As you continue to plan and save for retirement, one common theme may repeat itself in your mind: How can I live better in retirement, and enjoy a roomier budget, when I’m limited in the amount that I can save? After all, even if you’re saving all that you can, inflation and a longer life span could work together to constrict your budget.
The good news is that there is one thing you can do now, without having to save any additional money that could make a huge impact on reducing your expenses after you retire. Not only will it impact your budget; you will actually enjoy your retirement more as well!
Lose 15 pounds now, by committing to a healthier diet and a regular exercise plan.
At first glance, this strategy may seem to have zero connection to money or your future financial situation. But consider these facts:
- A study by Fidelity estimates that the average 65-year-old couple retiring in 2014 would need $220,000 to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses in retirement. These numbers assume that the couple has Medicare insurance only, and no retiree health benefits from a former employer.
- Each year, the average couple retiring before age 65 can expect to spend $17,000 on health care before they even reach Medicare eligibility.
As the nation faces rising health care costs due to the effects of obesity, diets based on junk food, and lack of exercise, we will all suffer some of the financial consequences. But you can take the right steps to improve your own health, and therefore you have some measure of control over your out-of-pocket health care expenses in retirement. Since the effects of being overweight tend to increase as we age, take action now to improve your health and reduce medical bills later.
Finally, consider this: Researchers have actually uncovered a link between exercise and a higher income. Men who exercise at least three times per week earn about 6 percent more than men who don’t exercise, while women who exercise earn about 10 percent more! Exercise improves mood and boosts mental acuity, which can increase your productivity at work and in your personal life. Committing to a regular exercise plan could prevent larger medical bills later, and it might even help you earn more (and save more for retirement) now.