When you think about a healthy lifestyle, you also want to consider the length of time that your money may have to last until you finally pass away. While that is a positive outcome of being healthy and a worthy goal, there is the opposite potential. Medical science and good exercise may have found answers to how you can protect yourself from dying quickly. However, as you get older and frailer, you and your partner may require costly critical care that you may not be able to afford.
Ask yourself who will look after you if you become infirm? If you are in the position today to take a close look at disability or critical care insurance, you may want to discuss this option with me when we meet.
Remember that you will likely be in retirement for a long time, particularly if you are healthy, and you will want to continue with an active lifestyle for as long as possible. That can cause some financial pressure if you haven’t planned to have your money last as long as you do! Your financial advisor can help you build a long-term investment strategy that doesn’t have to end when you reach 71.
Finally, we never know how long our good health will last or when our time will be up. Always ensure that your estate plan, including your will, is up-to-date and that you have discussed everything with your partner.
The experts who are part of my retirement advice group have suggested some “best practices” for people in or approaching retirement to promote healthy aging. The Retirement Lifestyle Centre advises that:
Research shows that weight control is a matter of calories in versus calories out. In other words, balance your caloric intake with your level of activity or energy expenditure in order to maintain a healthy weight as you age.
Avoid the “magic bullet” or a quick fix to losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Positive nutritional habits that you can manage and maintain over time are the key to success.
Make your health and well-being a priority. Do not put your own needs on hold for anybody else. Discover your own motivation for getting on track. Maybe it’s your doctor’s advice, maybe it’s realizing you’re out of breath doing a simple activity, or maybe it’s a desire to be more active with your grandchildren.
Write down what you eat. This will help you to discover what is really going on and help you to make wiser choices.
Weigh yourself regularly. Your weight will naturally fluctuate by a couple of pounds either way, so don’t obsess over the number. Instead, look for trends and adjust your efforts accordingly.
Set small goals. Losing just 10% of your body weight (20 pounds for someone who weighs 200 pounds) is very beneficial. Once you achieve a small goal, then try for more.
Plan ahead. Make an eating plan that includes 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables and 2-3 servings of low-fat dairy products daily. These foods are filling and are low in calories. Include protein, of course, and even some higher-calorie favorites, but keep the portions small and enjoy every bite.
Don’t skip meals. Eat healthy snacks between meals—every four to five hours. Discover those reasonable snacks that you truly enjoy so you don’t feel deprived!
Set reasonable limits on eating meals out, especially fast food. People tend to eat more when they eat out, and they give up control of food preparation. If you do eat out, check out the menu ahead online for healthy options and be mindful of portions. Consider splitting your meal with your restaurant companion or taking half of your entrée home with you.
Avoid using food as your major coping mechanism. Look for alternative ways to reward yourself, divert your mind, handle stress, relax and give yourself comfort.1
1 Used with permission from Retirement Lifestyle Centre and Barry LaValley