Early retirement and the financial assets of individuals with back problems
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- Schofield, D.J., Shrestha, R.N., Percival, R. et al. Eur Spine J (2011) 20: 731. doi:10.1007/s00586-010-1647-8
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This paper quantifies the relationship between early retirement due to back problems and wealth, and contributes to a more complete picture of the full costs associated with back problems. The output data set of the microsimulation model Health&WealthMOD was analysed. Health&WealthMOD was specifically designed to measure the economic impacts of ill health on Australian workers aged 45–64 years. People aged 45–64 years who are out of the labour force due to back problems have significantly less chance of having any accumulated wealth. While almost all individuals who are in full-time employment with no chronic health condition have some wealth accumulated, a significantly smaller proportion (89%) of those who have retired early due to back problems do. Of those who have retired early due to back problems who do have some wealth, on average the total value of this wealth is 87% less (95% CI: −90 to −84%) than the total value of wealth accumulated by those who have remained in full-time employment with no health condition controlling for age, sex and education. The financial burden placed on those retiring early due to back problems is likely to cause financial stress in the future, as not only have retired individuals lost an income stream from paid employment, but they also have little or no wealth to draw upon. Preventing early retirement due to back problems will increase the time individuals will have to amass savings to finance their retirement and to protect against financial shocks.