Health concerns are very private and personal issues, and we sometimes even avoid our doctor because we don’t want to share or hear the news. People often pray and help others in need, while quietly suffering themselves. This is the third part of a four-part series reminding you to come clean with your financial advisor over other assets, concerns with children and their spouses, excess debt and health issues.
Retirement planning is built on assumptions, often too many for my liking. But it is necessary to have an inkling of what you will need to sustain your standard of living. There are assumptions over rates of return, inflation, taxation, and of course, life expectancy. Understanding your gene pool and your health situation is vital in making those long-term assumptions.
Actuaries (those studying stats as it relates to risk) tell us that a married couple living to the age of 60 and in reasonable health has more than a 45% probability that one of the two will make it to their 90’s. That’s great, but it has very little to do with you! You are unique, and broad-based statistics may provide perspective, but that is all.
How old are your parents, uncles, and aunts, or how old were they when they passed away? Are you predisposed to any significant health issue that has been dominant in your family? Although there’s not much we can do about our family history, medical science works hard to give us things we can consider to improve the chances of survival.
On a personal note, how have you managed your healthcare? Some people don’t go to the dentist, for instance. Did you know that it is believed that the largest contributor to age expectancy is dramatically improved by the care of our teeth and gums? Do you work out or exercise? Do you do things in excess that may be considered harmful for your health? Another interesting fact is that relationships have also been studied in terms of those who live longer than others. Give yourself a grade, look at the broad base average life expectancy, and then adjust based on your score.
Recognize that things change. You could be in an accident, your spouse could wind up in bad health, or you could simply have a rare disease come into your life. Any of these situations and many more could impact your life span. The best planning rarely makes it to the battlefield according to the Generals, but it is the thought that goes into the planning that wins the battle. The same is true for financial planning. We can’t accurately forecast the next 30 years of market behavior or health issues. What we can construct is a battle plan for you based on logical assumptions that can be adjusted as necessary.
Issues that may not appear to be connected but clearly are intertwined like your health can change your financial condition. You must share with your advisors if you want appropriate recommendations.
Disclaimer: Do not construe anything written in this post or this blog in its entirety as a recommendation, research, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. Everything in this post is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. I or my affiliates may hold positions in securities mentioned in the blog. Please see our Disclosure page for the full disclaimer.