Study Shows Delaying Retirement May Increase Longevity, Especially for Men

In October, the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College published a research paper showing how policies in the Netherlands that delay retirement can increase longevity, especially for men. The working paper, “How Does Delayed Retirement Affect Mortality and Health?” was written by research economists Alice Zulkarnain and Matthew S. Rutledge. The authors observed that older Americans have been retiring later for a number of reasons, including because work is becoming less physically demanding, employers have shifted from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions, and Social Security’s incentives are changing. The researchers cautioned, however, that understanding the implications of working longer for mortality and health is complicated, because people who are healthier tend to work longer than people who are less healthy.

Taking advantage of a natural experiment in which a policy was implemented in the Netherlands that incentivized a broad cohort of early baby boomers in their sixties to delay retirement, the study used Dutch administrative data to explore the links between work and health outcomes related to depression and diabetes, applying an instrumental variable approach that took into account the joint relationship between work and mortality.

The findings showed that delayed retirement reduced the five-year mortality rate for men ages 62-65 by 2.4 percentage points, which represents a 32% reduction relative to the five-year mortality rate for non-working men of the same age. For women, the results were inconclusive.

Moreover, the study found no significant relationship between delayed retirement and health conditions like diabetes or depression, which suggests that these conditions were not responsible for the mortality reduction. The researchers speculated that this could be because depression and diabetes are not as acutely life-threatening as some other conditions, adding that further research is needed to identify the conditions through which the positive effect of working on mortality manifests itself. They also pointed out that the relationship between working and mortality could manifest itself through a variety of conditions, which may make it difficult to find a significant result for any one condition.

In some ways, the U.S. already has a delayed retirement incentive with the Social Security benefits program. That’s because every year someone delays taking their Social Security benefit beyond their stated full retirement age, they get an 8% annual increase every year until age 70.

From a financial planning standpoint, working longer is one of the main ways someone can exercise control over whether or not they outlive their money. One takeaway I offer, is set yourself up to do work you enjoy. It’s much more likely that you will work longer if you have a sense of fulfillment or enjoyment in the work you do. And, if you begin putting steps in place to transition to work you enjoy now, it’s more likely that you will make the leap successfully when the time comes.  

 Seth Godin recently wrote a book entitled This Is Marketing and these are the 5 things that I really liked from reading it. I’ve paraphrased from the book my 5 subtitles.


1. My product is for people who believe ...

I will focus on people who want ...

I promise that engaging with what I make will help you get ...


These three fill-in-the-blank statements are gold for anyone trying or wanting to figure out what their competitive advantage is in the marketplace. This has caused me to take the time to think about who my service is specifically for, what my intended audience actually wants, and what I’ll commit to giving my clients for their benefit. I have so much more focus and direction with my business and service offering by going through this exercise. And the really good news is that this is an exercise I, or anyone, could start at any phase of the business. It’s even a good exercise to do on a regular basis, even annually, to make sure I haven’t veered from my target or to confirm if I need to change my course.

2. Branding vs marketing, strategy vs tactics, and be a farmer not a hunter.

These lines speak to the refreshing wisdom of taking the longview when it comes to serving people and growing a business. Rather than trying to find a hack or a trick to get attention quickly, why not focus on building a strong foundation with fundamentals and principles. I’ve found many business owners must take short cuts and try to fast track revenue because they didn’t do the slow and steady work of saving up a cash reserve and honing their craft over the previous years in order to have a multiple year runway in their business. By runway, I mean the ability to live off of personal savings instead of forcing a business to become a high revenue source of income too soon.

3. Price is a marketing strategy.

This resonates with me because I don’t have to do things the way they’ve always been done when it comes to pricing. For example, just because the financial industry has been known for selling products in the past doesn’t mean I have to do the same. I can price simply and transparently for advice. That in itself can be a big benefit to those whom are looking for the ease of understanding what they’re paying for.

4. Marketers need to spend more time on helping, one person at a time, day-by-day.

This resonates with me because it’s comforting to remind myself that I can’t expect to get there over night. It’s the small incremental actions that make a big difference over time. It’s the compounding interest effect applied to serving clients and helping people one at a time over the long haul. It’s not until a decade down the road that someone can look back and see the mountains they’ve scaled. I also like the emphasis Seth places on taking action rather than coming up with ideas. Both are really good and important things to have as strengths, but it’s showing up with the courage to put yourself out there with a real product or service, day-in and day-out, that creates the real change.

