Avoid This Retirement Pitfall
Someone I know in their late 70's just had the cost of a monthly prescription go from $60 to $500. I don't know every single detail here like how much, if anything Medicare kicks in but their out of pocket was $60 and is now $500. It is not the type of medicine that might be ok to stop taking. We discuss this sort of thing all the time here. The particular malady in question is one that with different lifestyle choices earlier on could have possibly been avoided. That cannot be known as a certainty but it is possible. It is also possible that some lifestyle changes now could help lessen the magnitude of the malady and perhaps alter the need for this medicine one way or another.
For all I know, this was some sort of one-time quirk or mistake by the pharmacy but assuming that is not the case then this person is looking at $6000/yr for what is hopefully a good long time. Their malady could have just as easily occurred in their late 60's so ten years more at $6000/yr. And I realize how ridiculous it is to assume static costs for the rest of this person's life.
Coincidentally, Paul Portesi today Tweeted "Freedom is about optionality. No options; no freedom." This is all right in the strike zone of what I believe is crucial to a successful old age, a successful retirement. This is true on multiple fronts. Being in your 70's does not have to mean being old. We all know or have known people who do remarkable things, physically, in their 70's. If you've ever watched the Iron Man Triathlon, the one in Kona, then you know they always do a feature on someone in their 80's doing (and usually finishing) the triathlon.
Good habits cannot ensure these outcomes and good habits cannot solve every problem. But the odds of an increased health span, being able bodied doing what you want/need to do physically for longer, go up dramatically with good habits. This is simple, even if not easy. Reduce sugar consumption and lift weights. There are other things too that help but sugar bad, weights good will result in a lot of improvements pretty quickly and it is never too late to make improvements even if you can't reverse any particular health issues. To be clear though, behavior modification can lead to remission of some conditions even at an older age and so I would say very worthwhile to attempt.
The other big impact we've already alluded to, cutting expenses like thousands on prescriptions will make retirement financially easier. What do you project your retirement expenses to be? Would a $6000 surprise cause problems? Keep in mind that's just one drug. Many people of course take several prescriptions.
I personally didn't think about prescriptions ever even as I got to the age where taking a couple of them is common until one medical call I went on several years ago. A 64 year old man hurt himself in his yard. Standard procedure for any sort of medical or trauma call, is to find out what medications they take and this patient took none and that struck me as impressive. Then a year or so ago we went on another accident call, the male patient was in his mid-70's, same thing, no prescriptions. Both were pretty proud of not needing any prescriptions and I thought to myself of the guy in his 70's that I'd be proud too of being that age and not having to take any medication.
Hopefully I am on a path to that outcome. If you think you're not on a similar path as the two men in the above paragraph, it is not too late to make improvements no matter what age you are. Quality of retirement, what ever that means to you, will increase and you might start saving money.
It should be obvious that retirement would be much easier not having to spend a lot of money on prescriptions and still being able to lift/move the occasional heavy thing in the course of everyday life. To Portesi's quote above, start taking action now to give the future you more optionality.