Your Health Could Make or Break Your Retirement

Steve McDonald By Steve McDonald
Bond Strategist

Slap In The Face Award


It seems like the baby boomers can’t get a break.

A big percentage (as much as half) of us are completely unprepared for retirement. Some of the responsibility for this mess falls on us and some falls on the defined contribution plans that, in most cases, were all that were available to us.

So the only option left for many of us is to work in retirement. Which really means NO retirement.

Unfortunately, there’s more bad news on the horizon about working in our later years. And it’s all about taking care of ourselves… or rather, failing to do so.

It seems our propensity to drink, use drugs and overeat has resulted in some pretty bad health numbers for the oldest members of our generation.

Our life expectancies may be up, but everything else is looking bad.

Over the last 10 to 15 years, boomers have been developing more serious illnesses at younger ages. And the increase is significant.

The number of deaths per year is up for the first time since 2005 by 1.2%.

The number of people ages 58 to 60 showing signs of dementia is up 9.5%.

A host of other debilitating conditions are on the rise too.

The blame for almost all of the increasing bad numbers goes to drugs, alcohol abuse and obesity.

This retirement thing is getting so depressing, some days I have trouble writing about it. There’s not much gold in many of our golden years.

For those of us who have to work in our senior years, if the health numbers keep going downhill, we may not even be well enough to work.

The best advice we’re offered is to watch our weight, don’t drink (yeah right, as if that will happen) and – I can’t believe I’m saying this to a bunch of grandparents – ease up on the dope.

Because if we’re in bad health, the longevity bonus isn’t worth much. Believe me, it won’t be much of a “bonus” at all.

We dropped the ball on funding our post-work life. And now it looks like we’re kissing off our last few years to food, booze and drugs.

Really, folks? Is this why we worked so hard the last 40 years? To throw it away for a few Twinkies and a buzz?

Sorry, I’m out of empathy this week for my fellow boomers.

Good investing,