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Teresa Ghilarducci

Counting Calories Helps Your Retirement Account, Too

A healthy diet is one of the most effective ways to protect retirement savings.

Bite now, pay later.

Bite now, pay later.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America

Before those celebrating Thanksgiving reach for a second slice of pecan pie, they should consider this: A 55-year-old woman with Type 2 diabetes will pay an average of $3,470 more a year in medical-related expenses, or close to $160,000 in total, than if she didn't have the disease.

A one-time indulgence on a holiday certainly won't result in diabetes, but it's a good reminder that making the right food choices over time can have just as much of an impact on retirement savings as market forces and investment decisions. Minimizing the costs of aging is equally as, if not more than, important as maximizing retirement income.