One issue that factors in the research is the reason why individuals retired in the first place. In some cases, it's because their own health starts to fail. Other times, they retire to better manage the care of an ailing parent or spouse -- something that is frequently more stressful than going to the office every day. And stress, as we know, can be a killer.

And often, early retirement is something that doesn't happen by choice. When you lose a job in your early 60s and can't find another one, the financial stress and sense of worth deliver a one-two punch to the gut. AARP reports that half of all older workers who lost their jobs in the past five years remain unemployed

As for Redford, we celebrate the fact that the twilight years have actually been pretty good to him. As he told the Wall Street Journal, career-wise he's busier than he's been in a long while. He has two movies coming out this fall: A Walk in the Woods, an adaptation of Bill Bryson’s book about walking the Appalachian Trail, which opened this month, and Truth, opening in October, a drama in which he plays Dan Rather. From the Wall Street Journal: "One reason for all this activity, Redford says, is that age and its diminishments have also brought freedom and opportunity. No longer just a pretty face, he now gets offered parts that would have been denied him years ago."

We should all be so lucky.

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