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BOLDER FINANCE Jean Chatzky has an important investment tip — one that won’t cost you a penny but can yield an enormous payoff.

PLAN FOR LIFE

Take Care of Your Health, and Your Wealth Will Follow. BY MARC MIDDLETON

J

ean Chatzky is the financial editor for NBC’s Today, and she has a tip on the No. 1 investment that you can make. It’s an investment that won’t cost you a cent — and could save you hundreds of thousands of

dollars. In addition to her work on Today, Chatzky is AARP’s personal finance ambassador and a best-selling author. Her new book, Age Proof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, addresses the greatest fear of all baby boomers — a fear that outstrips even death itself. “Running out of money before running out of time,” Chatzky tells Growing Bolder. “It’s a very real possibility — especially when you look at longevity and realize that retirement can last 30 or 35 years. Sometimes, it can last even longer.” Rapidly rising healthcare costs are the most serious threat to our financial futures. “More than 80 percent of our healthcare dollars go to caring for chronic diseases,” Chatzky says. “And lack of exercise is the primary cause of chronic diseases.” So, what’s her surefire investment tip? ExGROWINGBOLDERMAGAZINE.COM

ercise. “If you can reduce your chances of getting a chronic disease, then you can decrease your future healthcare costs,” she says. “That way, you can increase your investment in retirement accounts.” Chatzky’s belief in the health-wealth connection is underscored by the fact that her new book is co-written by Michael Roizen, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s chief wellness officer. “We figured out that many of the same habits that help us manage our health can also help us manage our money,” Chatzky notes. “If you develop the discipline for one, you can excel at both.” If managing money is one of the most important life skills, why are so many of us so bad at it? “Because we’re not taught how to do it,” Chatzky says. “I was an English major in college. I didn’t become a good money manager until my late 20s and early 30s. It isn’t rocket science. You don’t need a business degree. You don’t have to be an amazing economist, stock picker or hedge-fund manager. It’s simply good habits, often repeated.” Chatzky is among the large and growing

number of financial experts who say retiring at 65 is no longer practical or desirable. “If you can remain happy, healthy and involved in some sort of work, then you can put off tapping into a pension,” she says. “You can also avoid pulling money out of retirement accounts, and delay or increase Social Security and Medicare payouts. That can make a huge difference in your financial future.” Chatzky remains a big believer in the stock market. “The stock market is a great place to be for the long haul,” she says. “Even if you’re in your 50s, you could have another 40 years to grow your money.” If you’re getting a late start, though, you’ll have to save significantly more, or live on significantly less. Chatzky notes that even people who save often fail to consider making major changes, such as downsizing sooner or moving to a state with a lower cost of living. “At some point, we have to think about big changes rather than small ones,” she adds. “It’s not a matter of skipping the latte and thinking that’s going to do the trick — because it won’t.” Chatzky says that annuities can be a great tool for those approaching retirement. “I like annuities to cover fixed costs,” she says. “Knowing that your fixed costs are taken care of through a combination of an annuity and Social Security is a really comfortable way to live.” Chatzky also advocates “longevity insurance,” which could be a deferred annuity with the potential to provide a significant return when you reach your 80s. The money will have a long time to grow — and will be available at a time when healthcare expenditures are likely to ratchet up. Before we end our interview, Chatzky offers one more word of encouragement to those struggling financially: Invest in relationships. “We’re all looking for a little more purpose and satisfaction, and we find that through our relationships with other people,” she notes. “We find it through doing work that we feel is meaningful and important. It doesn’t come from things. It comes from relationships.” 

GB EXTRA Visit GrowingBolderMagazine. com to learn more about Jean Chatzky, her books, her blog and her podcast HerMoney.

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