Do this if you want to travel more in retirement

Travel is a frequent aspiration of retirees, but some people reach retirement only to find a Buick-sized obstacle in their way.

Global insurer Aegon recently released the results of a survey about—you guessed it—retirement. The survey revealed that the top retirement aspiration worldwide was to travel. A whopping 62 percent of survey respondents said that travel was something they wanted.

In fact, let me share the whole list, which I think is interesting, but missing something:

  • Traveling: 62 percent

  • Spending more time with friends and family: 57 percent

  • Pursuing new hobbies: 48 percent

  • Volunteer work: 26 percent

  • Continue working in same field: 15 percent

  • Living abroad: 12 percent

  • Studying: 12 percent

  • Continue working, but in another field: 11 percent

  • Starting a business: 10 percent

  • None of the above: 3 percent

  • Don’t know: 3 percent

OK, so you want to retire and travel.

Overwhelmingly obvious!

People want that even more than they want quality relationships, apparently. (Though to be fair, other U.S. surveys place time for family and friends at the top.)

The travel disconnect

But something I’ve seen many times—that Buick I mentioned earlier—is that many retirees aren’t healthy enough to travel. Or worse, unexpected health care costs rob them of the funds to travel.

Another insurer, Fidelity, estimates health care costs of $260,000 for an average couple retiring at age 65.

But travel has health benefits—especially for people in their golden years. Which, kind of paradoxically, means that you might not be able to get health benefits of travel if you’re unhealthy.

Whether that’s because you can’t afford it or because your health in your golden years isn’t as robust as you expected it to be, it will cut off your traveling plans in retirement.

What’s missing?

Let’s go back to that Aegon survey. Remember how I mentioned there was something I felt was missing from the list?

What I think should be there is “getting healthier.”

People run themselves into the ground before they retire. They spend so much energy on work, raising children and everything else life throws at them that they don’t leave room for their health.

While it’s a good idea to get healthy during retirement, it’s even a better idea to do so before you retire.

That’s why I started doing CrossFit. Well, a better social life in retirement is part of the reason I picked that up, too, but health was a big part of it.

Otherwise I’d probably be eating Doritos and drinking beer by the pool.

Let’s look at another part of that Aegon study. It found out the most people want to travel in retirement, but it found that a much smaller percentage of people are taking care of themselves well enough to travel.

While 82 percent said that health in the golden years concerned them, only 50 percent said they exercise regularly.

Anyone else see a gap there?

Meanwhile, 43 percent said they indulge in too much alcohol or smoking and only 42 percent said they even take their health seriously.

The travel-more formula

The thing is, travel is expensive. So is health care.

So if you want to travel more in retirement, you should probably distance yourself from health care problems as much as possible.

The formula is simple: diet + exercise = more retirement travel.

It’s also the formula for making the most out of the only life you have.

But it’s so hard to take diet and exercise seriously—especially at the same time. (After all, it’s a lot easier for me to justify chips by the pool after an intense workout.)

A holistic retirement

How many retirement planners prescribe diet and exercise?

*Raising my hand sheepishly*

Might just be me.

But the thing is, I don’t want you to just be able to afford to retire. I want you to be able to afford to live.

For the rest of your life.  

And of that list of retirement aspirations I mentioned above, at least half require good health. Including travel. And every one of them, except maybe “none of the above” or “Don’t know” would benefit from better health.

Building an encore career? Health helps.

Learning something new? Your mind will be sharper if you can still do box jumps, hike or otherwise be active.

You get the idea.

When you’re my client, I don’t just help you retire. I help you build a better life through little conversations.

Let’s noodle on what it will take for you to live a happier, more fulfilling life. Both now, and all the way until the end of your retirement.

Let’s talk. It’s free, and could help you have a better rest-of-your-life.

Question of the week:

Do you know anyone who sacrificed travel goals to poor health? Tell me about it in the comments below.