[Retire Early]
Actuaries Reveal Working Kills!


Actuaries Reveal
Working Kills!

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The article was last updated on August 1, 2000.

[Retire Early]


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There is a popular myth that one dies sooner if one continues to work rather than take early retirement. Over the years, misleading charts have been circulated around Boeing showing that the later one retires, the lower the average age at death. These graphs give the impression that working longer leads to an earlier death. The charts that circulate usually show that an employee who retires at age 65 receives an average 18 monthly checks before dying. Even though these charts are incorrect, they continue to circulate around the company every couple of years.

SPEEA recently received an updated chart from Boeing showing the status of retirees under the heritage Boeing Company Employee Retirement Plan (see chart depicting January 1, 2000 data). Each point in the plot represents a retiree. The X-axis shows the age at retirement. The Y-axis shows one of two things: If the retiree is still alive, it shows how many years the employee has been retired. If the retiree has died, it shows how many years the employee lived during retirement.

This chart shows that those who retire at age 65 live much longer than the myth of "18 months". In fact, many who retire at 65 live many years.

Some of the points gather together in vertical columns: there are vertical columns of points at age 55, 62 and 65. These correspond to when early retirement is first possible ... when Social Security may be first paid ... and when Social Security is fully payable. There is also a less distinct clumping at age 60, when the Boeing benefit is unreduced.

The points also gather in two horizontal lines. One at 0 "years since retirement". These are generally employees in poor health who retire and immediately pass away. The other horizontal line is at 4.5 years since retirement. This line is caused by the early retirement window that was offered in 1995 which was very popular.

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