What are the effects of retirement

When someone retires, their life changes drastically. For some, the stress and physical toil are eliminated. For others, retirement means the loss of social contacts and an activity with which they identify strongly. A researcher has now found out which effects predominate, one of the factors that determine life and death. For example, with middle and high earners, retirement often increases mortality.

Employees are very different. Some feel used up and want to quit early. On the other hand, those who are attached to their job and do not toil physically want to stay active longer - and are annoyed that the contract in the company automatically ends at retirement age. Matthias Giesecke from the RWI Institute for Economic Research has now determined from pension insurance data: Depending on which employee group you belong to, the retirement age has a significant effect on survival. That emerges from an unpublished study carried out by the Süddeutsche Zeitung is present.

In the case of low-income earners, the positive effect is 40 percent stronger

For men who leave the profession at 63, mortality falls by one to three percent in the first twelve months. The effect is greatest for the unemployed, probably because as retirees they shake off the social stigma of not having a job.

At 63, however, the group of retirees is dominated by those who previously did manual routine jobs. This work is often physically demanding, stressful and risky, for example in construction, transport or cleaning. If these workers stop, it is good for their health. Also because the mostly below-average pay particularly value the additional free time and see their job as less of a self-affirmation. In the case of low-income earners, the positive effect of reduced mortality is 40 percent more pronounced than in the case of retirees with 63 overall.

These results show that the federal government did physically toilers a favor by introducing the controversial pension at 63 after 45 years of professional life. The effect of early retirement on mortality is small compared to that of smoking and heavy alcohol consumption, but it is there. However, other studies show that leaving a physically demanding job should not be confused with inactivity. Those who just sit in front of the television are damaging their health.

Sport, volunteering or a less strenuous part-time job have a positive effect on physical and mental abilities.

For high earners, retirement often means a loss of prestige

The situation is different for the better paid half of the employees. They earn more than 30,000 euros a year, work for the state more than average and dominate the group of those who retire at 65. If they leave at that age, their mortality increases by almost three percent for men and by four and a half percent for women. Why?

For these employees, leaving often means a loss of prestige. The mortality rate also increases due to the fact that social contacts are lost. The politically controversial increase in the general retirement age to 67 by 2030 is likely to do these workers a favor. For many of them, it also has a positive effect if they continue to work in some form after their usual retirement, for example part-time. This would counteract the loss of professional identification and social isolation, which increase mortality. The ideal of the earliest possible retirement, which has developed in the Federal Republic over decades: It does not fit everyone.