A Healthier, Wealthier Retirement

While most of us are working to ensure we’re financially ready for retirement, one thing that occasionally gets overlooked in retirement planning is how we’re going to manage our health. There’s no point being comfortable financially if we’re not well enough to enjoy it!

There are three core components to staying healthy as you get older – a sensible diet, regular exercise and good quality medical care. Here we’ll give you some tips on improving each element to ensure you’re as healthy as possible when you finish working.

Healthy Eating

The cornerstone of good health is your diet, and fortunately it’s fairly easy to eat good food without sacrificing your carefully planned budget. Focusing on avoiding processed food and making your own meals from fresh ingredients is a simple, straightforward way to getting your diet right.

Grilled Chicken and Quinoa Salad

While you don’t need to relentlessly count calories every day, it’s worth keeping an eye on how much you’re eating and how much you weigh. Our metabolism gradually slows down as we get older, meaning it takes fewer calories each day to maintain your current weight. If you eat like you did when you were 18, chances are you’ll start putting on weight and will need to deal with all the issues it can cause, including chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

It’s also best to get this under control when you’re younger, as dieting comes with additional risk as you get older. You naturally lose muscle as you age, meaning the proportion of your body weight which is fat is likely to increase and puts you at additional risk for falls and frailty. Dieting causes further muscle loss alongside fat loss, which can increase these complications. If you have weight to lose, do it now before it’s too late!

Get Moving

One of the most important things you can do for your health is to stay active as you get older. People tend to lose a lot of mobility and energy as they age, but it doesn’t have to be as severe as it often seems. There are pensioners out there hiking, running marathons and competing in power lifting, so the least you can do is walk to the shops for your bread and milk in the morning!

Dove Mountain

Morning Hikes … A Great Way to Start a Day

Weight training regularly can help strengthen muscles, joints and bones. Regular cardiovascular exercise, even low impact workouts like walking or cycling, can help reduce the likelihood of arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. Yoga and other mobility work can help you stay mobile and reduce issues with the back and the hips.

It’s all about finding something you enjoy and are happy to do regularly. It will improve your mood, your energy levels and your quality of life substantially when compared to living a sedentary lifestyle.

Healthcare

The final element of your health is your medical care. Regular visits to your doctor will help pick up any illness or disease quickly and will ensure you’re treated as quickly as possible.

If you have the financial resources it could be worth looking at private healthcare providers to see if any of the policies would be beneficial. It can often mean lower waiting times, access to higher quality facilities and better all-round care. For example many providers offer everything from child, dental and even cancer cover.

Keeping an eye on your body and how you feel will be important, and anything you feel isn’t quite right should involve a visit to the doctor. Even if it’s nothing it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Final Thoughts

Financial security is all well and good, but it’s impossible to put a price on your health. Try to be mindful of your diet, fitness and medical care and you’ll get so much more from your retirement.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

10 Comments

  1. We rarely appreciate simple things like mobility until it’s gone. Went to Green Bay this fall for a bucket list Packers game and one of our friends was so heavy he couldn’t make it up to our seats. Fortunately, some kind Green Bay fans in the lower rows came to the rescue. After the game, our friend needed a courtesy cart to get back to the parking lot. Like you said, James, “[t]here’s no point being comfortable financially if we’re not well enough to enjoy it!” Happy New Year, my friend.

    • Thanks for sharing your story, my friend. I’m hopeful the experience was an eye opener for your friend and they are making the effort to change their ways. With our financial lives basically on auto-pilot, the wife and I are currently laser focused on diet and exercise. We have every intention of being in the best mental and physical shape possible at retirement.

  2. Retiring in another country can be a very affordable way to get great health care. In Colombia my wife and I pay a total of $75 a month for medical, dental and vision coverage. Colombia offers great health care with many people visiting for medical tourism because it is so affordable.

    • Great point. I have been communicating a little with a couple in Costa Rica who say the same thing. Retiring outside of the States should certainly be a consideration.

  3. Great post! All the wealth in the world won’t mean anything unless you have health to back it up! Those are all 3 great tips! Eating healthy, exercising and staying on top of check ups are so important – and they make us feel so much better as well! Thanks for sharing, James!

    • No doubt there is value in thinking – and acting – in such a way to improve your total well-being, which in my mind means every day doing at least one thing to improve your fiscal fitness, physical fitness, mental fitness and spiritual fitness. Thanks for stopping by, Luke.

  4. The earliest I can retire is in 4 years, and I don’t know what sort of benefits coverage I will be able to opt into. It’s not too early to start asking questions, so I’ll get on that! My older sister has retired, and she’s playing better tennis now than she ever has in her life. People age so differently after about 55. It’s so, so wise to stay active.

    • No doubt that the importance of maintaining a high state of physical fitness cannot be overstated. I don’t see a lot of value in working hard to ensure you have significant income in retirement only to have its impact muted because of significant physical limitations. I work in an environment where everyone makes a substantial salary, and based on a number of conversations, most have significant nest eggs. However, the majority are in terrible shape. Unfortunately, they fail to grasp the importance of marrying physical and fiscal fitness.

      Thanks for stopping by, Prudence and adding to the conversation.

  5. Great post James! So true we spend so much time clearing our debt that we don’t focus on our health. Having huge debt can have such negative impact on our health. It’s really about finding a balance in life wouldn’t you agree?

    • Indeed. I am a firm believer in the idea of the ‘total fitness’ or ‘total well-being’ concept, which looks at physical, fiscal, mental and spiritual fitness. To be the best you can be and enjoy a high quality of life, you need to do one thing everyday to improve yourself in each area and recognize the connection between each facet of fitness. As an example, if an individual stops smoking, they are not only improving their physical health, they are improving their fiscal health as well. It’s a win-win!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *