(This article appeared previously on MarketWatch.com)
A recent study published in the IZA Journal of European Labor Studies suggests that people who keep working after age 65 tend to be much happier than their peers who are retired — as long as they’re working by choice and not because they’re broke.
Sociologists have long known that in the industrialized world, most people's happiness (as self-reported in surveys that ask questions about well-being) bottoms out around age 40 and then rises steadily through the retirement years. In fact, people over 65 tend to rate their happiness higher than they did in their youth.
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More broadly, as Graham notes in an essay summarizing the study, people are more likely to stay on the job after 65 if they have jobs that they like, especially if they have the flexibility to reduce their hours as they choose.
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“We can imagine a future where over-burdened, middle-aged workers with children have more flexibility to work part-time, with late-life workers taking up some of the slack,” writes Graham.
But it’s still an intriguing thought, especially for a mid-career person who’s gratefully approaching the weekend.
Matthew Heimer covers retirement for MarketWatch and edits the Encore blog. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewHeimer.
This article is reprinted with permission from MarketWatch.com. © 2013 Dow, Jones & Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.