Sunday, June 12, 2011

Serious Medicine meets the economic crisis: If you can't afford to retire till your 80s, it will help to be healthy

Robert Powell, writing for MarketWatch, makes this provocative assertion: Many of us will have keep working into our 80s to afford "retirement," what remains of it, after that:

We all think it’s a panacea. If you don’t have enough money saved for retirement, you’ve got a few ways to close the gap between what you have and what you need in your nest egg: Save more, invest more aggressively, and/or work longer.

Well, it turns out that working longer is indeed an option, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute latest study. The only problem is that the latest research shows that you’ll have to work much longer than you anticipated. In fact, many Americans will have to keep on working well into their 70s and 80s to afford retirement, according to the study, titled “The Impact of Deferring Retirement Age on Retirement Income Adequacy.”

Needless to say, not everyone will agree with these bleak conclusions, but as we read the grim economic news--falling stock prices, falling real estate values--we are all free to draw our own conclusions about the future economic prospects for the nation.

The Serious Medicine implications are these: If people will need to work for, say, five decades, instead of four decades, then it's their interest, and our interest, for them to be as healthy as possible. And so that means real focus on the chronic diseases that afflict the aging and the elderly--Alzheimer's, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis, for example.   Because if our workforce isn't healthy enough to work, then where does that leave us? 

1 comment:

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