5. The goal is to be known by the smallest viable audience.

This to me was the mantra of the entire book. I like this because it forces me as a business owner and financial advisor to be specific in whom I’m serving and why. It’s easy to say I’m going to be the best at everything or that I want to help everyone everywhere, but that’s not really committing to anything or anyone in particular. However, I can make a big impact when I force myself to put detail and commitments behind it all. I need to continually ask myself whom specifically am I best suited to serve and how many people am I capable of serving really well. This can also keep me from chasing distractions and losing focus on what’s really important.

My mission is to help 80 households be more generous over their lifetime. And that’s it. 

What’s a household? Partly it’s a way for me to measure how many people I’m helping. So it’s a family, a unit, it could be a husband and wife and their kids. Or, it could be an individual whose committed to the process of working together to make wise financial decisions. 

Why just 80 clients? There’s not a lot of science that goes into it for me. It’s a feel but also an understanding of my capacity. I want to give my full attention to my clients when they need it. I know I can do that with 80. So I’m capping it there. At least, that’s my conviction now.

I also believe there will be enough of a ripple effect with 80 committed clients working together for the next 5, 10, 15, 20+ years, that I’ll have plenty of reasons to feel like I made enough of a difference in enough people’s lives. Plus, it takes a long time to work one-on-one with clients to get clear on their goals, values, and action items. Then, there’s course corrections that happen as life happens. To do quality work, at some point you have to limit the quantity of work. Unless of course you’re building a corporate empire to scale, which I am not.


Why the focus on generosity? Of course there’s more that goes into a financial plan than being generous, but for me, that’s where all roads have to end up if I’m doing my job properly. 

Let’s take retirement, for example. Why do people want to retire. Well, there’s an infinite number of reasons, but there are a few main reasons. For some people it’s to rest, for others it’s to get away, for some it’s to spend time with family, and yet for others it’s to do nothing but their hobbies and passions. My thing is that retirement ought to be more of a change towards something else rather than an end in and of itself. And, I think the way to get it to be a change towards something new, is to have a reason outside of just making yourself more comfortable. Comfort is important, but at some point you max out on comfort. Then what? That’s where generosity comes in. I think we’re more fulfilled when we have an aim that involves giving something to someone else without expecting payback in return. To me, there’s an endless amount of financial planning work to be done in 80 households’ lives to maximize the generosity in each one, and thus the positive impact all around the world.

 Also, I feel that almost no one has anyone in their life challenging them to be more generous, nor teaching them wise financial principles to get to the point where they feel like they have “enough” or even “extra. For the most part, no one talks about their money at all to other people, let alone their closest family or friends. And it would be far too risky to tell someone what you think they should do with their money. So, that where my calling comes in. I’m not telling people what to do with their money, rather coming along side to provide a personal financial framework for you how and what to do to get the most out of what you have. 

How Bunching Expenses Can Enable Taxpayers to Continue to Itemize

In response to the significant changes to the tax deduction rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), many taxpayers are searching for ways to recover some of the tax benefits associated with itemizing deductible expenses that have been eliminated. Taxpayers who were previously able to lower their tax bills by itemizing may want to consider using a “bunching” strategy, which generally means either accelerating or deferring deductible expenses so that more of these expenses fall in a single tax year rather than in multiple tax years.

Video: A Look at Recent Market Volatility

What should you make of recent ups and downs in the stock market? Here’s helpful context on volatility and expected returns.

While market volatility can be nerve-racking for investors, reacting emotionally and changing long-term investment strategies in response to short-term declines could prove more harmful than helpful. By adhering to a well-thoughtout investment plan, ideally agreed upon in advance of periods of volatility, investors may be better able to remain calm during periods of short-term uncertainty.

#AquilaWealth Newsletter -- No. 1 #IRA Mistake, Productivity Recommendation, and Jet Lag

I like to send out a newsletter to my clients and friends every-other week on Thursdays at 2 p.m. PT. I typically include 3 articles with my commentary around the topic of personal finance. Here are the ones I like this week, and I think you will too. (Feel free to email me at eric@aquilawealth.com if you want to be added to my email newsletter list.)

