When it comes to planning for a secure retirement I bet you have the major strategies covered:
-Invest in your 401(k) or 403(b) up to point of the match? Check
-Save in a Roth IRA? Check
-Aim to have your mortgage paid off before you retire? Check
-Commit to getting plenty of exercise?
Bet that last one may not be on your retirement planning checklist. But it should be. You’ve heard me point out that 50% of today’s 65 year old women will still be alive at age 88 and 50% of today’s 65 year old men will still be living past age 85. But what so often gets lost in all the talk about increased longevity is the quality of life we all might have as we age.
And there’s no question that working out can help improve and maintain good health. Resistance training at the gym to keep your muscles toned is fabulous. And if you want to be a running/swimming/biking warrior, go for it. But if that just isn’t you-or the current you-please realize that long daily walks can do a ton of good too. Physical and mental.
Getting and staying fit in your 50s and 60s sets you up for remaining mobile, and potentially healthier in your 70s and beyond. Are there plenty of later-life illnesses that are beyond our control? Of course. But the point is to focus on what is in your control. Maintaining a healthy weight and healthy blood pressure can only help a later-life you live the life you want. It may mean being able to stay independent your entire life, or delay when you need to consider a different living arrangement.
And you better believe there is a financial angle to all of this. A married 65 year old couple with just typical prescription drug costs in retirement that wants to have a high confidence they will be able to handle their retirement medical expenses is projected to need nearly $150,000 less over their lifetime than a couple with very high prescription drug costs. I hope that’s ample motivation to get you moving a bit.