from moving from nanny state, everyone-is-on-the-make, Washington suburbs to the peaceful Shenandoah Valley.

dreams said...

It's a counterfactual.

Big Mike said...

Old joke, but have you ever swum 3+ miles in a 25m pool? Feels like an eternity.

Not since high school swim team, fifty years ago. And yes.

Big Mike said...

Of course, I retired at age 69, which is not "early" by any means. But I did love my job. Getting up to beat rush hour traffic and putting on a tie, not so much.

Birkel said...

1. Imagine a world in which mathematics dictates the federal retirement programs are bankrupt.
2. Now imagine trying to retire in such a world.
3. Now imagine the NYT trying to tell people retirement might not be good for them.

Some. Assembly. Required.

tcrosse said...

I had been toying with the idea of retiring at 63. Then when the I-35 bridge collapsed into the Mississippi River, blocking my commute, I took it as a sign from Heaven that it was time to hang up the spikes. And I never looked back.

dreams said...

I've already been retired twenty years and my goal is live longer after retirement than the number of years I worked.

Leland said...

In other news that might be worthy for the NYT; if you can see the sun outside with no clouds, the weather is clear and sunny!


If you do more of what is good for your health, regardless of paid or unpaid work load, you should live longer. Accidents are always possible.

Do people really pay money to the NYT for these 100 plus word revelations?

Marcus said...

I retired last June after a change in CEO determined that what I was hired for no longer was needed and that they were paying me too much. So at 62 I took my SS, work part-time training restaurant staffs in a few subjects, and visit the food pantries without guilt. I'll get by.

Peggy Coffey said...

husband and I retired at 55, two years ago. We bought an RV and have been traveling all over the US. We are so much happier now than when we had a mortgage, jobs, responsibilities that we will live to 100.

Comanche Voter said...

Dreams it can be done! My dad was a civil engineer who spent his salaried working life as an employee of various government agencies--Corps of Engineers, Bureau of Reclamation, Navy's Bureau of Yards and Docks etc. At age 55 he hit the Fed's "magic number, Rule of 85". 30 years working for the Feds, and 55 years of age. He retired one day after he found out he could. He lived to almost 96--so 40 years of retirement after 30 years of work.

He retired as a GS 13 in 1963--being paid $13K a year. COLA's in federal pensions are a wonderful thing--his pension the year he died (2004) was just a bit more than $ 40K. So if you are planning to be retired longer than you worked--better work for the Feds.

Etienne said...

Working past 58 is stupid. Cut the fucking cord and let the young people take your place.

Don't let those fuckers die listening to the shit that just won Grammy's.

Oso Negro said...

I was startled to learn that 66% of Americans take Social Security at age 62. I am eligible for that in just 11 months. But I love my work and have no intention of stopping. I have a friend who just retired and he said that a life spent cultivating a sense of self worth based on amusement rather than achievement would serve him well for the rest of his days. I, on the other hand, feel compelled to be productive and figure that my best plan is to work as long as I can. But I have my own business, which is a great blessing. There is no one sitting on my head and I can't be fired.

Bay Area Guy said...

How clueless is the NYT? Yes, If you have enough dough to live without having to work, then, Yes, you should fucking retire!

How to spend all your free time in retirement? Well, that's a separate issue. Some folks are boring and lack creativity, so they don't like free time.

Meade said...

Old news from NYT. I retired when I was 16 and I've never looked back. Life is good.

M Jordan said...

I retired early, got to teach overseas, travel the world, develop software, write a novel, write several hymns, finally articulate the meaning of life (definitively)... and then got diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes so ... I started rigorous walking regimen, lost 60 pounds, am healthier than I was at age 40 ... so ...

Yes, retiring early is good for your health, physical, psychological, and spiritual.

jimbino said...

Retiring early can be good for your health in that it frees you to seek health care in a foreign country where it is much cheaper than in the USSA.

dreams said...

