NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Retiring Too Early Bad For Seniors' Health

May 8, 2000

Although the nation's Social Security system is set up for a "usual" retirement age of 65, some analysts warns that able-bodied men and women in their 60s may be retiring too early -- with attendant costs to themselves and society.

  • Florida physician Richard Neubauer notes that many people experience a rapid decline in physical and mental health soon after retirement -- often due to idleness and feelings of uselessness.
  • Bob Buford, author of a book called "Game Plan," points to higher rates of divorce among those who retire too early and find themselves with nothing to occupy their minds or engage their interest.
  • Economist Isaac Erlich has found that high Social Security taxes placed on young earners reduce marriage rates and birth rates -- meaning fewer grandchildren for retirees to lavish attention on.

Medical experts report that today's seniors are the healthiest in history. And they are living much longer. With a lifetime of experience and skills at their disposal, they are valuable workplace assets. These are factors unanticipated when Social Security was fashioned in the 1930s.

Source: William R. Mattox, Jr., "The Able-Bodied Retiree Doesn't Need Our Help," USA Today, May 8, 2000.


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