The key to long life and good health? Never stop working

Henley Royal Regatta 2013

Dr Eugster, an age researcher, writer and athlete is 97, and still breaking records. He attributes his longevity and good health to the fact that he has never stopped working. So would it work for you?

Dr Eugster lives and works in Zurich, where he still commutes to work every day - including a 20 minute walk and a 30 minute train ride. He also trains as an athlete three days a week, and holds sprint records for the over 95s and the record as the world's oldest competitive oarsman. He told the BBC that retirement was "a financial disaster and a health catastrophe'.

Working longer seems to work

His beliefs are backed up by a number of pieces of research. Earlier this year a study at Oregon University found that people who stayed in work between the ages of 65 and 66 were 11% less likely to die during that year than those who gave up work at 65. Even those who were already unwell lived longer if they continued to work. The researchers found that the conclusions held water, regardless of people's incomes and lifestyles.

The experts have put the effect down to two things: first, people who continued to work were more mentally and physical active - which keep them healthy for longer. Numerous studies have highlighted the health benefits of working later in life. A study in 2009 by the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London, for example, found that people who worked later in life were less likely to suffer Alzheimer's in their 60s and 70s - possibly because of the positive effects of mental stimulation.

The second factor is that when people work in retirement, their income is higher; and having more money to live on is associated with longevity. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that women who live in poor areas of England can expect to live 52.4 years in good health - while those in wealthier parts of the country stayed healthy for a further 19 years. For men the difference was 18 years.

Eugster says he wants to see services around the world develop to make it easier and more attractive for older people to keep engaged and productive. He has his sights set on the development of business schools, training facilities and even dating agencies specifically aimed at the over 65s.

But what do you think? Would you keep on working if it meant you could live to the age of 97? Let us know in the comments.

Dream retirement destinations
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Dream retirement destinations

A study by MGM Advantage discovered that Portugal is the 10th most popular dream retirement destination among Brits.

You get the attractions of the sun, a more relaxed way of life, lower living costs and cheaper property. You can also benefit from pension arrangements that mean your pension rises with inflation.

And if you choose to, you can spend your time with the enormous expat population, feeling like you never left.

In the tradition of the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, there’s a large number of people keen to move to India, partly in order to enjoy a much higher standard of living than they would be able to afford in the UK.

If course it’s important to consider that your state pension will not rise in line with inflation - so will halve in real terms during your retirement.

This part of Europe offers a great combination of some of the lowest living and housing costs on the continent, along with a more forgiving climate than the UK.

For that reason Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Romania, Greece and Turkey are a big draw for retirees.

However, state pension provision varies across the region, so you will need to check whether retiring to these locations will mean your pension continues to rise in line with increases in the UK, or will be frozen when you move overseas.

Italy is a country of contrasts, so anyone planing a retirement there needs to think carefully about whether they want to call a bustling city home, or whether they would be happiest in the mountains or by the sea.

Housing tends to cost less than in the UK, and in some regions it's incredibly cheap. Living costs are also lower than in Britain, and your pension will rise in line with increases in the UK.

Canada is a big draw for British expats of all ages. This spectacular country is known for being welcoming to people from all over the world, and in many cases has no language barrier for Brits. The quality of life is high, and the cost of housing lower than in the UK.

However, you will need to factor in the fact that your UK state pension will be frozen on the day you leave, and you will need some health insurance if you want to replicate the sorts of things that are available for free on the NHS.

As with India, the Far East offers an exciting and dramatic change from life in the UK, with much lower costs, which can buy you a higher standard of living (although bear in mind your state pension will be frozen).

You will need to consider the cultural and practical differences associated with the move, but you will have the opportunity to live in one of the most exciting places in the world.

The weather, lifestyle, space, and lower cost of living means that British expats of all ages are keen to move to Australia.

Property can be a bit of a stumbling block in some areas, as prices have gone up so much. The currency is also strong, which has posed some issues for those who receive their income in pounds, and there’s the fact that the UK state pension will be frozen if you move. However, if you can overcome these things, then a new life in the sun awaits.

The US offers much more affordable housing, and in many respects a lower cost of living than in the UK.

It appeals to those who don’t want to live with a language barrier, but want more space, possibly more sun, and an American Dream of their own.

There are some important things to factor in before you move, such as the additional cost of healthcare, and the exchange rate. However, one bonus is that your state pension will rise at the same rate it does in the UK.

France is close to home, and yet offers cheaper accommodation than the UK, a lower cost of living, and in many regions there’s better weather too.

Your pension will rise at the same rate it would in the UK, and at any time friends and family are just a short boat or plane ride away. It’s no wonder France is the second most popular dream destination for retirees.

It will come as little surprise that Spain tops the list - largely because it’s already the most common overseas retirement destination for Brits.

Millions of us have experienced the delights of the sun, sea, and the lower cost of living while we were on holiday in the country, so it’s hardly a shock that so many want to experience it on a full-time basis in retirement.

Huge falls in the price of property has made this a cheap place to buy, and the fact that your state pension will keep pace with rises in the UK means you’ll be able to maintain your standard of living throughout your retirement.


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