According to a new study, Americans are retiring later — if at all — and dying younger. Not great news for those who’ve been looking forward to spending their golden years on the golf course.
Of course, I never fully “bought in” to the retirement concept (or the golf course). Big government and big business created the concept in the mid-20th century. I vividly recall talking about it with Nobel Prize winner and economic historian Robert Fogel (1926 – 2013) about 20 years ago.
He and his research group at the University of Chicago were experts on the topic. (Though, interestingly enough, Fogel never retired and died at 87, after a short illness.)
I met Fogel as part of a National Institutes of Health site visit to the University of Chicago, just after he was awarded a major research grant funded by the National Institute on Aging.
Fogel pointed out that the generations who lived before the mid-20th century didn’t even know the concept of retirement. They worked until they died, “with their boots on,” so to speak. Or they simply worked until they couldn’t physically work anymore, due to the physical demands of typical jobs in the agricultural and early-industrial eras.
If find it fitting that it was a Nobel Prize-winning economist — not anyone in the medical world — who performed this important research. Most modern medical researchers totally ignore any and all historical data. They set it aside in favor of new, expensive “high-tech” (and sometimes dangerous) approaches to every problem.
It’s also interesting to note these older generations had half the rate of “wear-and-tear” arthritis of the knee, despite strenuous physical labor, compared to modern, post-industrial populations. I explain why in the December 2017 Insiders’ Cures newsletter. (To access my monthly newsletter archives, use your username and password to log into the Subscribers section of my website, www.DrMicozzi.com.)
Feds develop Social Security
The federal government developed Social Security for older workers in strenuous jobs who simply couldn’t continue to put forth the physical labor required. It provided a measure of “aging with dignity” during the Great Depression. It wasn’t designed with so-called “desk jobs” in mind.
Then, after the Great Depression, competition for labor led big businesses to offer better job benefits. They offered health insurance and the new concept of fixed-benefit retirement plans to attract, recruit and retain workers.
But in recent years, big government and big business have been backing away from these 20th century commitments…
Most businesses now offer defined-contribution retirement plans, where you have to discipline yourself to save. And the government is delaying, freezing and reducing retirement benefits (using laughably miniscule “cost of living” increases). In fact, as of 2027, Americans won’t start receiving full Social Security benefits until they’re 67.
As a result, the U.S. workers stay in jobs longer so they can afford the high costs of living. In fact, about one out of three Americans still works at ages 65 to 69. And one out of five still works in their early 70s (the old average lifespan).
Some other Americans postpone retirements to make it financially possible and comfortable to live past 90 or 100. But for many, living that long is just a pipe dream…
Longevity decreases across the country
According to data released last fall by the Society of Actuaries, men and women aren’t living as far into their golden years. In fact, age-adjusted death rates in the U.S. rose 1.2 percent from 2014 to 2015.
(I pay more attention to actuaries than medical researchers or economists when it comes to biostatistics — because the actuaries who don’t get it right go out of business.)
This increase in overall mortality is the first year-over-year increase in modern history.
I‘ve reported before that mortality has increased over the past 15 years — but only among white, middle-aged, middle-class men and women. Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton argue that an epidemic of suicide, drug overdose and alcohol abuse (diseases of “despair”) are causing the spike in death rates among middle-aged whites, long before they reach retirement.
But now, it appears to be catching up with everyone.
This dire situation represents a perfect storm for today’s middle-aged workers. They now face the prospect of shorter retirements and shorter lifespans than their parents and grandparents.
Plus, Americans in their 50s today have more serious health problems than people at the same age just 10 to 15 years ago, according to the journal Health Affairs.
Today, one-quarter of Americans ages 58 to 60 already rate themselves as having only poor or fair health.
Apparently, all the modern medical advances — like increased cancer screenings and drugs like statins — do not result in improved health or longevity overall.
Back to the actuaries for a reality check…
Life expectancy for those receiving retirement pension benefits has dropped by 0.2 years (two and one-half months). A 65-year-old man today can now expect to live to age 86 and a woman to age 88.
As a result, the actuaries calculate that a typical retirement pension plan’s payout could fall by 1 percent. Considering the billions in annual pension plan payments, that’s a lot of money. Maybe that’s the government “secret” plan for saving social security — we can all just die sooner.
But take heart, despite the failures of modern medicine and wrong-headed government health recommendations, you can take many natural steps to improve longevity. I will tell you all about them in my upcoming Healthy Aging Protocol, set for release in early 2018. For more information on its release, stay tuned to the Daily Dispatch, or my Facebook page.
“Americans are retiring later, dying sooner, and sicker in between,” Bloomberg News (www.bloomberg.com) 11/9/2017