WSJ: Don’t exercise??–retirement may be shorter but still costly

Jonathan Clements writes the very popular “Getting Going” column for the WSJ that covers all sorts of personal finance issues including retirement, financial planning, saving, investments, and spending patterns among many others. It’s a basic “how to” column on managing your finances. He is a most practical and sensible writer and widely read.

He doesn’t venture into the health and fitness arena that often but when he does he brings his normal no nonsense approach to the issues and is direct and blunt about the realities of how your lifestyle, fitness level and health will affect your finances in retirement. Essentially, he saying that those that exercise and maintain good health are going to have a longer retirement and need to plan their retirement savings accordingly.

However, those that don’t practice good health routines may not live as long but their retirement may be just as costly because of their additional health and long term care costs.

Money quote:

“Yes, if your family history and your own health suggest you will live to a ripe old age, you should save enough to carry yourself through 25 or 30 years of retirement, and maybe more.

But if you are overweight, never exercise or smoke a pack a day, you could still need a fair amount saved for retirement. True, your retirement may be relatively short.

But it could prove mighty expensive. There’s an increased risk you will suffer a debilitating illness or struggle with your mobility, and thus you may get hit with long-term-care costs — possibly the biggest expense that retirees face.”

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