Financial management is all about making the most of your earning potential through life. To capitalize on your opportunities you have to be healthy enough to do so. The 8th principle of financial management focuses on taking care of your health for this reason and more.
Health has the potential to impact your finances in a major way. In 2007 a report in the American Journal of Medicine reported that 62.1% of all bankruptcies were attributed to health care related expenses. More amazing was the fact that three quarters of these people had health insurance. Most were middle class American, well educated and owned homes.
Some of these cases were certainly tragic or unavoidable. Every day people that have followed the rules, eaten healthy and exercised are involved in debilitating accidents or suffer major unexpected illnesses such as cancer. While we will never be able to create absolute guarantees to avoid budget busting health care issues, prevention can significantly reduce your exposure to these risks.
- Exercise – Exercise significantly reduces your risk to a range of illness and disease. Risk of some forms of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure can all limited by moderate exercise just 30 minutes a day.
- Eat Well – Eating a well balanced diet also help you to maintain your health and build a strong immunity system. Parenting Magazine had a great article on preventing illness that included this:
“Go for the nutritional superstars — most often foods high in vitamins A, B, C, and E — that truly help boost immunity,” says Annemarie Colbin, founder of the Natural Gourmet Cookery School and author of Food and Healing. She recommends eating plenty of orange and yellow produce (one or two of the recommended five total daily fruit and vegetable servings), which are naturally high in disease-fighting flavonoids and carotenoids — such as butternut and acorn squashes, sweet potatoes, and carrots, or brightly colored fruits like kiwis, mangoes, clementines, and pink grapefruit.
- Stay Clean – Washing your hands. The Mayo Clinic reports that several common illness are commonly transmitted through hand-to-hand contact includes “the common cold, flu and several gastrointestinal disorders”.
These are of course just some basics to help stay healthy. In part it is to avoid the costs of being sick today but taking a long-term view it is also about creating the right habits today so that you will be healthier in later years.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute reported earlier this year that a couple retiring this year at age 65 will need $414,000 to cover Medicare premiums and out-of-pocket health care related expenses. If you retire in 2018 you will need $694,000. Both estimate only provide you a 90% chance of having enough to cover medical expenses. Staying healthier than the average person will help you reduce your need for these savings or allow you to redirect these funds towards something else. Skydiving at 85 anyone?