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How to Lower Your Healthcare Spending in Retirement

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, August 2, 2018

For most retirees, healthcare is one of the largest – if not the largest – expenditures in their budgets. With the cost of healthcare rising a bit each year, that’s probably not going to change too much.  However, you can take some steps to lower those expenses, and of course the biggest benefits of these practices is that you can enjoy a longer, healthier life.

Stop smoking and drinking. Smoking doesn’t just put you at greater risk of lung cancer (and other cancers, for that matter). It will also contribute to the development of cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks, the leading cause of death in the United States. Strokes are another significant risk factor, and the recovery from a stroke can take years.

Drinking alcohol, on the other hand, might come with fewer risks if your use is light. However, even light drinkers often find themselves imbibing more often in retirement, because they’re enjoying more relaxed social situations, cruises, and vacations. If you become a moderate to heavy drinker, you will put yourself at risk of liver disease, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and several types of cancer. Alcohol use can also make diabetes management much more complicated.

Exercise regularly. People who exercise regularly, even just half an hour per day, drastically cut their risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health conditions. It’s fine if you don’t consider yourself an athlete; simply walking through your neighborhood or riding a stationary bike will suffice.

Eat your fruits and veggies. Most of us don’t eat enough fresh produce, and we put ourselves at risk of colon cancer and other diseases. Aim for five to seven servings per day, and remember to “eat the rainbow” (fruits and veggies that are red, orange, yellow, green, and so on). This practice helps to ensure that you’re getting enough of the right vitamins and other micronutrients.

Investigate your insurance options. Each year during Medicare’s Annual Election Period, reevaluate your insurance plan(s). At different times in your life, different plans might better meet your needs. So, always take advantage of the opportunity to make a necessary and potentially beneficial change.

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