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Retire at 65? How about 85 instead

May 07, 2013|By Alexandra Le Tellier
  • More Americans think they won't be able to afford to retire at 65, according to a new study.
More Americans think they won't be able to afford to retire at 65, according… (Michael Osbun / Tribune…)

More Americans are planning on working past the conventional retirement age of 65 because they think they won’t be able to afford to retire. The longer you work, goes the thinking, the longer you have to pad your nest egg. That’s according to a new survey by insurer Northwestern Mutual, which The Times’ Walter Hamilton wrote about Tuesday.

Judging from the reactionary comments on Twitter, not everyone takes to this idea of working into life’s twilight years. I couldn’t disagree more.

Sure, people may want to have the option of slowing down in their 70s and 80s, or focusing on elements of their career where they thrive the most, but I can’t imagine why anyone who has the choice would willingly drop out of the workforce. It sounds like a punishment, if you ask me. Maybe traveling around the country in a Winnebago for a year sounds appealing, but then what?

POLL: Are the Rolling Stones too old to rock 'n' roll?

You deteriorate.

“As a geriatrician, I've come to believe that working longer is generally a good thing,” wrote Katherine Schlaerth in a 2011 Op-Ed that ran in our Opinion pages.

“Most people just plain do better, both intellectually and physically, when they continue to work. I've observed many times that mature patients who quit working -- whether they have been laid off or retired voluntarily -- are likely to gain weight, become hypertensive and even develop depression,” she argued.

Schlaerth went on to shed light on studies that back up her experiences, concluding:

“From my end of the exam table, I'd say younger people shouldn't worry about having to work longer. Increasingly, it has become obvious that the old dictum 'use it or lose it' definitely applies where humans are concerned.”

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Follow Alexandra Le Tellier on Twitter @alexletellier

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