Planning on retiring at 70 or later? More and more people are. That way they expect to have enough saved to retire on. I see a flaw in that plan that I think many people are overlooking: to be healthy enough to work until age 70, you’ll need a strong, healthy body.
I know a lot of people in their 60’s who have either retired or are still working but dreaming of retiring. In at least half of the cases, very poor health is taking over their plans. The causes vary, but many of them come back to weighing too much.
Extra weight often leads to knee problems. The number of knee replacement surgeries has skyrocketed. Arthritis is a factor as are your genes, but the one factor you can control is your weight. There are some things you can do to prevent or aleviate arthritis, but keeping a healthy weight is very important. Swimming or using an eliptical doesn’t put pressure on joints and is better than jogging which slams the joints repeatedly. The type of exercises you do now could affect your health later.
Everyone knows that overweight people tend to get diabetes. If you can’t get your diabetes under control, you end up with even more serious health problems. There is some evidence that a low carbohydrate diet helps people lose weight faster and keep if off longer. It also helps to avoid diabetes. Losing weight is not easy; everyone knows that. Starting in young adulthood to maintain a healthy weight is extremely important for your long-term health. It’s easier to keep it off in the first place than to take it off later when damage might already be done to your arteries.
I don’t know many people who smoke anymore or drink excessively, thank goodness. But I do see lots and lots of people with health problems due to their weight. Not only will they not be able to work as long as they had planned, but their expenses due to health care can make a huge dent in their retirement savings. Sure, we could die from a car accident or cancer from an unknown source. Anything could happen. But the common thing I do see all the time are health problems stemming from being overweight. It’s a difficult fight, but well worth it in the quality of life we can expect in retirement.
I know this isn’t the kind of post that cheers you up and I know how difficult it is to lose weight and eat right. Exercise is a pain for most people. I’m just as guilty as the next person in wanting to avoid exercise. My only advice is to keep trying. If you give up you could be looking at those “golden years” being pretty harsh on your health and your finances. It’s not a pretty picture.
Try some new healthy recipes (these are also frugal). Look for ways to include exercise in your day. As soon as the weather cools, how about starting a walking program during your lunch hour? It will clear your head to get some fresh air too!
Bottom Line: make a healthy lifestyle part of your retirement planning. It’s one investment that you can count on to maximize your choices. And who doesn’t like choices?