"He retired as a GS 13 in 1963--being paid $13K a year. COLA's in federal pensions are a wonderful thing--his pension the year he died (2004) was just a bit more than $ 40K. So if you are planning to be retired longer than you worked--better work for the Feds."

No COLAs for me, I worked at GE but I'm in my 38th year of stock investing, and my IRA MRDs continue to grow. Another goal of mine is to live long enough that the sum total of my MRDs is more than all the money I earned while working.

Jersey Fled said...

I retired at 57 when my corporate job went away and I didn't really want to find another one. Took a couple of part time jobs that I liked and started a small business, which I sold when I turned 70.

Worked for me.

ALP said...

That settles it - retiring in 5 years at 62!

Bob said...

I just retired at age 63. The LA office of a company I worked for 15 years (plus five as a contractor) closed at the end of 2017. I get several months of severance plus unemployment, and I feel (plus hope) that I've positioned my portfolio for a decent if not opulent retirement.

The previous comments give me a sense that I'm looking into my own future. It's early yet, and I don't miss working at all. Among other things, I rather like that I can read Althouse in the morning now.

I do agree with Big Mike that the abundance of time to procrastinate can be a big trap.

Yancey Ward said...

I retired almost 9 years ago. Best decision, mentally and physically, that I ever made. I eat better and I sleep better, and the lack of stress is a big plus. I could certainly see how some people might take retirement and destroy their bodies, but that is really a choice one has control over.

michaele said...

I guess Andrew McCabe (FBI) must have this article...since he is, as of today, "stepping down".

rhhardin said...

Retire when you want but check that waiting to claim Social Security until 70 1/2 isn't by far your best option. The check is much larger and it's for the rest of your life.

robother said...

It'll be 7 years April. My first year was pure delight, space and time for travel and meditation programs I'd never had since college. Second year, my wife started reminding me about all those bigger honey-dos in the house and yard I'd successfully pled too busy during my career. There were more of those than I'd remembered, Next 2 or 3 summers, I did more manual labor and carpentry than I had since college, and every summer since has seen at least one week-2week project (bought the house in '81--nothing lasts forever).

Especially winter months, my exercise--hiking mountain trails-- is way up. I remember when I was working, the time change every year meant that I left for work in the dark and came home in the dark. On the other hand, I've gotten into cooking competitively with my wife--lots of rich meals and good wines can easily out-balance the hiking. But what a way to go.

Etienne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael said...

rhhardin

Yes, but it is also worth noting the time value of an earlier SS.

Etienne said...

rhhardin said......waiting to claim Social Security...

Don't wait. I started at 62, and haven't spent any of it. It's in my savings account, and piling up. My pensions are enough to live on.

Plus, many of us won't live to be 70, and certainly not 75. So, if you wait, the Government wins.

It's fake news to wait :-)

MountainMan said...

I retired 2 years ago at 65 and my thoughts on retirement are pretty much along the lines of Big Mike at 10:30 AM, with one exception.

I told my employer a year before I retired that I was leaving on my 65th birthday and they immediately reduced my workload, taking me of some big projects that were high stress and long hours. I had worked in IT my whole career for one company (41 years) and had a very responsible position but it involved a lot of hours and a lot of stress. They asked me to do just two things: (1) write down everything you know and (2) make sure all that knowledge gets passed on to others. I spent most of that last year cross-training co-workers and training new employees, which was fun and rewarding. I even got a nice trip to India out of it. No stress, no hassles. It was one of the best years of my career.

Also, I lucked out because the company, in the months leading up to my retirement, announced a voluntary separation program for the very day I planned to retire. I ended up getting paid for another full year and got 5 months free health care. It was like winning the lottery. So, I didn't start Social Security until 66. Glad I waited! If I had retired as early as I could have I would have missed out.

