How Staying Healthy Benefits Your Finances
Staying healthy takes discipline, dedication, and focus. It’s much harder to force yourself to eat that salad and exercise for 30 minutes when you’d much rather grab a pizza and watch TV on the couch. But being healthy offers more than just a smaller pant size.
There’s tons of research out there proving that your physical health is tied to your financial health (and vice versa). For example, one study found that individuals with a low credit score are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. (1) Another study found that those who contribute to their 401(k) are more likely to have better health than those who don’t. (2)
These are two examples of many studies that have been done. If you need more proof, here are three reasons why staying healthy benefits your finances (and two tips for staying in tip-top shape).
1. You’re Less Likely to Be Forced to Retire Early
Over 50% of retirees are forced to retire earlier than expected. (3) For many of them (38%), the reason boils down to health issues. Take a moment and let that sink in.
Imagine that you have 5 or 10 years left to work and save for retirement when suddenly you find out you have an unexpected health issue and can no longer work. Your future income disappears in the blink of an eye, and now you’re stuck with whatever savings you’d already accumulated.
Here’s why this is heartbreaking for many Americans. The last 5 to 10 years before retirement are usually your most lucrative years because your pay is higher than it’s ever been, but because your kids are grown, you have fewer expenses. Those last years are where most individuals catch up on their savings goals and take steps to ensure they’re able to live out their ideal life in retirement. But all of that can be taken away if you’re forced into an early retirement.
2. You’re More Likely to Enjoy Retirement
Staying healthy improves your odds of actually enjoying retirement because you’re not stuck living out your days with a series of doctors’ appointments. In fact, a new study reveals that 81% of retirees say health is the #1 ingredient to a happy retirement—even more so than having wealth. (4)
And because you’re less likely to be forced into early retirement, you have more money to do all those bucket-list items you never got to do during your working years. You can travel the world, take trips with the grandkids, play golf every day, volunteer, start a passion project—whatever makes you happy.
3. You Spend Less on Healthcare
The average couple retiring at age 65 will need $285,000 to cover healthcare costs in retirement. (5) And this estimate doesn’t even include potential long-term care costs for a home health aide or a private room in a nursing home (which can cost up to $100,000 a year). (6)
I’m not spouting these statistics to scare you, but rather to drive home the point that staying healthy means more than just looking good. It’s about spending less on healthcare expenses, getting to work as long as you want, and having more energy to do the things you love in retirement.
Two Tips for Staying Healthy
There’s no doubt you’re busy. Between work life and your family, you may have little time to make drastic changes to your health. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take to stay in tip-top shape.
Make exercising fun. Getting in shape doesn’t have to mean pumping iron every day at the gym. It could be something as fun as taking a Zumba class with friends, going for a hike outside of town, or joining a recreational softball league. Find something you enjoy doing for exercise, and make it a part of your daily routine. You’ll reap the benefits of being healthy without even having to try.
Experiment with healthy recipes. I recommend trying a Mediterranean diet and shopping for organic produce at your local farmers market (that’s what I love to do). If you have a few indulgent recipes you love, see if you can make them healthy with a few simple swaps. Replace butter with applesauce or mashed bananas in baked goods. Use whole wheat pasta or spaghetti squash instead of regular pasta. Halve the amount of meat and cheese in a recipe and add in more veggies. Even simple changes can bring about drastic results.
How We Help
Staying healthy is just one part of living a long and happy retirement. Another is making sure you have enough money to fund your hopes and dreams. If you’d like to chat with a financial professional about whether you’re on track to retire, our team at SC Financial Services, Inc would love to sit down with you. To get started, contact me today at 480-214-9596 or firstname.lastname@example.org.