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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53 Comments

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mbanavy

Searching for homeostasis for a life-long career!

July 21 2014 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.

July 20 2014 at 8:11 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to toosmart4u's comment
dopey.obamite

Thank them? For what?

July 20 2014 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.

July 19 2014 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...

July 19 2014 at 11:28 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply 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

July 19 2014 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.

July 19 2014 at 8:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
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.

July 18 2014 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...

July 19 2014 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

July 19 2014 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

July 18 2014 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 !!!!

July 18 2014 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.

July 18 2014 at 11:26 PM Report abuse +1 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

July 18 2014 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?

July 18 2014 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

July 19 2014 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.

July 19 2014 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?

July 19 2014 at 8:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
weilunion

More lies from the corporate bulletin.

Average of of retirement now is 73. Was 65 before Reaganism. Average age to live 78.

good luck with that retirement thing. You'll buy the box first

July 18 2014 at 5:41 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to weilunion's comment
mac2jr

Two deaths in the family in the last two years, mother and long-term love, both were taking care of their families and not getting out into the world and seeing its beauty.. Two years before their deaths I decided they needed to see the U.S.A., and we did, from coast to coast, border to border, and they enjoyed this more than the many decades preceding.

Then the families looking for the $$$, took over from me with falsified powers of attorney, and put mother in a nursing home, and love in a hospital. Four hundered thousand dollars and one year later both died horrible deaths at the hands of the medical establishment's greed, incompetence, and lack of caring.

That year could have been seeing more of the world, enjoying good food, and peace. Instead it was filled with needles, drugs, testing and testing and testing, removal of major organs, and bed, bed, bed with the sores that came with it...

Wake up America, WAKE UP..... please...

July 18 2014 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to mac2jr's comment