Every year in January, people make resolutions to maintain better health habits. Logically, we all know a healthy life style can help us live longer and improve quality of life but has it occurred to you that better health can even improve your retirement portfolio? Not only will you be healthier to enjoy activities but you’ll end up saving a tremendous amount on health care. According to this article from Fidelity Investments, retiree healthcare costs are continuing to rise. The estimate for retiree health care spending rises to an average of $275,000 per couple, excluding long-term care expenses. That’s an increase of $15,000 from 2016. Considering how expensive health care currently is, investing in your health now can pay huge dividends in the future. Here is a more detailed break down.
Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic diseases and healthcare costs in the United States. Current estimates of the medical cost of adult obesity in the United States range from $147 billion to nearly $210 billion per year. The majority of the spending is generated from treating obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and heart disease, which can mostly be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is responsible for $61.8 billion in Medicare and Medicaid spending.
The relationship between obesity and diabetes is so closely related that the term ‘diabesity’ has been coined by the National Institute of Health Services. The cost of medications, insulin and the regular doctor visits necessary for diabetics can be staggering. Unfortunately, if you have type 2 diabetes, It’s likely not going to be the only thing you have to worry about. Diabetes can lead to other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, loss of vision and amputation. They are all expensive to treat and some such as loss of vision and amputation may require an entire lifestyle change. The National Diabetes Statistics report estimated 30.3 million people, or 9.4% of the population had diabetes in 2015. The percentage of adults with diabetes increases with age, reaching a high of 25.2% among those aged 65 years or older. Preventing type 2 diabetes by controlling alcohol intake, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly is not only good for your body, but good for your wallet too.
Heart disease is another common risk for people who are overweight. Obesity can cause an increase in blood cholesterol levels and triglycerides, lower HDL levels which have been linked with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Other behaviors that increase the likelihood of heart disease include use of alcohol and tobacco and lack of activity. Heart disease can be treated with medications and in some cases surgery but the best way to avoid heart disease is by leading an active lifestyle that includes a healthy diet.
“Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year—a burden that contributes to most of the more than $320 billion in annual healthcare costs and lost productivity caused by cardiovascular disease,” said Barbara Bowman, Ph.D., director of CDC’s Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.
Memory Care & Alzheimer’s
An active lifestyle has been linked to maintaining the ability to think, learn and make sound judgment throughout life.
Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America, costing more than cancer and heart disease. In 2017, the direct costs to American society of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias will total an estimated $259 billion. According to Alzheimers.org, a recent study found that in the last five years of life, the costs of a person with dementia, on average, total more than $287,000. This is compared with $175,000 for a person with heart disease and $173,000 for an individual with cancer.
The Up Side to Healthy Living
All too often we hear the stories of people just reaching retirement age only to discover a chronic health condition that will end up costing more than their savings will allow.
Don’t wait until another ‘New Year’ rolls around to get your health and finances in shape. Contact us today for a free portfolio review and let us help you retire to a life of health and happiness.