The National Retirement Risk Index is a measure of how many American households will be unable to afford the same standard of living during retirement as they did before retirement. According to the most recent update, the Index found 51 percent of pre-retirement households are at risk of being financially unprepared based on readiness to retire at age 65. When the retirement age is raised to 70, however, the number of American households that would be ready for retirement increases to 85 percent. The authors write that the steep improvement in readiness from age 65 through 70 reflects the importance of Social Security and the pattern of its benefit payments. According to the report, Social Security also closes the readiness gap between low-income and high-income households. By age 70, households who rely most heavily on Social Security are nearly as prepared to retire as high-income households. More here and here.
A study of 713 women in their 70s found that those who ate the most fruits and vegetables and got the most exercise were eight times less likely to die over the next five years than participants who ate fewer fruits and vegetables and exercised less. Among participants, those who exercised the most were 74 percent less likely to die over the next five years and those who ate the most fruits and vegetables were 46 percent less likely to die. Combining a diet high in fruits and vegetables with exercise resulted in the greatest likelihood of increasing longevity. And though the study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, doesn’t prove that eating more produce and exercising after the age of 70 will lengthen your lifespan, it does add to numerous studies showing that combining a healthy diet with regular exercise leads to better health at any age. More here.
A new study from Kansas State University and Michigan State University found that prescription drug warning labels are often ignored or overlooked by older adults. The researchers tracked eye movements to measure where different age groups concentrated their attention when given a bottle of prescription medication. According to the results, half of the participants over the age of 50 failed to notice the warning labels on the vial of medication they were given. By comparison, 90 percent of participants between the ages of 20 and 29 noticed the labels. The study highlights the need to make warning labels more noticeable in order to better capture patients’ attention. There are nearly 15 million medication errors each year in the United States and, because seniors often have more complicated medication instructions to follow, it is important that warning labels are noticeable and effective. More here.
A recent survey from AARP and the Society for Human Resource Management polled 1,004 workers over the age of 50 to gauge their attitudes toward work, employee benefits, and alternative work arrangements. Among the results, the survey found that nearly 80 percent of workers over the age of 50 said they were working for financial reasons such as the need for money or health insurance, as opposed to for enjoyment or the desire to be productive. However, the older the worker, the more likely they were to say they were working for non-financial reasons. For example, nearly two in five workers over the age of 70 cited non-financial reasons for working or looking for work. Also, more than 75 percent of currently employed individuals over the age of 50 said they intend to continue working at their current job until they retire completely and 52 percent of unemployed workers said they’d prefer to find a job in the same field as their previous job. Health insurance was deemed the most important employee benefit followed by pension, retirement plans, and paid time off. More here.
According to a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, vitamin E may help lower the risk of liver cancer. The research, which analyzed data from 132,837 individuals in China who enrolled in national health studies between 1997 and 2006, found that high consumption of vitamin E, whether from diet or supplements, had a clear relationship to lowered liver-cancer risk. Liver cancer is the third most common cause of cancer death in the world, the fifth most common cancer in men, and the seventh most common in women. The authors of the study wrote that there was a clear, inverse dose-response relation between vitamin E intake and liver cancer risk. The relationship was consistent among participants with and without liver disease or a family history of liver cancer. More here.
Economic security is an important part of any retirement plan. And, for most of us, our home is among our most valuable assets. But, according to a new analysis from the AARP’s Public Policy Institute, approximately 600,000 Americans over the age of 50 are in foreclosure and about 625,000 are at least three months behind on their mortgage. The study, which looked at national loan-level data for the years 2007 to 2011, found that more than 1.5 million older Americans lost their homes during the financial crisis. And, though there’s a perception that seniors enjoy more economic security than other age groups, the study found that nearly one in 30 Americans over the age of 75 were facing foreclosure. The results of the study highlight the need for more creative policy solutions to the foreclosure crisis and more focus on the needs of older Americans. More here and here.
After comparing data on 1,574 centenarians born in the United States between 1880 and 1895 with that of their shorter-lived siblings and spouses, researchers from the University of Chicago determined that people born in the fall are significantly more likely to live to be 100 years of age than those born between March and August. The study, published in the Journal of Aging Research, found people born in September, October, and November had longer life spans. Though the researchers couldn’t determine the exact reason for the difference, environmental temperature during birth, seasonal infections and disease, and the nutritional status of the mother during pregnancy were among the theories offered to explain the effects of birth month on longevity. More here and here.
A new study from Oregon State University found evidence that moderate drinking among women in their 50s and early 60s may help prevent bone loss. The research, published in the journal Menopause, looked at a small sampling of women who drank an average of 1.4 drinks a day and had no history of fractures related to osteoporosis. Participants gave blood samples at the beginning of the study, then were asked to abstain from drinking for two weeks, after which time their blood was taken again. The results showed that, during the two weeks of not drinking, the rate of bone removal and replacement increased. When the women began drinking again, the rate of bone turnover rapidly decreased. Urszula Iwaniec, PhD, associate professor at Oregon State University, said moderate drinking may reduce the overall rate of bone turnover, which may reduce bone loss and the risk of osteoporosis. Iwaniec cautions, however, that only moderate drinking was associated with the positive effects and excessive alcohol consumption can harm bone health. More here and here.
In order to meet their retirement requirements, current workers will need 11 times their final pay in personal savings and company-provided retirement plans. According to a research report from Aon Hewitt which looked at the projected retirement of 2.2 million employees at 78 large American companies, full-career contributing employees are on pace to save 8.8 times their pay, which is an improvement over 2010 but still leaves a savings gap of 2.2 times final pay. Rob Reiskytl, leader of Retirement Plan Strategy and Design at Aon Hewitt, says continued efforts by employers and employees to boost retirement income may be paying off but more effort is needed to help close the retirement gap. The top factor influencing whether or not a retiree has an adequate amount of income is personal savings. The earlier an individual begins saving for his or her retirement, the more likely they are to have a sufficient amount of savings to last through their retirement years. More here.
These days, it’s common to hear people complain that there are not enough hours in the day. Increasingly busy and always connected, people feel they don’t have enough time to accomplish everything they’d like to during the course of a day. But, according to a new study, there is a way to boost our perception of how much time we have. Giving or volunteering our time to others can promote a sense of having more time, as compared to wasting time, spending time on oneself, and even gaining a significant amount of free time. Cassie Mogliner, lead researcher and psychological scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, said giving our limited time to others boosts our sense of competency and efficiency, which can stretch out time in our minds. The research found that giving time makes people more willing to commit to future engagements despite their schedules. More here.