Early Retirement Age May Not Improve Longevity

Researchers at Shell Oil Company studied thousands of all past employees who retired at age 55 and 60 and were still alive at 65 and compared with those those who retired at 65.

Early retirement at 55 or 60 is not associated with increased survival. Researchers discovered that employees who retired at 55 had a significantly increased mortality compared with those who retired at 65. The difference was not attributed to the effects of sex, socioeconomic status or calendar year of entry to the study, although poorer health status of some early retirees may play some part.

Survival for employees who retired at 60 was similar to that of employees who retired at 65. Retiring at 65 was not associated with a greater risk of mortality than retiring at 55 or 60 in a cohort of Shell Oil employees.

Differences in mortality from the effects of employee’s sex, year of entry to the study, or socioeconomic status were not statistically significant.

Tsai SP, Wendt JK, Donnelly RP, de Jong G, Ahmed FS. Age at retirement and long term survival of an industrial population: prospective cohort study.  BMJ. 2005 Oct 29;331(7523):995.