Where I would differ from Big Mike is fixing things. One of my financial advisers gave me some good advice about 7 or 8 years ago: "Don't get hurt. Don't be getting up on your roof. Don't be painting the second story of your house. Don't do electrical work. Hire everything out." His position was that he had seen too many people's retirements ruined by doing things they shouldn't have been doing and ending up with a bad knee, bad back, or something more serious. It was good advice and I have hired everything out - painting, yard work, etc. - since then. Plus, this leaves me lots of time to do the things I want to do - travel, community service, genealogy, and visiting the grandkids.

Retirement is the best job I have ever had. The best thing is that every morning when I get up I get to decide what I want to do that day. I feel right now like I could live forever.

Drago said...

Q: "Is retiring early a good way to live longer?"

Let's ask McCabe.

tcrosse said...

Retirement and Estate Planning would be so much easier if we knew ahead of time when we were going to die.

Bruce Gee said...

Big Mike, my sister and her husband just did the same thing: moved from Vienna VA to the Shenandoah Mountains. They too are finding it smooths out the ups and downs of life. They’ve even got internet down there now. Amazing.

readering said...

Funny thread when we just elected oldest president in history and even older types like Kerry and Sanders are making noises about running against him. (God forbid!)

Meade said...

"Retirement and Estate Planning would be so much easier if we knew ahead of time when we were going to die."

I used an online calculator to learn that I will die in 7 years, 34 weeks, 2 days, 21 hours, 39 minutes.

I'm okay with that except for the part where I'd miss celebrating my wife's 75th birthday and our 17th wedding anniversary.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Big Mike said...”Things I've learned since retiring:...you still have to put on pants and a shirt.”

How long did it take you to learn this?

Birkel said...

When Big talks to Original, and vice versa...

I wish all you retired folks continued delight. Your skills and abilities are hard to replace!

Bad Lieutenant said...

tcrosse said...
Retirement and Estate Planning would be so much easier if we knew ahead of time when we were going to die.

1/29/18, 1:30 PM

Buy your life insurance from Clyde bruckman.

rhhardin said...

At 76 a man's life expectency is 10 years; at 86 it's 5 years.

James K said...

Yes, but it is also worth noting the time value of an earlier SS.

My understanding is that post-65 the adjustments are actuarially unfair (meaning you're penalized in net present value), but of course, if you believe you have a longer-than average life expectancy (and doesn't everyone:)), it might work in your favor.

David said...

I retired at age 54. Glad I did.

Since turning 60 I have been (accurately) diagnosed with:

Leukemia
Atrial Fibulation
Coronary Artery Disease
Stage 4 Kidney Failure
Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis

I do not smoke and have not done so in nearly 50 years. Rarely consume alcohol. BMI 26. Regular exercise. More or less sane. No unusual stress. Socially active, normal friendships, satisfying family life, some challenging volunteer work. Happy marriage. Healthy diet (except Diet Coke).

Yet I have been diagnosed with four different progressive and fatal diseases. The first one (Leukemia) has been in remission for some time. For the rest I am treated to slow the progress of the diseases.

Without modern medicine I have been dead for quite a while. I have Medicare. I never ever complain about "Entitlements."

If one thing does not get you, another will. I am living proof.

David said...

Meade said...

"I used an online calculator to learn that I will die in 7 years, 34 weeks, 2 days, 21 hours, 39 minutes."

I think that's seventeen (17) years, Big Guy. Otherwise try a different calculator.

Plenty of time for many good things to happen.

tcrosse said...

I used an online calculator to learn that I will die in 7 years, 34 weeks, 2 days, 21 hours, 39 minutes.

Is that when they send a couple of guys out to your house to make sure ?

Tim in Vermont said...

Find something to do that keeps you away from the refrigerator and you will be fine.

rhhardin said...

My understanding is that post-65 the adjustments are actuarially unfair (meaning you're penalized in net present value), but of course, if you believe you have a longer-than average life expectancy (and doesn't everyone:)), it might work in your favor.

