Longer, Healthier, Happier: Why Working Longer Improves Almost Everything

Laurence Articles

Why do most people stop working for pay somewhere between age 62 and 67? Is this optimal? Would people benefit from arrangements that provide more flexibility, allowing those who want to work longer to do so more easily? We believe they would.

Relative to our history as human beings, life has gotten unimaginably long. It is not uncommon to live to 100 or more. Spreading the income from one’s working life over one’s whole life — for that is what retirement involves — is logistically and financially difficult. William Sharpe, the great Nobel Prize-winning economist, calls it the most challenging problem in finance.

This article makes the case for working beyond traditional retirement age — if you want to, or if you need the money, or for any reason. We show how working longer enhances one’s standard of living in retirement. We put some numbers to this benefit, in the hope that its large size will motivate workers, regulators, and lawmakers to make the needed changes so we can all prosper more. We also show how working longer helps almost every element in society, not just the worker herself.

A little more speculatively, we also believe that working longer promotes health and happiness — not in every single case, but people should have that choice.

Please forward to everyone you can think of! If you use any part of it in other works, it must be cited as follows:

Siegel, Laurence B., and Stephen C. Sexauer. 2022. “Longer, Healthier, Happier: Why Working Longer Improves Almost Everything.” Submitted to The Journal of Retirement. Comment draft at https://larrysiegel.org/longer-healthier-happier-why-working-longer-improves-almost-everything/.  

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