The moneyed and those who retire early are likely to live longer, happier lives
It may not guarantee happiness, but money, it seems, is the key to a long and healthy old age.
Those who are poorer and less well educated die earlier and develop illness sooner than the better off and well-qualified, a Government-backed study said yesterday.
And those who get the choice of early retirement are also likely to enjoy longer life and better health, the study said.
The findings will deepen concerns over the future welfare of older people at a time when their numbers are rising sharply, and the collapse of pension expectations means that many will have restricted incomes.
Voluntary early retirement has also disappeared from the private sector in the face of eroded pensions and the growing demands of taxation.
Only the one in five workers who are employed by the state still enjoy guaranteed salary-linked pensions and the prospect of early retirement. The study, for the Economic and Social Research Council, found that those from the worst-off social groups are likely to die earliest.
Those with less education and wealth are most likely to say they are depressed or to suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. The study, based on a series of surveys of 12,000 older people, said the effect of such differences can be seen most sharply among those in their 50s and 60s but persists for people of the greatest age.
‘Early retirement is generally good for people’s health and well-being unless it has been forced on them,’ the study said.
‘Those forced into early retirement generally have poorer mental health than those who take routine retirement, who in turn have poorer mental health than those who have taken voluntary early retirement.’
The study said that redundancy or illhealth are the usual causes of compulsory early retirement. Professor James Nazroo, of Manchester University, who carried out the study, said: ‘These findings have implications for us all. Increases in life expectancy raise major challenges for public policy.
‘Among these is the need to respond to marked inequalities in economic position and life expectancy at older ages.’
The report added that older people who do charity or volunteer work are often healthier than others.
Professor Nazroo said: ‘Despite the fact that we are all living longer, many people now stop work before the statutory retirement age and a large proportion of these still have the potential to provide a positive input into society.’
Via Daily Mail