On August 4, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. This law allowed for American workers to contribute a portion of their paychecks into a government ‘trust fund’ for safekeeping until they retire. By doing so, they can continue to financially support themselves as they enter their golden years. According to the National Academy of Social Insurance, “Currently the full benefit age is 66 years and 2 months for people born in 1955 and it will gradually rise to 67 for those born in 1960 or later. Early retirement benefits will continue to be available at age 62, but they will be reduced more.”
Researchers from Cornell University and the University of Melbourne shared the findings of their study linking the increase in male mortality at the age of 62 to early retirement and Social Security fears with the Wall Street Journal. They found that men who retired at 62 were disproportionately prone to die shortly after, than their female counterparts. These findings were consistent with earlier research, such as a 1982 study published in Social Security Bulletin entitled, “Mortality and Early Retirement.” This study compared the mortality rates based on education level.
In both studies, the researchers point to the increased stress men face when they retire at age 62, as well as, sudden inactivity, less financial resources, and changes in healthcare coverage. Men at that age also tend to withdraw from others, use more tobacco, and are at increased risk for chronic illnesses. The researchers suggest that early retirees find activities to engage in, maintain friendships, and keep up with their routine medical care.
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