The goal though is not to get the most money out of the government but to get the largest continuing monthly check. If you die quicker, you won't care. If you live longer, you will.

Original Mike said...

”If you die quicker, you won't care. If you live longer, you will.”

That’s the way I look at it.

Original Mike said...

Blogger Birkel said...”I wish all you retired folks continued delight. Your skills and abilities are hard to replace!”

When I drop by the lab nowadays, I feel like I couldn’t even power up the system. OTOH, I am able to wave them off some dead ends.

Tim in Vermont said...

I figure that if I put off drawing down my savings by drawing early, my kids get more money if I croak early, Uncle Sam takes all otherwise, but my circumstances are unusual.

JML said...

David said: I retired at age 54. Glad I did.
I'm glad you did too! My wife wanted to retire early at age 58. We looked at our situation and agreed 62 was best for both of us. A year and a half ago she got breast cancer. She is fine now - it looks beat down but after that, she is retiring in a year at age 60 and I'll try to hang on until 62. We are now both Feds but not as long as the other person's dad and under a different retirement system so the money ratio is not as good as his. But my wife did get some stock options when she was in private sector (and I was a stay at home dad for four years) and we managed to managed to invest that well. We already bought the 20' RV and are breaking it in. We are looking forward to longer trips. But not full time RV living and probably not longer than two or three weeks at a time. We like our house and view here too. As work goes on my Give-a-Shit meter is growing smaller and my BS tolerance is getting much shorter. I can't retire for another year so I have to be good for one more year. Then I fear what I might say out-loud in meetings. But then again, I'm also looking forward to it.

Francisco D said...

I have 12 weeks until retirement at age 65.

This will be the longest 12 weeks of my life.

This spring I will be a neighbor (20 minutes away) of Michael K. in sunny Arizona.

Did I mention that I am impatient about getting this retirement going?

Anonymous said...

Retired at 53 from Silicon Valley exec-level job.
Saved my life.

Meade said...

I took David's advice, tried a different online calculator and added 18 years to my death date. Proving once again that it pays to shop around.

Now I'm a little worried about outliving my retirement savings which were a little south of a cool mil when Obama left office (though are now well north thanks to Trump letting the markets be great again).

I'm afraid of what my paper money will be like if Liz Warren replaces Trump in 2020. Maybe I should rethink that Alfa Romeo idea and practice my angling skills. At least then I'll be eating catfish instead of cat food in the 2040's.

Clyde said...

For former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the answer appears to be "Yes."

Big Mike said...

How long did it take you to learn this?

@Original, first time a girl scout came to the door selling Samoas.

Big Mike said...

Where I would differ from Big Mike is fixing things. One of my financial advisers gave me some good advice about 7 or 8 years ago: "Don't get hurt. Don't be getting up on your roof. Don't be painting the second story of your house. Don't do electrical work. Hire everything out." His position was that he had seen too many people's retirements ruined by doing things they shouldn't have been doing and ending up with a bad knee, bad back, or something more serious. It was good advice and I have hired everything out - painting, yard work, etc. - since then.

@Mountain Man, your financial adviser gave you good advice, but I already have two titanium knees so my knees can't get any worse. I'm talking fixing nail popouts, unstopping sinks, etc. I used to do my own plumbing but stopped with this house -- everything is PVC so there's no point to knowing how to cut copper and solder. Still, I enjoy mowing the lawn on my John Deere.

The Godfather said...

Why am I not surprised that so many Althouse commenters are retired? They have the time. I bet a lot of the lefty commenters are government employees, commenting on the taxpayers' nickel.

The Godfather said...

My father "retired" from the practice of medicine at 66 when he was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor; he died a week before his 67th birthday.

I retired from the partnership of The Big Law Firm at 60, for a lot of reasons, some good, some bad. But I continued practicing law part time, working mostly from home, for the next dozen years. That was really a great time. I enjoyed my practice, I appreciated the income, but the work didn't seriously interfere with other things I wanted to do. I've enjoyed the last couple of years of "full" retirement, because I was ready for them. Gives me plenty of time to comment on Althouse.

