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Planning Retirement Online

Being Proactive


The average life expectancy for men who live until 60 is 84 and for women it is 87. So we still have a long time to go! Inevitably, we will have things wrong with us as we get older but there are things that we can do to minimise them.

We have already looked at taking some exercise on earlier pages of this Guide, and they are of course, examples of how to be proactive. What we look at on this page is how we can take advantage of some of the things that are on offer to us to maintain our health and fitness.

Getting Health Checks

Try not to become a hypochondriac in retirement but do indulge in preventive medicine and be proactive. So go to the doctor when you are well for a check up, do not leave it until you are unwell. You can have cholesterol checks, blood pressure checks, heart checks, flu jabs and so on. Take advantage of these things without becoming a pest to the doctor.

If you want to give yourself a quick on-line check, to see how you're shaping up under various headings, go to There are some very interesting and enlightening aspects of health and lifestyle that you can check.

Health Insurance

Many people have private health insurance to pay for operations and so on as they get older. It is a sensible thing to do but it can also be very expensive. Organisations such as BUPA and AXA offer a very good service but they can cost a lot. So what are the alternatives?

Staying Fit and Healthy  links

If you want standard health insurance go to to get price comparisons. There are some cheaper options available but you need to be very careful about the level of cover you are actually paying for and whether it gives you peace of mind.

If you want cover for things such as eyes, teeth and physiotherapy as well as for overnight stays in hospital, take a look at, which provides affordable cover for these more everyday requirements.

A lot of people these days self-insure. They open a new and separate account (one that will give a decent rate of interest - if you can find one!) and start it off with a lump sum. They then add to it month by month by as much as feel they can afford so that the fund builds. Then, if they do need money for health issues it's there and if they don't it's still there! Do bear in mind, however, that some major treatments can be very expensive indeed and that your 'fighting fund' may not be large enough to cover the entire cost. So think carefully about how much you can afford, what you think you might want/need to use it for and if, based on those factors, self-insurance is the right thing for you.

One other option, if you do want private health insurance BUPA-style, is to go for the highest excess that you can, which will keep the premiums down. You can get an excess of up to £1000 which means, effectively, that you pay for the minor things but are covered for major surgery and so on.

If you would like to consider the options in a little more detail, go to our Health Insurance article, which will help you to make the right decisions.

Health Initiatives

There are a number of initiatives concerning health and fitness that you might want to find out more about and then take advantage of.

Age UK

Age UK do a lot to promote better health in later life. There is a very comprehansive health section on their website that gives a lot of help and advice for keeping healthy in later life, both physically and mentally, and advice on where to find help should you need it. So go to the Age UK website to find out more.

Walking for Health

Walking for FitnessThis was a five-year project supported by the Countryside Agency and the British Heart Foundation. It is now overseen by Ramblers and Macmillan Cancer Support. The project has now been completed and the scheme is now run by various agencies, depending on the area of the country. Mostly, it is run through local councils. Led walks and independent walking are included in ‘Walking for Health’ schemes. There are currently around 400 schemes throughout the country and over 27000 volunteer walk leaders have been trained. The walks cater for people of all ages and abilities. Regular walks take place in town, city and rural locations at various times of the day and usually last for up to an hour. To find out more, ring 020 7339 8541, or look on the website: This website tells you where your local walks are with days and times, gives you tips on taking exercise in general and provides details of specific events.


This is an education charity that specialises in movement to music classes for people over 60 and less able people of all ages. Click here to find out if there is a class in your area. There are over 400 throughout the country, so there should be.

There is a lot that we can do to help with our own health and fitness by being proactive. There's also a lot of help out there if we wish to take advantage of it. By being proactive and taking a positive role in our own health and fitness, we can increase our chances of staying healthy and fit.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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