A thorough, holistic financial plan should really encompass your health and wellness, but it is easy to get caught up in your finances and forget the larger perspective. When establishing a financial plan, it’s important to consider not just paying your expenses, but how to support and preserve your own health and well-being. Saving for a fulfilling retirement and enjoying your life along the way is possible when you make your health a priority. After all, isn’t the ultimate goal to retire happy now?
Protecting Your Health
Your health is about much more than just living longer. Sure, the average life expectancy in the United States is increasing and is something to take into consideration, but if you do not take care of your health, these may not all be good years. It is up to you to ensure that you are in the best health possible to experience a full life.
What ‘Health’ Means
Think of your health as more than just the basic numbers, like your body mass index and your blood pressure. Your overall health includes your stress levels, your satisfaction with your career and other financial choices, and how happy you are with your life both as it is now and where it is going.
If you are not satisfied with all aspects of your life, know that it is never too late to start living a healthier and happier life. Set aside some time for introspection to face your thoughts and feelings, but do not blame yourself for them. Adding on expectations about how you “should” feel or what you “should” have done can only slow you down on your journey to improve your wellness.
If you do have big financial goals you want to achieve, talk with a financial advisor about how to get on the right track to reach those goals.
Preventative health is one of the most valuable tools you have for protecting your health. For example, proactively undergoing screening can assist in early detection of diseases before you show symptoms, when the disease is often much easier to treat and cure.
To practice good preventative health, get a physical at least once a year. Ask your physician for a list of all screening options appropriate for your sex and age group and follow their recommended schedule.
Genetics and Family History
Your genes also play a role in your health and lifespan. If you have a family history of heritable conditions (such as cancers or neurodegenerative diseases), make sure your doctor is aware of your higher risk factor. Ask whether you should undergo more frequent screening than generally recommended or screening techniques that are only recommended for people in higher-risk categories.
Making Lifestyle Changes
Adding a preventative care schedule to your life is one positive lifestyle change you can make, but many other changes can also improve your lifespan and quality of life. For example, increasing the amount of exercise you do weekly, losing weight, quitting smoking and reducing or removing alcohol from your diet may all help your physical and emotional fitness.
To help you make lifestyle changes, consider how much time and money each change will require. For example, what will it take to increase how much you exercise? Paying for a gym membership? Joining a recreational sports team? How about reducing stress? Could you live closer to work and reduce your commute time? Could you change jobs completely? Could you reduce your other time commitments?
Solutions to lifestyle challenges might not be quick or easy to implement, but they provide a long-term goal to guide your decision-making. A financial advisor can help you build the costs of these changes into your budget as well as incorporate them into your longer-term financial planning strategy.
Long-Term Life Planning
When it comes to your longer-term health priorities, a major decision many people will need to make concerns their living situation after retirement. Consider whether you would want to continue living in your current home, eventually downgrade into a smaller house or condo, or move into a retirement living center. (Read our recent blog post: Top 8 Reasons Why San Antonio is a Good Place to Retire.)
You should also plan for what will happen if you ever need living assistance. Do you have family members who can support you or provide daily care? Would you prefer to live in an assisted living facility? If you are married, will you be able to take care of your spouse, and vice-versa?
These decisions may be difficult, but by making them ahead of time, you will be able to think rationally about your priorities rather than letting stress cloud your judgment if something unexpected arises.
As part of a holistic financial plan, you have options to protect your health, mitigate the cost of any health conditions and continue to support yourself and your loved ones, both before and after retirement. Here are some insurances to talk with your financial advisor about:
Disability Income Insurance
Disability insurance covers part of your monthly income lost during your working years if you are too injured or ill to work. A financial advisor can help you decide on a policy, including determining how much of your income the policy will cover (the maximum is usually 80 percent) and how debilitating your disability must be before the policy pays out.
Make sure that you have and take advantage of your health coverage during your working years, especially preventative care, which is often inexpensive. After retirement, most people choose Medicare coverage, but you will have options on which parts to use. A financial advisor can help you navigate this decision and find a suitable combination of plans based on your financial situation and health.
Long-Term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance pays out a daily amount for the length of time that you are unable to perform two or more of the activities of daily living, such as walking or feeding yourself. This type of insurance can be expensive, especially for policies that cover the cost of in-home care, but it may be a good option for those who are concerned about the risk of exhausting all their savings.
Your physical, emotional and financial health are interconnected. A financial advisor can help you approach your wellness holistically, evaluating your personal needs and offering strategies based on more than your bank and retirement account balances. As your health becomes a priority instead of an afterthought, you will begin to treat your mind and body as the priceless resources they are.
A financial advisor should have the same goals you have: For you to retire happy now!
This material is provided by PAX Financial Group, LLC. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The information herein has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note: Investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. Investments will fluctuate and when redeemed may be worth more or less than when originally invested. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All market indices discussed are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. Indices do not incur management fees, costs and expenses, and cannot be invested into directly. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results.