Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Biggest Future Unknown Financial Threat – Health Costs

I plan to retire when I’m 67 although I'd like to downshift my career when I hit 55 or so. But what if my health deteriorates before then? What will also happen to Medicare? What if I’m underinsured/uninsurable due to a pre-existing disease?

For retired couples today, Fidelity is recommending a reserve of $225,000 just to cover medical costs! Assuming a present day cost of $113,000 for a single person and a yearly 4% inflation rate, I’ll need to have $365,000 saved by age 67 to cover medical costs alone!

I’ve concluded that in order to ensure wealth, I also need to be more proactive with my health now.

Here are some of my health goals:

1. Maintain An Appropriate Weight
Check. I’m 5’1”, 105 lbs and my BMI is 19.8. The ideal weight range for someone my height is 97.9 – 132.3 lbs.

Additionally, I’m also pear shaped with a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.74.
This means I have the lowest risk of heart disease and diabetes. Sweet!

2. Get Immunized and Tested
Semi-okay. I go to my yearly check up with my gynecologist. I go to my primary doctor to get a flu shot every year. I go to my dentist and optometrist yearly as well. When I used to test my blood glucose regularly (before the meter ran out of battery) and my blood glucose was always normal.

I’ve never been tested for cholesterol and don’t know when I got my last tetanus/diphtheria shots, though.

3. Eat Fewer Salty Snack Foods and More Fruits and Vegetables
Needs significant improvement. Given the choice, I’d be eating potato chips, beer and ice cream for dinner every night. I hate salads too.

I found that this health goal is easier to accomplish by eating from the 14 Super Foods.

At present, the only items I’m eating regularly on this list are: tomatoes, grapefruit, soy and tea. 4 out of 14 is not good at all. My shopping list should start including broccoli, spinach, carrots, blueberries, yogurt, chicken, salmon, oatmeal, nuts and beans.

4. Exercise
Complete failure. I’m, shall we say, athletically challenged. I need to get back into the habit of walking at least 30 minutes a day. Thus far, I probably walk 30 minutes a week.