Health Affects Retirement Income Needs

There’s an old saying that good health is worth its weight in gold. That’s especially true when it comes to retirement. Your health status impacts your golden years in ways you might not have considered.

A recent report from Rutgers University suggests that the “costs” of chronic health concerns extend beyond the most readily apparent, namely higher medical expenditures over the long term.

Less apparent—but no less important—is the financial impact health can have on your retirement savings. The Rutgers report noted that medical costs for chronic illness divert thousands of dollars over multiple years. For people with health challenges, money that might have been invested in retirement savings is spent instead on prescriptions, doctor bills and hospitalizations.

Invest in Healthier Steps

MetLife’s ninth annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends found that people who don’t feel in control of their finances are more likely to be less healthy than those who feel financially stable. Whether they are spending more on medicine and medical care or working less because of illness, people with health issues are more likely to feel financially squeezed, compared with healthier individuals.

Don’t wait until you retire to focus on your health. The sooner you begin, the better off you’ll be financially. Summer is an ideal time to start with a few realistic changes. Try these ideas:

  • Fit a walk into your daily routine. If you’re enrolled in the Virgin HealthMiles program, you can earn rewards for stepping up your activity each day. But, you don’t have to be in the program to step it up!
  • Make healthier food choices. Choose fruit over fruit pie or a broiled chicken breast instead of a burger with condiments.
  • Find healthy releases for stress. Talk with a friend, write in a journal or listen to music.
  • Take advantage of wellness opportunities offered through your church, conference or employer. Does your church have a parish nurse or health ministry? Does you annual conference or employer offer wellness benefits? Explore healthy options that can lower your medical costs. The sooner you start saving from wellness, the more money—and better health—you’ll have in retirement.

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