Health, wealth go hand in hand

By John Powell | October 26, 2010 | Last updated on October 26, 2010
2 min read

RBC and the University of Waterloo have joined forces on a retirement planning and retirement living report.

The ‘Your Future by Design Retirement Research’ report released today blends academic research with financial knowledge to develop practical retirement solutions and advice.

The highlight of the report is the notion that Canadians need to understand not only their financial capital but their physical capital as well and learn how to manage each of these assets in order to have a worry-free retirement.

With 60% of older adults being inactive and many Canadians allowing their physical capabilities to decline at a higher rate, how does one keep care of their “physical capital”? The report has three overall suggestions that should hit home with most Canadians, not just those planning for their retirement.

  • Stay active. For maximum effectiveness, follow a well-rounded schedule of activities that will help maintain yourstrength, endurance and flexibility.
  • Regular medical checkups. Your family physician is your first line of defense against age-related disorders, many of which can be slowed or prevented if detected early.
  • Eat properly. Nutrition plays a key role in maintaining a healthy weight, preventing high blood pressure and diabetes, and maintaining cardiovascular health.

The report also found that there are three major aspects of physical health that deteriorate with age – strength, endurance and flexibility. Declines in these areas lead to loss of quality of life and disability that start to increase with aging. Canadians can significantly slow down the decline in each of these factors by taking control of their lifestyle.

When it comes to “financial capital”, things are much the same as it is the combination of control over health and finances that leads to a balanced retirement. The report states that any financial plan should be judged by three main criteria.

  • Strength: You need a solid financial foundation to help you manage in any circumstance. The basics of a solid financial foundation are a written financial plan, an up-to-date will, powers of attorney for personal care and for property, and a housing situation that is both enjoyable and practical to maintain.
  • Endurance: You want your financial situation to hold up under almost any pressure. This requires you to have a clear vision of your priorities and values (the “non-negotiable” aspects of your retirement) and develop a financial buffer that allows you to maintain your life priorities even when challenges arise.
  • Flexibility: Having a plan gives you the ability to readily assess how changing circumstances affect your life – and quickly modify your plan to best fit the new situation. Going through life without a plan to help you navigate the opportunities and challenges is risky, not only for yourself, but for those who depend on you for support – such as family members or, if you are a business owner, your employees.

For access to the entire report and a self-assessment tool, go to :

John Powell