Retire or Keep Working? The Pros and Cons, According to Science

Some retirees thrive, while others flounder. Here’s how to ease into the good life after calling it quits.

Kathleen Murphy
Wise & Well

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Image generated by the author using Freepik AI

I had a long, satisfying career. But the last few years? Not so much. I worked in healthcare — which was, ironically, bad for my health.

Corporate life is never easy. But the emergence of COVID-19 launched everything into overdrive. Most days felt like running on a hamster wheel, sprinting ever faster to keep up with a mounting pile of projects.

I kept pace for a while. But then, bam. I hit a wall of mental and physical exhaustion. Back pain, insomnia, and chronic stress left me reeling.

Clearly, I needed to retire, but the question was when? And while I knew what I needed to move from, it was unclear what I was moving to.

I was sick and tired. But how sick and tired did I need to become to leave it all behind?

What the science says

For years, researchers have studied whether retirement’s effects on health are positive, negative, or neutral. Many articles in the popular press focus on money, warning that leaving work before you’re ready financially leads to challenges.

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Kathleen Murphy
Wise & Well

Health writer and essayist offering insights into physical and emotional wellness and successful aging. Subscribe: https://kathleenamurphy.medium.com/subscribe