#1 The No. 1 IRA mistake

#2 Productivity Recommendation: Take the Kolbe A™ Index/Instinct Test

#3 The Scientific Secrets to Preventing Jet Lag

The #Fiduciary Rule is Dead

But Clients Should Ask Their Advisor This Simple Yes or No Question

Over the past year, investors have been receiving notifications about the U.S. Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule that would have impacted financial advisors and their clients. Simply stated, the DOL’s new “fiduciary duty” standard would have required financial professionals who receive compensation for transactions to act in their client’s “best interest.”

#Hurricanes and Your Relief Efforts #Florence

Giving is Not Just About Making a Donation – You Make a Difference

There are many opportunities to support disaster-recovery efforts and help people whose lives have been upended by Hurricane Florence, but you should be careful. It's also prime time for scam artists to take advantage of your generosity and steal your money or even your identity. Take these steps to help you choose a charity:

Countdown to Retirement: Strategies for Saving in Your 50s #retirement #aquilawealth

Strategies for saving in your 50s

Many retirees today are redefining the “golden years.” Forget about endless days of leisure. Retirees seek adventure, travel, and new business pursuits. While these changes may redefine retirement, will retirees be able to finance their plans? Today, many people age 50 and older have not begun to save for retirement or have yet to accumulate sufficient funds.

Helping Your Heirs While Helping Others via the Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) #giving

Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT)

A charitable remainder trust (CRT) can be a highly effective financial and estate planning tool. The CRT can allow you to: avoid capital gains taxes on highly appreciated assets, however when income is distributed to the income beneficiaries it is taxable; receive an income stream based on the full, fair market value (FMV) of those assets; receive an immediate charitable deduction; and ultimately benefit the charity(ies) of your choice.

How Small Businesses Can Take Advantage of Tax Reform #TCJA

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017 created substantial new tax breaks for companies of all sizes, but owners of smaller businesses in particular may still be reviewing how much their tax burden could change under the new legislation. The deductions individual business owners can take advantage of and the value of these tax breaks will vary considerably depending on the nature of their business activities, their income levels, and other factors that they may be able to adjust to maximize their tax benefits.

What is a blockchain token? #cryptocurrency #bitcoin

People are just becoming acquainted with the idea of digital money in the form of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, where transactions are recorded on a secure distributed database called a blockchain. And now along comes a new concept: the blockchain-based token, which I’ve been following as a blockchain researcher and teacher of courses about cryptocurrency and blockchain tokens.

Was 9/11 This Generation’s Pearl Harbor? #NeverForget #UnitedWeStand #BetterTogether

There are chilling similarities – but fundamental differences too

On December 7, 2001, a Gallup Poll ran the following headline:

“Americans Say Sept. 11 Will Be More Historically Significant Than Pearl Harbor.”

That December 7th day when Gallop ran that headline marked the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. But it was also just a few months after the September 11th attacks in New York and Washington – when many Americans were comparing the events in 1941 to those that had just occurred.

The "Safety" of Social Security Benefits

It's important for you to pace your claiming strategy in order to get the most money you can.

Recent reports that the Social Security trust fund will pay out more than it takes in—for the first time since 1982—could trigger a rush to claim benefits. Often times people want to sign up for Social Security at age 62 (the earliest they can file) because they fear that the money won’t be there for them if they wait.

Understanding Interest Rates and Your Financial Situation

When discussing bank accounts, investments, loans, and mortgages, it is important to understand the concept of interest rates. Interest is the price you pay for the temporary use of someone else’s funds; an interest rate is the percentage of a borrowed amount that is attributable to interest. Whether you are a lender, a borrower, or both, carefully consider how interest rates may affect your financial decisions. 

Celebrating Labor Day 2018

Give me work, ‘till my life shall end and life, ‘till my work is done

The national holiday we celebrate on Monday, September 3rd is a good time for reflection on why we work and the life, energy, and meaning we derive from it.

Assessing the Health of Your Business 

SWOT Analysis 

Using a SWOT analysis to take a closer look at your company’s internal operations, as well as its position in the marketplace, may help you avoid costly mistakes, improve your management practices, and refine your long-term strategic goals.