Over 50? The Important Investment you NEED to Make...
What do you call an investment that has no risk, requires little — if any — money to start, is available equally to the rich and poor, is proven to improve your career prospects… can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings over a lifetime?
I call it good health.
Although you might view spending on your health as a necessary expense, I’d argue it’s an investment that will pay back dividends.
Health is one of the least talked about financial topics but arguably the most important.
Without good health, it doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank because you won’t ever be able to enjoy it if you’re always sick.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the average individual will rack up $220,000 worth of health expenses in retirement.
It should come as no surprise, but getting old is not cheap.
There are, however, proven things you can do today that will help decrease your health costs tomorrow.
For instance, one study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that weight loss at any age leads to cost savings. The study found it costs people more when they’re overweight – especially as they age.
According to the study:
- A 20-year-old adult who goes from obese to overweight would save an average of $17,655 in direct medical costs and productivity losses over their lifetime. If that person went from obese to a healthy weight, the savings would jump to $28,020.
- If a 40-year-old adult goes from being obese to overweight, that person potentially can save an average of $18,262. If that person improves their health from obese to a healthy weight, an average savings of $31,447 in direct medical costs and productivity losses can follow.
Cost savings peak at age 50, according to the study. At 50, you save an average of $36,278. The study concluded by saying that at nearly any age there can be a cost savings if you improve your weight.
Aside from losing weight, what other aspects of your health can be improved to help your bank account?
I’ve identified three key areas you should focus on. Here they are…
#1 Start Eating Healthy
Harvard estimates it costs an extra $1.50 to eat healthy per day.
That’s an extra $550 per year.
The benefits of eating healthy are: reduced inflammation, a strong immune system to help fight off diseases and infection, lower Body Mass Index (BMI), which drastically reduces risks for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and fatty liver disease.
Actually, Type 2 diabetes is one of the most preventable diseases.
Type 1 is genetic and you’re typically diagnosed as a child or teenager. But Type 2 diabetes is heavily influenced by your lifestyle.
An estimated 30.3 million Americans have Type 2 diabetes. And it’s estimated that you spend 2.3x more on health care than someone without diabetes.
According to the CDC, the average cost of medical expenses for people with diagnosed diabetes is about $13,700 per year.
Let’s imagine you live with Type 2 diabetes for 30 years. From age 40 to age 70.
Without inflation, that’s $411,000 just to take care of your diabetes. And that doesn’t account for other health issues that will inevitably arise due to the stress placed on your body.
Now contrast that to spending an extra $1.50 per day on food and it’s a no brainer.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be complicated either. There are plenty of proven healthy diets that work like the Mediterranean Diet and the Blue Zone Diet.
#2 Exercise More
Consider going on a “car diet.”
Look for opportunities to drive less. Walk, bike, take city transit. These will all save you money while incorporating some exercise.
Getting in quality exercise should not cost you very much. Forget about buying expensive running shoes, home exercise equipment, or boutique gym memberships.
The biggest investment will be your time. But even that shouldn’t cost you a lot. The CDC recommends 30 minutes of moderate activity, 5 days a week, for adults. The American Heart Association and the World Health Organization agree.
Where can you find 30 minutes in your day?
Go for a morning walk before you start your day. Walk at lunch to clear your head. The outdoors are free. Take advantage.
By eating healthy and exercising more, you’re investing in your long-term health. But another benefit to exercise and a healthy diet is it decreases the frequency you will get sick.
By not getting sick as often, you don’t have to miss work, using up sick days or unpaid days if you’re out. You’ll have more energy to take care of your grandkids, and you lower your medical bills like prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs.
#3 Eliminate Your Vices
This should go without saying but I’ll repeat it. You must eliminate any unhealthy habits that are costing you health and money.
An obvious culprit is cigarettes.
If you smoke, you’re literally burning money and years off your life. According to the CDC, the average cost of a pack of cigarettes is $6.28, which means a pack-a-day habit sets you back $188 per month or $2,292 per year. Ten years of smoking comes with a $22,920 price tag.
Another prime target are sugary drinks like Coca-Cola and calorie-loaded Starbucks drinks. Not only is it cheaper to drink water or regular coffee, you’ll be less likely to develop diabetes and other health-related issues.
By no means is quitting smoking or sugary beverages easy. But you need to try different approaches and figure out what works because you can’t keep hurting this up.
Your health should be part of your investment portfolio if it’s already not. It doesn’t matter if you’re conservative, modest, or you’re aggressive in your approach, what matters is you prioritize your health so you can live a truly wealthy life.
To a richer life,
— Nilus Mattive
Editor, The Rich Life Roadmap