Retirement is a fascinating area of discussion for its population health implications. The culmination of a life of experience both inside and outside of the formal workplace, retirement represents a critical life transition. It is both determined by and a determinant of health. Socioeconomic status also dictates the timing and terms of our retirement — key determinants being whether we have personally accrued enough economic resources to maintain an acceptable standard of living (including health), and whether or not social supports (including availability of health care) are available to allow retirement. For those of you interested in a research career, the Health and Retirement Study has served as an excellent source of data on this topic.
A PHS 795 student found this excellent discussion of the interaction between SES, health and retirement. They write:
When Retiring Early Is Not a Choice
Both job prospects and health are increasingly tilted in favor of those who are relatively high on the ladder.
This article discusses the implications of health on the ability to retire early. As several articles we have read discussed, those with the lowest SES in our population often are faced with worse health outcomes. Working longer would provide more necessary income from Social Security, but due to their poor health, those that most desperately need this money do not have the luxury of pushing back their retirement. I thought this was a difficult situation that shows the struggle of poverty and health in a real-life application. In addition, it demonstrates the lack of policy action to address the issue, which is a problem we are also learning more about as we continue our public health studies. Here is a link to the original study as well: