It is no secret that a healthy lifestyle has a significant impact on your well-being and the earlier you implement a healthy lifestyle strategy, the greater the potential benefit regarding your longevity. Your lifespan can be increased by as much as 14 years for a woman and 12 years for a man by following five lifestyle habits, according to the American Heart Association's journal Circulation study. The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but it ranks about 53rd in life expectancy from birth compared to other developed nations (according to the World Health Organization, 2015 data).
What are these five lifestyle habits? The first is leading a non-smoking life, and the second is not subjecting yourself to other people's second-hand smoke. If you smoke, find a way to quit. Try hypnotherapy, patches, gum - whatever it takes - but figure out a way to stop smoking. Breath is life, and without a healthy respiratory system, you are shortening your lifespan. If you do not smoke now or never have, that is great! Stay on that path and do not subject yourself to other people's smoking.
The second thing you can do to extend your lifespan is exercise for 30 minutes each day. Closely related, the third is to maintain a healthy body mass index (BMI). The best and easiest daily exercise is to walk. If you are currently out of shape and 30 minutes a day seems unachievable, then begin with just 10 minutes. Make a plan and increase your time to 20 minutes as you become more physically able to do so. By the time you are ready for 30 minutes of daily exercising, be sure that your pace is moderate to vigorous. Walk every day in the morning at a set time and make it your routine. Walking will help you lose weight, gain muscle, and reduce your body mass index.
The fourth and fifth things to do are eat a healthy diet and consume only moderate amounts of alcohol. Healthier foods are generally found on the outskirts of your supermarket and include fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy and eggs, as well as lean meats. The inside aisles of a supermarket are packed with food products, not real food. Much of this food is so over-processed and chemical-laden that it is not healthy to eat. Consuming moderate levels of alcohol is defined as one drink a day for women and two for men. Adopting a new healthier lifestyle can include days where you choose not to have an alcoholic beverage. If you have fallen into excessive drinking patterns, make changes today. The liver is a restorative organ and can heal itself (if excessive damage has not been done).
If these five healthy life choices are something you already do or are willing to implement in your lifestyle and you do add 12 or 14 years to your life expectancy, what if you don't have the money to survive those additional years? The Social Security Administration says that about one in four Americans 65 or older today will live past age 90 and one out of ten will live past 95. Where will the money come from if you live another decade or longer? Health care costs are skyrocketing and assisted living facilities are expensive. Unless you are already financially independent, 60 is the new 50 and retirement may not come as soon to you. You can make adjustments to your life today that will help you to become more financially fit just as you can make changes to become more physically fit and extend your lifespan.
Saving money aggressively and developing the habit of spending less is possibly the single best way to stretch your retirement assets. Learn to live below your means. Beyond being thrifty, change your trajectory regarding your investment strategy. Talk to a trusted financial advisor to see if you need to shift any investment strategies.
While longevity can only be estimated and everyone will have their own life expectancy experience, increased awareness of healthy lifestyle choices are changing the way seniors are approaching aging. Your longer lifespan will require adequate funding which can be achieved by frugal spending habits, possibly delaying your retirement, and thinking differently about conventional investment strategies in senior years. Getting sound and trusted advice about longevity and your financial aging strategy can bring you peace of mind as well as financial security.
Contact our Winthrop office today by calling (207) 377-6966 and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you with your planning.