In a perfect world everyone would be able to set aside adequate resources to handle any and all expenses that may come their way throughout their lives while they make estate plans with a separate block of untouchable assets. In fact, you hear a lot of people speak about estate planning as if the above scenario is the rule rather than the exception, but in reality this is not the case, even for people who have been quite successful throughout their lives.
There is a very wide range of expenses that you may incur from the day you retire through to the day you pass away, and your health is the major determining factor. In addition to budgeting, retirement planning involves deciding what it is you would like to do with your hard-earned free time. Your health is key on this level as well because you can’t enjoy all of those things that you always wanted to do without it.
A lot of people wring their hands and worry about the high cost of health care and possible long-term care, but the fact is that there is nothing we can do about these things as individuals. However, one thing that is within our control is the way that we take care of ourselves.
In a very real sense the best way to reduce the possibility that the costs associated with health care will become a problem is to stay as healthy as you can. Many people like to think that they are victims if they fall ill, and that “age takes its toll.” But the fact is that age in and of itself does not make you sick. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, poor eating habits and lack of exercise are the leading root causes of preventable death in the United States, causing up to 580,000 deaths per year.
There are some things that you can’t prevent through healthy lifestyle choices, but it could be argued that the best thing you can do to address the rising costs of health care is to do what is within your power to keep yourself well.