There is a common saying that “Health is Wealth”. Most of us would agree that our good health is our real wealth. Research shows that unhealthy living can affect individuals in their ability to retain their wealth during retirement. Good health is vital, as it promotes the physical and mental acuity needed to face all the challenges of our lives, including the “aging process”. Let’s take a look at how costly an unhealthy lifestyle actually is to your health and wealth objectives.
A study from Fidelity Viewpoints published in 2016 suggested that a 65-year old couple on Medicare would require $260,000 (in 2016 dollars) in savings to cover about 22 years of premiums, cost-sharing and non-covered medical expenses. Now understand, this does not include any long-term care expenses. Additionally, a 65-year-old man with median prescription drug spending (in 2016) will need an estimated $127,000 (in 2016 dollars) in savings and a 65-year-old woman will need $143,000 (in 2016 dollars) in savings. This suggests that even with public and private insurance, out-of-pocket medical expenses are significant.
“Retirement savings” is usually the first to be hit hard by these out-of-pocket-expenses, and as health costs continue to rise, year after year, this could be quite detrimental to long-term financial health. More and more of your wealth might be impacted by costly health issues that could be avoided or less severe or managed by adopting a healthy life style, no matter what your physical condition is now.
Age, family genetics and gender make it nearly impossible for older adults to avoid health care issues. The National Council on Aging states that 80% of adults over the age of 65 have at least one chronic condition, while 68% have two or more! With this fact in mind, it makes good sense to do all we can for ourselves both to avoid chronic diseases and to aid in early detection and treatment. The CDC has recommended six tips for healthy aging:
- Eat & Drink Healthy – like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy – AND WATER!
- Move More – prevent & delay chronic diseases – improve balance – reduce FALL RISK!
- Don’t use Tobacco – QUIT NOW
- Get Regular Checkups – preventive services can prevent disease or give early detection
- Know Your Family History – help prevent disease or catch onset early
- Recognize Brain Changes – question any changes about memory or brain health
All these recommendations can be adopted and sustained, if we have the same determination we had when we had the foresight to set up our financial plan. You earned it, now stay healthy and keep it!
Have a great weekend!