Danno said...

Meade, don't just look at the stock market as a "principal growth" tool. You can also invest in "dividend income" or "increasing dividend" funds, ETFs or directly in such stocks, such as the dividend aristocrats. I have done this with a bunch of pension cash-outs and 401(k)s and have created a dividend juggernaut that creates $50K a year to withdraw without touching any principal. I am your age and haven't started drawing Social Security yet, but probably will by year end.

Etienne said...

rhhardin said...At 76 a man's life expectancy is 10 years; at 86 it's 5 years.

It depends if you were not upwind of the atomic bomb tests in Nevada throughout the 50's and 60's.

Known Unknown said...

Althouse readership is O-L-D.

tcrosse said...

None of us are getting any younger. Not even Cher.

Meade said...

Good advice, Danno. Diversify.

Meade said...

"Althouse readership is O-L-D."

Commenters are, that's true. But the typical Althouse reader is male with at least a college degree and between 35 and 45 years-old.

Meade said...

All time, the readers have been, by far, in the U.S.

followed by:

Canada
Romania
Germany
France
United Kingdom
Australia
Russia
Ukraine
Norway

Today, January 29, 2018, the readers have been in:

United States
Ukraine
France
Brazil
Canada
Belgium
Australia
Philippines
Cambodia
Germany

rhhardin said...

I retired by email. Mail from boss: How do you feel about retiring? Me: Any time is fine with me. Boss: Don't do anything, your last day is Wednesday.

So I was part of a huge restructuring, got severance pay.

Nevertheless still do the same things I did for a job, only no pay.

rhhardin said...

rhhardin said...At 76 a man's life expectancy is 10 years; at 86 it's 5 years.

It depends if you were not upwind of the atomic bomb tests in Nevada throughout the 50's and 60's.


Actually no, if you've lived to 76 you'll probably keep going with the same odds as anybody else. Having lived to that age is a sort of self-selection statistic that gets rid of early killers.

Francisco D said...

I'm not old - just well seasoned.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Francisco D said...

I'm not old - just well seasoned.


So that's why they call you an old fart.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Now I'm a little worried about outliving my retirement savings which were a little south of a cool mil when Obama left office (though are now well north thanks to Trump letting the markets be great again).

I'm afraid of what my paper money will be like if Liz Warren replaces Trump in 2020.


Unless Trump was building markets abroad, then you can thank Obama for the strongest drivers of current growth. International funds outperformed domestic in 2017 and now. Global stability is a good thing.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Sorry to hear about those developments, David. But glad you're doing well enough to get by. Hang in there!

David53 said...

"So if you are planning to be retired longer than you worked--better work for the Feds."

Yep, my wife retired in her late 50s as a GS-13 after 35 years in civil service. She'll turn 60 this year, it's sort of embarrassing how much retirement pay she gets. I know a retired O-6 who is working for DoD as a GS-15. He's 64 and doesn't need the cash but keeps working. That's wrong, he can work as long as he wants in the civilian market but I wish the Feds could force him out so some younger person could step up. But he won't and I don't know why.

I Wonder how much McCabe will get.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

One set of my grandparents are long-lived, the other, slightly less so. The former kept busy/active and/or working into their 80s at least. I expect I could keep working through my 70s and even beyond, but see no need to test fate. I anticipate that I should have enough to retire on by late 50s, might go down to 4 days/week by 68 - a couple years after the nest egg doubles - and then maybe step down to three days/week by 70. Not sure what I'll do at that point but there should be an awful lot of roses to smell if not a 2nd career/business/philanthropic opportunity. I expect I'll have already seen as many places as I'd like to by then but as a natural traveler, that would be the time to catch up on any last-minute missed itineraries and visits. Some people spend retirement completely on board ocean liners drifting from cruise to cruise but that sounds a little cheesy. Maybe a houseboat. Or living aboard a small yachting vessel, physical stamina permitting.

