Impacting retirement planning with preventative medicine and healthy lifestyle funding

August 7, 2017 by Alex Noonan

A client gets healthy in order to reduce medical expenses later in life.

about the author:

Alex Noonan

Technical writer

Joining Advicent as a partner support specialist in 2013, Alex provided high-quality support for partners within NaviPlan and Profiles. In 2015, he took that product knowledge to the learning development team as a technical writer, creating detailed documentation for partners with a practical focus on what they need to know. Alex received a BSBA from Drake University in Marketing/Advertising Creative in 2013.

When many clients think of their retirement needs, they may think of lifestyle expenses, vacations, and late-in-life medical needs. However, a common―yet forgotten―expense is one of poor health that can creep up on a client when they least expect it.

According to the CDC, over 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 40-59 are obese and historical data shows that number has been growing over the years. Obesity has higher risk of life-changing conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, various cancers, and stroke; these conditions can significantly change a client’s retirement spending needs.

While it is a financial advisor’s job to manage a client’s financial health, it is also wise to factor in a client’s physical health as well. Consideration and allocation of funds for preventative spending on healthy lifestyle and medical visits during the accumulation phase and through retirement can help minimize risk of long-term medical conditions later in life, especially when a client may already be at risk.

Medical

Based on data from the CDC Health Interview Poll, 82.8 percent of adults visited a physician in the past year, whether for a physical or for an existing condition. Regular visits can serve as a benchmark to track the health of clients and get insight into any potential health issues and costs that may come in the future. Allocating necessary funds for routine medical checkups should be factored into pre-retirement expense planning, and should be continued through retirement.

Lifestyle                                                               

With changes in the average modern lifestyle, many people struggle with finding the time to exercise and the ability to eat well while also managing work, interests, children, etc. While it is easy to forgo these things, a proper consistent diet and―to a lesser degree―routine exercise can define how healthy someone can be during their entire life.

Diet

The simplest thing many can do is track what they eat on a regular basis, learning and managing their caloric and macronutrient (carbohydrate, fats, and proteins) limits, and tracking what they might be consuming in excess. Additionally, clients can attempt to prepare meals at home, especially for lunch during the workweek. Doing so not only helps minimize unhealthier food decisions by eating at a restaurant but can also save them money on a regular basis.

Exercise

Exercise is often the most difficult lifestyle choice to implement, as it takes time and energy, and is often seen as a painstaking task. While many individuals encounter advertisements on television and radio for extreme workouts that take a minimal amount of time, it is better for the average person to exercise at a steady pace regularly.

The goal for exercise should not automatically be about getting extremely fit, but rather to keep body fat percentages and heart health in order. Consistent speed cardio with light callisthenic weight training is ideal to maintain such a goal. Aiming for 60 minutes a day of such a routine, while eating within their caloric limits, will ensure clients can maintain healthy body weight during not only their pre-retirement phases but also during retirement if they keep it up.

Investing in a gym membership or home gym exercise equipment can be seen as a potential pre-retirement expense for clients. It may not seem to be as essential as lifestyle expenses, retirement savings or college funds, but its impact can ripple through a client’s entire life and may prevent a significant unplanned medical expense later in life.

To learn how to effectively communicate with clients regarding their pre-retirement and retirement lifestyle choices, click here.