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Freakonomics Podcast - Retirement Kills
Old 05-18-2012, 12:40 AM   #1
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Freakonomics Podcast - Retirement Kills

This week's shorter Freakonomics podcast cites a study that shows earlier death for BLUE COLLAR workers who retired early. I have not read the original study and can think of many questions that I would raise in analyzing it. But just thought I would give a heads up to the things you may hear about as this podcast plays on NPR with Kai Risdall on Marketwatch.
The podcast like all of them is available for free on iTunes.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:03 AM   #2
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I heard a report on this on NPR the other night as DW and I were driving to see a movie.

IIRC they indicated that the study indicated that ERs lost 2 months of life for every year that they retired early. So here's my rationalization: I retired ~10 years early, so if they are right (and BTW I don't think they are), I'll die about a year and a half sooner than I otherwise would have but have 8 1/2 years more of retirement.

I think I can live with that tradeoff.
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Old 05-18-2012, 07:51 AM   #3
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Do they take into account that some of these early retirements may have been forced by poor health?
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"Hey, for every ten dollars, that's another hour that I have to be in the work place. That's an hour of my life. And my life is a very finite thing. I have only 'x' number of hours left before I'm dead. So how do I want to use these hours of my life? Do I want to use them just spending it on more crap and more stuff, or do I want to start getting a handle on it and using my life more intelligently?" -- Joe Dominguez (1938 - 1997)

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Old 05-18-2012, 07:58 AM   #4
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
Do they take into account that some of these early retirements may have been forced by poor health?
No. A quote from the transcript
Quote:
So the economist Josef Zweimuller, at the University of Zurich, recently did a study that looked at two fairly identical groups of blue-collar workers in Austria. One group that got early retirement up to three and a half years earlier than the other, and what Zweimuller found is that early retirement -- as much as we may crave -- actually has a considerable downside.
Podcast and transcript here Freakonomics Retirement Kills: a New Marketplace Podcast
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Old 05-18-2012, 08:44 AM   #6
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A body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body that stops motion early capitulates ?

Wish they would do a similar study for us "grey" collar workers...
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Old 05-18-2012, 09:15 AM   #7
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Do they take into account that some of these early retirements may have been forced by poor health?
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Originally Posted by MichaelB View Post
No.
The article by the paper 's authors says that they did consider this, and believe that their experimental design takes this into account. How effective that was could be the subject of debate (when confronted with evidence they don't like, social scientists love to start to pick apart the other guy's methods).

Quote:
... we offer a clean empirical design to shed new light on the causal effect of retirement on mortality. To solve the problem of negative health selection into retirement we take advantage of a major change to the unemployment insurance system in Austria.2 This policy change allowed older workers in eligible regions to retire up to 3.5 years earlier than comparable workers in non-eligible regions. The programme generated substantial variation in the actual retirement age, which, arguably, was driven only by financial incentives and not driven by differences in individuals’ health status. This lets us examine the causal impact of early retirement on mortality using instrumental variable (IV) techniques. Moreover, the comparison between ordinary least squares (OLS) and IV estimates allows us to assess the extent of health-driven selection into early retirement.
It seems that their main proposed causes of higher mortality - assuming that ER was not caused by lay-off close to retirement age, which can also have an effect - are lifestyle-based: increased smoking and drinking, an unhealthy diet, and little physical exercise. (Or as some would see it, finally getting to have a little fun. ) So if you keep up a healthy lifestyle, there may be no longevity penalty at all.
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Old 05-18-2012, 10:50 AM   #8
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Thanks for posting the links - to the podcast and the article. This is a very good example of Freakonomics misleading people as the article points out:
Quote:
retirement following an involuntary job loss is likely to cause excess mortality among blue-collar males, while retirement after a voluntary quit does not.
making this completely irrelevant to the notion of FIRE and ER in general in the US which is going to almost always be voluntary.
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:15 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
I heard a report on this on NPR the other night as DW and I were driving to see a movie.

IIRC they indicated that the study indicated that ERs lost 2 months of life for every year that they retired early. So here's my rationalization: I retired ~10 years early, so if they are right (and BTW I don't think they are), I'll die about a year and a half sooner than I otherwise would have but have 8 1/2 years more of retirement.

I think I can live with that tradeoff.
I think I heard the same segment. I immediately thought of this board and wondered if anyone else heard it. I came to the same conclusion as you. Within reason (differs for everybody I know), I think I would be willing to give up some lifespan in exchange for a longer period of retirement. And the ratio of 10 workfree months in exchange for 2 less months of life... Doesn't sound to terrible to me!

Comparing person A with a lifespan of 79 and retirement at 65, they have 14 years of retirement. And that 14 years ecompasses a time where your body and energy levels may be much worse than someone younger. Compare that to person B who has an original lifepsan of 79 but retires at 50, they would then be expected to die by 76.5 but would have 26.5 years of retirement and get their entire 50's and 60's to "play."

Heck apparently you even get to smoke more, drink more, and be lazy for that full 26.5 years if you want too!

Anyone here not willing to take that deal?
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Old 05-18-2012, 11:44 AM   #10
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A body in motion tends to stay in motion, a body that stops motion early capitulates ?
"Retire, hell! We're just working in a different direction!"
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