And, oh yeah. If SSI is still around, I'm damn sure taking it. Or as much as I should. If I'm really twice as rich as my needs/wants/desires by that point I guess I could donate it to charity. But no need to encourage incompetent insolvency scenarios for this crucial program by just assuming we should accept its depletion. No way.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Without modern medicine I have been dead for quite a while. I have Medicare. I never ever complain about "Entitlements."

Most mature people understand that Medicare is vital. The way an insurance risk pool works it has to be. Even moreso now that the Trumpians have slashed the participation/inclusion requirements of the young and healthy into the insurance markets.

MountainMan said...

The Godfather said: "Why am I not surprised that so many Althouse commenters are retired? They have the time. I bet a lot of the lefty commenters are government employees, commenting on the taxpayers' nickel."

I've thought the same thing. I have wondered sometime how people - particularly all the "regulars" - find time to comment on here. I don't comment all that often, but I can claim to have read every single post on Althouse since Glenn first pointed me to it in early 2014. That was during over 12 years of work (2004-2016) and now 2 years in retirement. Every. Single. Post. Doesn't mean I always got to them that day; I used to travel a lot and sometimes I would have a couple of days I would have to catch up on. But when I got to wireless or a cell phone signal it is usually the first thing I'd check. I found that whatever was trending in the news Althouse would have a link, some comments of her own, then all the commenters on here get on it. I have read Althouse in airports and hotels all over the world - all across the US and Canada, Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Dubai, India, Singapore, Japan, Korea, and a number of Caribbean isles, even flying over the Pacific.

I love it when she gets up about 4:30 in the morning and starts posting and I already have something to read while I am drinking my first cup of coffee and cooking my breakfast. First page I check every morning.

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, thanks, MountainMan.

I made a new post with your comment.

I'm guessing that you meant "every single post on Althouse since Glenn first pointed me to it in early 2004" rather than "every single post on Althouse since Glenn first pointed me to it in early 2014." Am I right?

Ann Althouse said...

I corrected it in the new post, but if I miscorrected it, I need to fix it.

Bad Lieutenant said...


rhhardin said...
I retired by email. Mail from boss: How do you feel about retiring? Me: Any time is fine with me. Boss: Don't do anything, your last day is Wednesday.

So I was part of a huge restructuring, got severance pay.

Nevertheless still do the same things I did for a job, only no pay.

1/29/18, 5:40 PM


Who would pay you to ham radio with strangers, bicycle, and f*** your dog? Now that's what I call a workplace!

Meade said...

On 79.3% of first-of-the-day blog posts published before 6:00AM the first commenter is: rhhardin.

It's always a good morning when I wake to the laughter of the blogger downstairs, having been tickled by someone's comment.

MountainMan said...

Yes, Ann, I meant 2004. Sorry, just a typo. Even though retired, I have been very busy, a long day.

Yancey Ward said...

I have done a lot of thinking about my most direct ancestors to determine what my course through life is likely to be in my 60 through, hopefully 80s or 90s. On balance, I truly hope that most of my heredity comes from my mother's side of the family. My maternal grandmother died at 76, but it was ultimately lung cancer metastasis that got her from a lifetime of smoking, but other than that, she had as many marbles at the end as she did when I was growing up. My maternal grandfather died at 89 with all his marbles- no noticeable dementia, and really physically active right up until about age 86 or so. And my mother is going to be 70 in May, and while she hasn't really taken care of herself is still quite mobile and just as sharp has she has ever been- no dementia at all. My father's family, though, is another story. My paternal grandfather died in his early 40s from alcoholism. My paternal grandmother died of basic old in her late 70s, but suffered from serious dementia the last 10 years. My father will be 73 in June, and also has dementia as bad or worse than my grandmother had. Come on Mom genes! is my catchphrase.