The pension is a radical change for almost all people: some fall into a deep hole because they lack the structure and confirmation of the work. Others blossom and feel freed from stress and drudgery. Whether retirees perceive the great freedom as a blessing or a curse, apparently depends heavily on the work they have done before. This emerges from a study published by the RWI Leibniz Institute for Economic Research (PDF). Earlier, the Süddeutsche Zeitung had already reported on the study.
Men and women who earn well and retire at the age of 65 increase the risk of early death: in this group, mortality increases by two to three percent shortly after retirement. On the other hand, men with below average incomes benefit from retirement at the age of 63. Her mortality drops by a good one percent.
"Earlier good earners in particular are exposed to greater health risks by retiring," says study author Matthias Giesecke. "With them probably the social isolation at retirement age in the foreground, because they lose their professional activity also occupational prestige and social networks."
Most men who retire at the age of 63 have worked hard and earned relatively little. Often, they worked in construction or in other physically demanding occupations. For them, the end of working life means less stress and dangers. The job for these people was more likely to earn a living than living. Therefore, they do not consider the pension a loss, but an enrichment.
The effect is even more pronounced for men who were unemployed at the age of 63 and then retire. RWI scientist Giesecke suggests that this group benefits from not being exposed to the stigma that unemployment is for many people. However, retirement alone is just one of many factors - and by no means the most important: Smoking, alcohol consumption or social isolation, for example, have a much greater impact.
The study is based on data from the Research Data Center of the Pension Insurance and the German Pension Insurance. In total, information on just under 800,000 pensioners born between 1934 and 1936 was analyzed. Giesecke analyzed the relationship between retirement and mortality for the period from 1994 to 2013.