COLUMN: Plan wisely for retirement and it could be one long holiday

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Many of us would love to retire early. Perhaps a bit of gardening, walking in the Peak District, spending time with the grandkids, or maybe move to a place in the sun and put your feet up.

And if you have planned well for retirement, it could be one long holiday. If you haven’t, it will be like one long period of unemployment with not much to live on and a bit of struggle. So it’s vital to plan well for retirement.

But new research has shown another benefit of early retirement: you might actually live longer!

Economists from the University of Amsterdam found that Dutch male civil servants over the age of 54 who retired early were 42 per cent less likely to die over the next five years, compared to those who continued working.

Researchers put this life-extending phenomenon down to two main factors. Firstly, when you retire you have more time to invest in your health. That might be more time to sleep, more time to exercise or simply more time to visit a doctor.

Secondly, work can be a great contributor to stress, creating hypertension which is a huge risk factor for potentially fatal conditions. In the study, retirees were significantly less likely to have cardiovascular diseases or strokes.

There can be benefits to staying in work. It keeps your mind and body active, and being part of a team helps develop and maintain a sense of purpose and belonging that is essential to mental health. You can achieve these benefits outside work. The key is to find a hobby or interest.

Whether you stay in work or retire early, spend your time wisely as it could have a major impact on how long your retirement turns out to be.

No individual investment advice is given, nor intended to be given in this article and liability will be accepted in respect of any action you may take as a result of reading this article. If you are unsure you are urged to take independent investment advice.