Japanese doctor and longevity expert who lived until 105: Don't retire

Japanese doctor Shigeaki Hinohara attends a news conference in Tokyo, Japan in this photo taken by Kyodo on September 25, 2015.
Kyodo | Reuters

The typical American leaves the workforce at age 63.

Personal finance maven Suze Orman challenged the assumption that that's wise last month, though, when she suggested that "70 is the new retirement age."

Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, a Japanese physician and longevity expert who died at age 105 in July, took her advice one step further: Don't retire, he said in a 2009 interview with Japan Times journalist Judit Kawaguchi. If you feel you have to, retire much later than 65.

Suze Orman shares the one thing you should do right now to retire a millionaire
Suze Orman shares the one thing you should do right now to retire a millionaire

Dr. Hinohara, who worked up to 18 hours a day until the last few months of his life, pointed out that the current retirement age in Japan, 65, was set years ago, back when the average life-expectancy in Japan was 68.

Today, people are living much longer: Japanese women, on average, live to 87, and men live to 80. Plus, "in 20 years we will have about 50,000 people over the age of 100," the physician noted.

Orman brings up a similar point. Americans are living longer, she writes on Money, meaning your retirement savings need to last longer: "You likely have plenty saved up to breeze through 15 years or so of retirement. But, people, if you stop working in your 60s, your retirement stash might need to support you for 30 years, not 15."

She continues: "Healthy people in their 60s today have about a 50 percent chance of living into their 90s. Can you honestly tell me you're 100 percent sure you will not run out of money if you start spending down your retirement funds in your 60s and end up living into your 90s?"

As for how to maintain energy as you age and continue to work, the key isn't to eat well or sleep enough. "Energy comes from feeling good," Dr. Hinohara said. "We all remember how as children, when we were having fun, we often forgot to eat or sleep. I believe that we can keep that attitude as adults, too.

"It's best not to tire the body with too many rules such as lunchtime and bedtime."

Read all of Dr. Hinohara's guidelines for living a long, healthy life.

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