Lose weight and save for retirement at the same time
Fit to Retire
by Les Abromovitz
Video: Baby Boomer Fitness on the Cheap
Could Debts Ruin Your Retirement?
Pre-Retirement Mistakes to Avoid
If Dr. Phil can give dieting tips, a flabby guy like myself should be able to give retirement planning advice that can also help you lose weight.
If your finances are in worse shape than your waistline, you can trim your spending and your figure at the same time. You can burn calories instead of money, so you'll enter retirement in good shape, both physically and financially.
By cutting your spending, you can save more for retirement. If you save and invest an additional $5 per day ($150 per month) for the next 10 to 15 years and earn nine percent annually, you could add $26,000 to $56,000 to your retirement nest egg. If the money is in a 401(k) retirement savings plan and your employer matches some or all of your contribution, your nest egg will be even larger.
You don't have to give up eating out, but you still can save some money and a pound or two. If you want to try an expensive restaurant, eat lunch there instead of dinner. It's cheaper and you're better off eating a heavy meal earlier in the day.
If you do eat dinner out, skip an appetizer, alcoholic beverage or dessert. At a nicer restaurant, you'll save $5 to $10 per meal, plus the 15 to 20 percent tip on the extras. If you eat out several times per month, you'll save money and cut your calorie intake.
You can combine exercise with saving money by cutting your parking costs. Lots on the perimeter of a city are usually much cheaper than parking garages in a central location. Park at a remote lot and walk from there to work, a concert or sporting event, assuming you don't need an armed escort. Another possibility is to skip the valet and save the tip. Also, try walking to nearby destinations instead of driving, so you can save on gas and depreciation of your car.
You'll work up a sweat by cleaning your attic or garage. Have a garage sale and sell the items you don't need. Another possibility is to donate useable clothing and household items to charity. You're entitled to a tax deduction, based upon the fair market value of the items donated.
If you're handy, do-it-yourself projects can save hundreds of dollars and increase the value of your house. "Sweat equity" is the term used to describe the labor you perform on your house or investment property that raises its value. If you're painting or fixing up the house, you'll spend less time eating and sitting in front of the television.
You can also cut calories and save cash by doing your own housekeeping and gardening. Strenuous gardening burns 400 to 600 calories per hour.
If saving money is harder for you than dieting, bring in more income with a part-time business that will force you to exercise. For example, a Florida woman has a dog-walking business that allows her to exercise and make money. Maybe you can turn a hobby into a money-making business that involves exercise. Offer tennis, golf or swimming lessons if you're good at one of those sports. If you're really fit, teach an aerobics class and get paid to exercise.
A retiree in Bonita Springs, Florida, walks around his golf course community for exercise and collects lost balls. He never has to buy golf balls for himself and sells the rest to a flea market vendor.
Aside from keeping you fit, a part-time business or money-making activity may lead to an earlier retirement. The business or money-making activity will provide extra income in retirement and will keep you active. When you own a small business, you can contribute a percentage of your profits to a SEP-IRA, which is a tax-sheltered retirement account.
By being proactive in your efforts to combine saving and making money with exercise, you'll be fit to retire when you're ready.
Updated October 2016
Take the Next Step:
- Determine if debt could derail your retirement and what you can do about it now. Our checklist can help you. Afterall, one of the most important ingredients for a comfortable retirement is to be debt free when you retire.
- Choosing a Medicare plan is one of the most important decisions you'll ever make. The AGA has created Your Guide to Understanding Medicare, to help you cut through all the confusion and answer your questions. Download it for free today!
- Use this tool to maximize your retirement by determining the best age to take your Social Security benefits. Don't leave thousands on the table by taking Social Security at the wrong time.
- Subscribe to After 50 Finances. You've learned how to work smarter, not harder. This weekly newsletter is dedicated to people just like you. Subscribers get a FREE copy of our After 50 Finances Pre-Retirement Checklist, a list of everything you need to do to be ready for retirement.
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.