Senior Living Care Blog

Don't Let Healthcare Cost Your Retirement

Posted by Sara Niemiec on Oct 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

The problem that many seniors run into when planning for their retirement is that people don’t take into account their healthcare and medical costs. Healthcare and medical bills can account for a large portion of your retirement finances, with the average healthcare cost for couples over the age of 61 being nearly $241,000. No one thinks to include these expenses into their long-term retirement planning, but the truth is that old age can bring a host of impairments that may require extensive medical costs to cover.


Approaching Your Retirement

An elderly couple holding hands and walking together outside.

The problem with properly planning your retirement funds is that many of us underestimate the severity of illnesses or other health concerns that may cause us to retire earlier than expected or that seriously impact our daily ability to function. It becomes even more of a pressing concern when you consider that retiring earlier means less time to plan and less time to save. Most people don’t realize that major diagnoses such as cancer, or a serious injury could result in severe financial distress.


Another major component of retirement to consider is also your employee benefits package. Many people retire and wish that they had negotiated better severance and retirement packages before quitting. By utilizing a holistic approach to retirement planning, you can accurately account for how much money you have and what you will need to retire comfortably. In addition to your assets, pensions, and retirement savings, you should include the following costs when calculating your retirement plan.


  • The cost of senior living facilities, retirement communities, home care, palliative care, and other living costs should you be unable to live independently.
  • Emergency funds should be stashed away but easily accessible and easy to liquidate.
  • The costs of replacing employee benefits and medical device costs such as eyeglasses, walkers, wheelchairs, hearing aids, and more.
  • Estate planning and wills that identify beneficiaries and powers of attorney.
  • A legacy plan that protects your savings
  • Health insurance and life insurance policies


Adult children of baby boomers and soon-to-be retirees should take these considerations into account when having a conversation with their parents about retirement. Make sure to get a handle on what their budget, healthcare costs, prescription costs, and what plans they are currently under. These kinds of conversations may be difficult to bring up but they save money and time in the long run.



Financial Health and Personal Health

Financial health and personal health are closely intertwined. This is because individuals who invest in their futures and save money are more likely to be the same people who are proactive about leading an active and healthy lifestyle. People who have good financial health and good financial habits are more likely to lead happier, healthier, and successful lives, at least according to the Journal of Psychological Sciences.


“Existing retirement-contribution patterns and future health improvements are highly correlated. Employees who save for their future by contributing to a 401(k) show improvements in their abnormal blood test results and health behaviors approximately 27% more often than non-contributors.”


Eating healthy can not only impact your body but also help your pocketbook as well. It’s not difficult math. Eating out can be expensive and eating fast food can be costly for your physical health. Preparing your own healthy meals helps cut down on spending and cut down on unneeded carbs and transfat. According to the USDA, the average family of four eating moderately will spend about $245 per week on food, which is half of what they’d spend eating at a restaurant. Studies also find that people who eat out on a regular basis are also less likely to plan grocery store trips or plan retirement savings strategies. By budgeting your food spending, setting goals, and cutting down on unneeded junk food, you can get the best of all worlds.


Regular exercise can also help you save money. Studies show that regular exercise promotes endorphin production and increased energy levels. When your body and brain are in a better state from exercise, they are more prone to making good decisions related to financial planning and managing your portfolio. Exercising helps you connect to your body and improve your sense of well being, making it easier to reach goals. For example, the same mechanisms that lead us to stress-eating could just as easily lead us to stress spending. Exercise helps clear your mind and leads you to make informed decisions.


Exercise and eating healthy can also extend your working ability. If you remain healthy, you have the opportunity to remain in the workforce for a longer time. Today’s retirement is simply not the same as it was 20 years ago. Seniors and all adults need to be proactive about planning for retirement, with diligent investing and a careful balancing of finances. According to the Families and Work Institute, many people today work past the age of 65 in order to earn enough money to retire more comfortably or to maintain a sense of purpose. Earning additional income in your retirement years can help you build more retirement savings, interact socially, and learn new skills.



Ways to Improve Your Money and Finances

As stated above, a healthy lifestyle can positively impact your financial outlook as well as your lifespan. It seems simple, but planning to be healthy is the same as planning to be wealthy. It takes saving, putting in work, and careful monitoring at all times. Here are some concrete ways you can start to save money while improving your physical and mental health.

  • Set a spending goal for the week and see if you can stay under it
  • Limit eating out to once per week
  • Limit all fast food and buy groceries to prepare your own food
  • Get regular exercise in the morning
  • Get around eight hours of sleep per night



Next Steps

There they are; the top ways to save money and improve your physical health. Are you looking into a senior living facility for your family member that will support their senior health without breaking the bank? Landmark Senior Living is available today to take you and your loved one for a tour at one of our seven premier and affordable communities. Call now for more information!


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Topics: Senior Tips

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