If you are concerned about running out of money during retirement, there are several steps you can take now to avoid this catastrophe. Healthcare costs continue to rise at an alarming rate in the United States. Based on estimates provided by The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), total health care spending grew by an average of 4.6% in 2017, reaching nearly $3.5 trillion. Prescriptions are arbitrarily sacrificed by some retirees as if they had a choice in taking this life-extending medicine. The reason for such a drastic decision is the required choice some people make to purchase food, shelter and car fuel instead of their medications.
To mitigate the rising cost of healthcare, start making a few small changes in your lifestyle. One simply has to look around to notice many of us carry far too much weight on our body. This result was not realized overnight. We suffer, or enjoy, the results from our choices we make.
As a teenager, I enjoyed a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, biscuits, gravy, hash browns, fruit, pancakes and, sometimes, chocolate gravy (more on this delightful dish later). I consumed, at least, four thousand calories per day and could not gain weight. Oh, to be young again. Eating this breakfast today would be tantamount to physical torture for my knees, hips and feet. A more sensible approach to eating must be subscribed to at the age of 54. Now, I eat high fiber, low fat meals that are limited to 1,500 calories or less per day.
Another area of choice is activity. Unless you are physically incapable of walking, this form of movement is one of the easiest and best exercises anyone can perform. You can lose a pound of weight for every 3,500 calories you burn walking. Simply calculated, if you burn 350 calories a day, you would lose one pound every 10 days by doing nothing more than walking.
How does this relate to retirement planning? As a retirement expert, we use a factor of 20% of the person’s retirement income for medical purposes. This may seem like a lot of money but the rising cost of healthcare could require significantly more of your income in retirement than you think. Included in the 20% factor would be medicine, physician costs, dental costs, nurses aide expenditures, and, potentially, nursing home needs.
Oh, back to the chocolate gravy. This southern dish consists of Hershey’s Chocolate Baking Powder, sugar (lots of sugar), flour and pure vanilla extract. Mix in a big stew pot on the stove, add water and stir until it boils. Take from the stove, add a hot, home-made biscuit with lots of butter and you have a rib-sticking delight that is out of this world. Also, this is obviously not healthy. So, I only allow myself this treat for breakfast at Christmas. To offset the effects of the calories and sugar, I run a 5-K or complete a CrossFit Workout of the Day (WOD). Don’t tell my doctor!
If you wish for your money to last longer than you, make some simple changes in your lifestyle. Consult your physician before starting any eating or exercise programs. Hope to see you out walking and exercising in our Southeast Oklahoma outdoors!