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  • While improving behavior will help at any age, it won’t make up for years of unhealthy actions that have led to chronic conditions from diabetes to heart disease.
  • It’s important to give your mental and physical health the same dedication and resources as your finances.

When you read this headline, you probably thought the missing item was your 401(k), IRA or portfolio.

It’s the natural response. Many people think only of finances when it comes to retirement planning. But is there more to it? Financial preparation is critical, yet there is another element that needs to be addressed with the same discipline.

The missing element is “health.” Even if you’re financially responsible, have saved for decades and achieved your savings goals, what good is it if you didn’t tend to your health in the same way?

Bad decisions add up

When people reach retirement, they believe they can make up for decades of unhealthy behaviors like sedentary lifestyles or poor eating habits, because they won’t be working as much and will have more time.

While improving behavior will help at any age, it won’t make up for years of unhealthy actions that have led to chronic conditions from diabetes to heart disease.

Here’s why it’s important to give your mental and physical health the same dedication and resources as your finances: 3 in 4 Americans age 65 and older have multiple chronic conditions, those that last a year or more and require ongoing medical attention or that limit activity of daily living. (Click on graphics below to enlarge.)

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