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Zoomer Report

Health and Retirement

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If you’re thinking of retiring, here’s some evidence for the yes column. Some European research shows it brings most people a big health boost – that’s like turning back the clock 8 years.

That’s how much the self-reported health of the newly retired people improved – according to a study that looked at what 15,000 French workers, had to say about their own health for seven years pre-retirement and for seven years after.

This happy news was true of most everyone except a small minority — only 2 percent — who had experienced “ideal” conditions in their working life.

As participants got closer to retirement age, their perception of their own health declined, but went up again during the first year of retirement.

The study in The Lancet concludes that work puts an extra burden on the health of older workers, but the effects are largely relieved by retirement. This is especially true when working conditions are poor.

People with more authority or better education, complained less than those who had low job satisfaction.

The question is whether these European findings apply here. Retirement can mean a substantial increase in financial stress, which could counteract the positive effects of the removal of work stress at retirement.

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