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Are Pensions bad for cognitive function?
Old 10-30-2019, 08:22 AM   #1
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Are Pensions bad for cognitive function?

https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1029131506.htm

"Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline among the elderly, according to research conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York."

Based on China data this time
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What if you retired early on investments instead of a pension?
Old 10-30-2019, 09:45 AM   #2
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What if you retired early on investments instead of a pension?

I suspect the study underrepresented the impact of intellectual challenge on retained cognitive ability. Use it or lose it. I'd bet money that, given interesting opportunities, those retirees could more than compensate for the observed 0.2 sigma decline.

The years when I was in grad school, studying hard every night, were also the most productive of my career. I was in the best cerebral shape of my life, demonstrably sharper and quicker then than I am now. The constant exercise I put my brain through carried over into facets of life unrelated to the academic work.

I don't plan to vegetate in retirement. But after 4 decades I've grown weary of my professional skill set, so whatever I do pursue will entail learning something other than engineering. Will those future less technical subjects be easier and therefore insufficient to support my current level of mental muscle? Maybe.

But even if it costs me a few IQ points, if it's more fun then so be it.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:06 AM   #3
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Wordy article that repeats itself in every paragraph. IMHO, our pension takes stress out of our life. I can be social and involved in many things. Exercise and take on challenges if I so desire. I think my cognitive ability is better than when I was working.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:11 AM   #4
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Was a desk jockey working in base 16 and base 2 math most of my life. Effortless at it. Complex.

Now I'm trying to crack the nut of framing math as I work on various projects. Just what do all those numbers on a speed square mean?

Ya gotta just look to new things. I actually didn't find any intellectual challenges that interested me in my old job, damaging my cognitive function while working late career.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:17 AM   #5
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I find that I use my mind in different ways than prior to retirement. The 3 years of law school after I retired exercised my mind in ways I don't think I have before. Now with that adventure behind me (about a year and half ago), I have had to find new ways to keep the mind sharp. In lieu of watching/reading the never ending "bad news cycle", I have found myself reading scholarly articles and some pretty dense court opinions on obscure subjects. Or, reading up on trying to hack a thermostatic shower valve.
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Old 10-30-2019, 10:31 AM   #6
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RetMD21 View Post
https://www.sciencedaily.com/release...1029131506.htm

"Early retirement can accelerate cognitive decline among the elderly, according to research conducted by faculty at Binghamton University, State University of New York."

Based on China data this time
Interesting, thanks for the link. There could be some survivorship bias in the sample, more people with pensions survive while people without pensions suffer from poorer health and health care.
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Old 10-30-2019, 12:24 PM   #8
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Interesting, thanks for the link. There could be some survivorship bias in the sample, more people with pensions survive while people without pensions suffer from poorer health and health care.
I suspect this is a significant factor.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:54 PM   #9
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I am fortunate enough to get two modest pension checks each month. Based upon this research, I have nicknamed them dumb and dumber. And yup, if I must risk potential cognitive decline while being happily retired, It's a risk that I eagerly accept.
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Old 10-30-2019, 01:59 PM   #10
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I used up all my brains earning a pension.
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:44 PM   #11
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I mean... correlation does not equal causation...
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Old 10-30-2019, 02:48 PM   #12
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And yup, if I must risk potential cognitive decline while being happily retired, It's a risk that I eagerly accept.
I will happily join you.

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Originally Posted by Amethyst View Post
I used up all my brains earning a pension.
That too.

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I mean... correlation does not equal causation...
What, me worry?
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Old 10-30-2019, 04:15 PM   #13
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I thought that this was a little different since the time for making pensions available was determined by geographic location. In the usual first world studies showing a harm to er I have wondered how many of the voluntary early retirees did so because of some indication of a problem. Not all who are having health problems are eligible for disability. On the other hand, actually reading the 49 page paper would lower my quality of life.
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Old 10-30-2019, 07:15 PM   #14
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I am fortunate enough to get two modest pension checks each month. Based upon this research, I have nicknamed them dumb and dumber. And yup, if I must risk potential cognitive decline while being happily retired, It's a risk that I eagerly accept.

+1. I have to laugh at these articles about how we should all avoid early retirement if we want to stay healthy. I've been retired for 10 years now, and as far as I know, my health (including cognitive health) is just fine (almost certainly better now than before I retired......)
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Old 10-30-2019, 07:26 PM   #15
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I must say that after about six months into RE I found that I wasn't quite as sharp as when I was working. Not dangerously so or worrisome but it was there.

I had needed to be on hair-trigger, quick draw for a long, long time and after RE came to realize how much energy it was taking up.

It wasn't like I suddenly 'slower'--I was, and am still pretty sharp-- but there was a subtle but noticeable mental shift taking place which I found interesting; more a matter of having the time to work things through mentally when before, a delay could be career limiting.
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Old 10-31-2019, 09:34 AM   #16
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I have done lots of intellectually challenging things while retired, including learning new areas of science, even formal study, several new technical and computer skills, and working on several languages, including some new ones. I also do extensive historical reading associated with our travels. Oh yeah, and resuming musical instruments which has involved a great deal of memorization.

Foreign travel itself, including planning, provides a lot of mental stimulation.

Oh, never mind, I don’t have a pension......
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Old 10-31-2019, 09:59 AM   #17
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Did not read the article but perhaps they don't have children. For instance still in my working years, the biggest challenge of my day is getting my 2 year old out the door to daycare. This is no joke. She does not comprimise lol.
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Old 10-31-2019, 12:09 PM   #18
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If you're developing dementia...you're developing dementia.

Hopefully others notice it more quickly if you're screwing up your portfolio vs. getting a check every month.

Going back through mom's records after she died she had lost the ability to even balance her checkbook nearly a decade before her official diagnosis (mom received lifetime alimony, so she never really bothered with investing)
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Old 11-03-2019, 03:52 PM   #19
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Despite any risk I'm going to retire anyway
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