Prospects for retirement are bleak. The older generation has saved and still doesn’t have enough money for retirement. The younger generation isn’t saving and likely won’t be able to retire at 65. Economists now say the key to being set for retirement is to focus on health rather than finances.

Control The Runaway Cost

Housing, food, and transportation costs stay the same whether you’re retired or not, but retirees have one cost that seems to never stop increasing: healthcare. While it’s only natural to become less healthy with age, some elderly adults suffer from preventable, costly, chronic conditions.

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Type 2 diabetes is a common health problem that impacts millions. The CDC found that a quarter of Americans over 65 have diabetes, and diabetes.org estimates that diabetes treatment costs a little under $10,000 each year.

Do Something Now

The smartest move is to do something about your health before you get sick. There are steps that people of all ages can take to prevent being diagnosed with costly chronic conditions.

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A diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fatty, sugary, carbohydrate-rich foods helps prevent heart disease and diabetes. Strength exercises prevent osteoporosis and cardio prevents cardiovascular problems. Brain games, like crossword puzzles, help to combat Alzheimers and dementia. Avoidance of tobacco, binge drinking, and illicit drugs helps to prevent a variety of cancers.

Is Health Care Really That Expensive?

How effective is this advice? By many estimates, an adult who takes better care of themselves and lives to 90 can save as much as $100,000 in health care expenses during retirement. That’s enough for some easy living in your 90s.

Happy Cures

It’s worth paying extra now for healthier foods or a gym membership if it means saving thousands during retirement when you’ll have less disposable income. Future you will thank you later!