My book Rush urges people to avoid early retirement. To be blunt, impolitic, and impolite, early retirement can make people more stupid and more sick. A new study shows that Austrian workers who retire one year early reduce their lifespans by 2.4 months. Is that a good deal? (The study led by Josef Zweimuller and Jean-Philippe Wuellrich controlled for income and prior health).
Countries that prod people to quit early by heavily taxing work and awarding handsome public pension benefits end up with stupider old people. The evidence is striking. In the U.S. and Denmark, for example, a man in his early sixties is one-third less likely to be working than a man in his early fifties. In France and Austria, the older men are 80 to 90 percent less likely to be working. Aptitude drops twice as much in Austria and France as in the U.S. and Denmark. They cannot calculate numbers, follow instructions, or remember words as well. The retired Viennese and Parisians may have more time to enjoy tasty pastries while lounging in their cafes, but they are more likely to get lost trying to find their way.