One phenomenon I noticed after my retirement from corporate life is that the volume of my personal emails is creeping up to close to the number I had when working in Singapore Airlines. With the passing of time, more retired friends and colleagues started forwarding me emails with topics that interested them! Emails have become the standard means of communications for my generation.
Their favourite topics can be broadly broken down into these three categories : Health & Retirement Tips, Politics, and Jokes & Videos.
About a month ago, one email with this interesting and relevant subject line got my attention:
Retirement Age vs Life Span
In addition, the email included this very alarming claim:
the longer you postpone your retirement, the shorter is the time you enjoy the retirement.
Consider this source : In a short 4-part paper from March 2002 titled ‘Optimum Strategies for Creativity and Longevity‘, Dr Sing Lin included a table ‘Actuarial study of life span vs. age at retirement’ from a Dr. Ephrem. The study was supposed to be based on the number of pension checks sent to retirees of Boeing Aerospace. And Dr Lin made this alarming statement : ‘An important conclusion from this study is that for every year one works beyond age 55, one loses 2 years of life span on average.’
Thus, an urban legend was born. Naturally, I was really worried, and looked deeper into the claim! Boeing even had to issue statements saying that the paper had no grounding in reality. The source was a Boeing notice dated 30 July 2004 and titled ‘Let’s Retire the Rumor about Life Expectancy‘:
The Fact : Data shows Boeing retirees live longer than the national average, regardless of age at retirement
‘An incorrect, but alarming, chart that claims to show the life expectancy of Boeing retirees has been circulating on the Internet. According to this chart, Boeing employees who retire at 65 die much sooner than employees who retire at earlier ages. Even though this chart has been in existence for over twenty years, it is not based on fact. There is no correlation between age at retirement and life expectancy of Boeing retirees.’
‘The first inaccurate life expectancy chart surfaced in the early 80s, and versions of it have been floating around
for years – almost as an “urban myth.” The Internet now spreads the misinformation farther, faster, and in a
more professional-appearing form. Boeing and many other companies have tried to dispel the misconception.
Unfortunately, the bad news – even though it is fiction – catches people’s attention, while the good news
(that Boeing employees generally live longer than the national average), is accurate but often overlooked.’ continued Boeing.
Now that we have more leisure time and exchanging more emails from well-meaning friends and relatives on Health & Retirement Tips, Politics, Jokes & Videos; please be more cautious in who you listen to or what you believe! One resource that I can recommend to help you filter out truth from fiction is snopes.com. The site has come to be regarded as an online touchstone of rumour research – in other words, debunking urban myths!
In my next post, I will share with you what to take control when it comes to our Health. And don’t believe everything you read on the internet… Cheers!