Remember the fantasy of early retirement? Today, delayed retirement is the trend to watch.
Financial and medical themes merge in the three rules for staying as healthy as possible and thereby retaining the flexibility to work longer:
• Be proactive about your health
• Get disability insurance
• Be aware that disease is unpredictable
The first rule suggests we need to broaden our idea of what it means to invest for retirement. Contribute to registered retirement savings plans and tax-free savings accounts, sure. But don't shy away from investing in a good pair of running or walking shoes or a membership at the YMCA, a community centre or a health club.
Critical illness insurance is based on the fact that people are more likely to become disabled than die prematurely. Accordingly, critical illness insurance is much more expensive than basic term life insurance. It's most cost-effective to get CI insurance when you're young, but it's a considerable expense at any age and some people simply won't be able to afford it.
The unpredictability of disease argues for diligent retirement saving, even if you do plan to keep working after 65. People with family histories of longevity and good health can still find themselves unable to continue working as planned.
Investing in a healthier lifestyle protects your ability to work longer, and it may also help contain your personal health care costs when you actually do retire. There are gaps in our health care system that will cost you out-of-pocket as a senior, and we can only expect more of this as governments try to cope financially with rising demand for medical services from the aging baby boomer demographic.