Want to Improve Your Health? Save for Retirement

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senior couple sitting in park
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There's a clear connection between financial and physical health. Those with the resources get the care, advice and information they need. Those without wind up at emergency rooms and lack the professional support to understand and live healthier lifestyles. And, clearly, if you save for retirement, you'll have more resources available when your health declines with age.

But there may be a more direct connection. According to researchers at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, retirement planning can predict likelihood of improving health. Lamar Pierce, an associate professor of strategy, and doctoral candidate Timothy Gubler analyzed data eight industrial laundry plants in multiple states. The information included whether employees contributed to their 401(k) plans and how they reacted to potentially adverse health news.

Saving for retirement and addressing health issues went hand in hand.

Employees had initial health screenings. They and their personal physicians received the results. According to the study, 97 percent of the employees had at least one abnormal blood test. A quarter had a "severely abnormal" finding. Employees received information on "risky health behaviors and anticipated future health risks." The researchers -- who controlled for such factors as demographics, job types and initial health -- studied the workers for two years for signs of attempts at improving their health and for any changes to financial planning habits.

It turned out that saving for retirement and addressing health issues went hand in hand. Those who put money into their 401(k)s improved on tests for such health risk indicators as blood glucose and cholesterol 27 percent more than non-contributors. Other factors that you might expect to make a difference -- conscientiousness, financial need, life expectancy or whether workers took professional advice -- didn't.

The researchers concluded underlying psychological factors linked both retirement planning and improving health outlooks. At issue is the idea of time discounting, in which people choose a smaller reward today rather than wait for something bigger further down the line.

That said, as the study of statistics points out, correlation and causation are not the same thing. Suddenly putting money into retirement savings doesn't mean that you'll actually listen when the doctor says eat less and exercise more. Then again, it can't hurt, and perhaps the act of thinking ahead might change your attitude, your life expectancy, and how comfortable those extra years might be.


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74 Comments

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mbanavy

Searching for homeostasis for a life-long career!

Monday at 11:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
toosmart4u

If you are on social security and medicare or soon to be, thank a democrat. If you want to end these 2 fine programs vote republican.

Sunday at 8:11 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toosmart4u's comment
dopey.obamite

Thank them? For what?

Sunday at 10:50 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
dopey.obamite

Hey weil..quick question.......

Are you a communist? A few weeks back I caught a CSPAN broadcast of the communist party USA national convention held on June 13. I watched sam webb give his speech....I guess he's not chair any longer.

But back to my question...are you? This counterpunch site you referenced is loaded with and is contributed to by some pretty unsavory folks.

Saturday at 9:06 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mac2jr

"dopey.obamite
It's a Wizard of Oz reference.
"
-------------------- I know, I was just playing with you -------------

That felt good... still laughling..... Good Morning World...

Saturday at 11:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to mac2jr's comment
weilunion

He is a shill. They use multiple names on this site and try to fool you. They aer paid by the site, like dopey, Barrack and now this idiot, Mac

Saturday at 7:40 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to weilunion's comment
dopey.obamite

Oh snap....the jig is up.

Saturday at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
d.barack

So you like playing with guys ? That's okay, your Idol Obama is gay too.

Sunday at 5:53 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mrs.perlosi

mac2jr
Again you have nothing good to say, or anything intelligent to add to the conversation, how sad..

++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Perhaps the day will come Mr. Mac when you have something good to say but I doubt there will ever be a day when you have anything intelligent to add to the conversation darling. How sad for you.

Friday at 8:31 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mrs.perlosi's comment
mac2jr

Hi sweetheart, love and kisses...

Saturday at 12:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to mac2jr's comment
weilunion

See, he did just same something. Computer generated perhaps but he talks

Saturday at 7:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down
worried man

Thank god I saved money, now I can fund my doctor's retirement !!!!! such a deal

Friday at 7:48 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
worried man

Save and live longer and you will still run out of money !!!!

Friday at 7:46 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to worried man's comment
merstockgto

Not just save, invest as I have since 1980. It pays dividends big time.

Friday at 11:26 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
d.barack

Darren Barthold is still a dunce that loves Sharia law.

Friday at 6:57 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to d.barack's comment
weilunion

Sicko Shill for the site

Saturday at 7:40 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
d.barack

Dunces like Weil, and Mac love their food stamp president, and all the freebies he gives them, Com / Libs love Barack Barry Hussein Soetoro Obama

Friday at 6:49 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to d.barack's comment
mac2jr

All my free benefits came during the Bush administration.... thanks..

Saturday at 12:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
weilunion

Here he is again with some interesting comments

Saturday at 7:41 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
dopey.obamite

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April 28, 2014

Average U.S. Retirement Age Rises to 62Younger Americans are more likely to expect to retire before age 55

by Rebecca Riffkin

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The average age at which U.S. retirees report retiring is 62, the highest Gallup has found since first asking Americans this question in 1991. This age has increased in recent years, while the average age at which non-retired Americans expect to retire, 66, has largely stayed the same. However, this age too has slowly increased from 63 in 2002.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/168707/average-retirement-age-rises.aspx

Friday at 6:00 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to dopey.obamite's comment
dopey.obamite

You were saying, weil?

Friday at 6:00 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
weilunion

A gallup poll. That is whens you ask Americans when they think they can retire.. See the truth about retirement

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/06/14/the-real-retirement-crisis/

And don't believe the little shill that could, dopey, Snow White's favorite dwarf

Saturday at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to weilunion's comment
dopey.obamite

Most people I know who retire do so shortly after turning 60. And far be it for people to lie about it to gallup...you psycho.

Saturday at 8:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
dopey.obamite

With all.due respect weil....which is zero...where in your inane left wing link does it support your assertion of retirement age?

Saturday at 8:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down