Geriatric physician Dr. Katherine Schlaerth, writing in the Los Angeles Times last week, said after observing hundreds of older patients that she is convinced that quitting work is an unhealthy idea.
"'Use it or lose it,' definitely applies where humans are concerned," Schlaerth writes.
She points to studies that suggest physical and mental decline results when people aren't employed, including a joint study by the Rand Corp. and the University of Michigan released in December documenting that those who work longer avoid memory loss.
This is a corollary to another interesting retirement news item from last week: The man the Guinness Book of World Records identified as the world's oldest died Wednesday at 114. Walter Breuning of Great Falls, Mont., was born in 1896 in Minnesota. He started work at age 16 and held a variety of positions in his life, including 49 years working on the railroad. He retired from the Great Northern Railway at 67, but didn't stop working. He was still employed at 99 as a manager for the Shriners, according to his obituary, which also reported one of his favorite sayings as, "If you keep your mind busy and keep your body busy, you're going to be around a long time."
Think about this. If all of us lived to be Mr. Breuning's age, we wouldn't be worried about retirement planning when we were 60-year-old whippersnappers. With 54 more years to live and 40 more years to work, who could be bothered?