“The greatest wealth is health.” ~Virgil
Your greatest asset is not your 401(k), your Roth IRA, or your house. Your greatest asset is your health. Without sufficient health, you cannot fully enjoy life or work to your highest potential.
Your health can be a great asset or a terrible liability. If you do not invest in your health, your healthcare bills can destroy your retirement nest egg. Healthcare is often the largest expense for retirees.
Invest in Your Health
Invest capital into your health. Not health insurance. Health. Invest time, energy, and money into your health.
One does not “spend” money on health. You do not “spend” money on natural foods, gym memberships, personal trainers, or health books. You “invest” it. And that investment can have the largest returns.
If your healthcare in retirement is $10,000 per year starting at the beginning of your retirement, you will need $200,000 after tax in your retirement accounts to pay for that. If you started saving in a Roth IRA for that expense twenty years before you retire at an average return of 8%, you would need to save $340 per month just to pay for that healthcare.
Suppose instead that you enter retirement healthy. Good strength, healthy weight, clean internals. It might cost you $2,000 per year in health, requiring only $40,000 in your retirement accounts to pay for it. You would only need to save $68 per month to pay for that.
What else could you do with that $272 per month? Pay for a gym membership? Hire a personal trainer? Subscribe to motivating podcasts and audiobooks? All of the above.
It costs less to invest money into your health now than will to pay for the lack of it later.
And that says nothing of the actual health benefits. More engery, vitality, and happiness. Consult health experts on the benefits of being healthy. You’re currently reading a finance expert tell you that health is worth investing money into.
Invest in your health.
I have a line item in my family’s budget for investing in health.
My wife faithfully exercises at a cult-fit… I mean crossfit… gym. Like all crossfitters, I’m sure she’d love to tell you all about it. I invested decent chunk of change in a full home gym. It saves me travel time, and will eventually cost less than a gym membership.
Notice that we invest extra into health. We could save money by having my wife use the home gym I already have. But she wouldn’t do actually use it. There must be an investment of money and time. And my wife is more movivated to engage with her community at crossfit than to workout in the garage. I like my solitary time, so the garage appeals to me. It it worth investing the extra money to ensure we are both investing the time in our health as well as the money.
Find something that works for you, that you’ll enjoy enough to keep doing. What I want to do is give you permission to invest money into it. $100 per month on a crossfit membership is not an expense for us. It is an investment, the same as investing in a retirement account. The main difference is that we get to enjoy the benefits for our entire lives, not just have age 59 1/2.
Invest money in exercise and invest money in healthy eating. Notice I didn’t say “diet”. Diets don’t work. But do invest money. Many health investments can be paid for out of your Health Super Account for a tax savings as well.
If you’re looking for a place to start, let me recommend a book for both exercise and healthy eating.
The Best Exercise Book
The best exercise book I know of is Body by Science by Dr. Doug McGuff.
The subtitle is, “A Research Based Program for Strength Training, Bodybuilding, and Complete Fitness in 12 Minutes a Week.”
First, it really is for Complete Fitness. Don’t let the “bodybuilding” throw you off if you don’t want to be a bodybuilder.
Second, it is about 12 minutes a week of actual exersion. The workout will take 20-30 minutes with transitions.
Still, 30 mintues a week?! Not a day?
And this program is for men and women of all ages. I first heard of this book and the process behind it from my mentor Roy, who currently does the program at age 72.
The basic premise behind the book is that most exercise programs are a lot of fluff that require must more time for marginal or no additional impact. Further, the foundation of good health in strong muscles. Consider these benefits:
Some Benefits of Strength
The biggest excuse most people give for not working out is they “don’t have enough time.” We know this is bogus based on how much TV we watch and social media we scroll. Nevertheless, everyone has 30 minutes a week.
I didn’t believe you could get the results either until I read the book. Then I was absolutely convinced.
Now you know that it is possible to be fit in 30 minutes a week. But you don’t believe it. As we discussed in episode 3, Belief Over Knowledge, it doesn’t matter what you know. People act on what they believe, not on what they know. I defy you to read or listen to the book and not be totally convinced. Then go act.
For your convenience, here is and additional link to Body by Science by Dr. Doug McGuff. It’s not an affliate link. I get no kickbacks. I just believe and I want you to also. For your good health.
A Great Healthy Eating Book
There are lots of great books on healthy eating, so I can’t name a “best.” But I did really enjoy Eat Fat, Get Thin; Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health by Mark Hymen, MD.
Far too many Americans still believe in the now thoroughly discredited “low fat diet.” It seems to follow that if we eat fat, we get fat. Make sense! But what causes us to get fat is mostly sugars and processed carbs. Our food, devoid of fat, is bland. So many food manufacturers add lots of sugar and sweetners to add flavor. But fat is not the problem. Sugar is!
Indeed, there are many healthy fats that are delicious and nutritious. Fat adds flavor back into our foot and a healthy slow-burning energy. This helps us avoid the energy spikes and horrible side-effects of the sugar we consume.
Again, I’m not going to convince you in a couple of paragraphs. Go read the book. There are dozens more that report what we no know undisputedly: healthy fat is good, sugar is bad.
I challenge you to read the book and then not change your eating habits a bit to incorporate this superior knowledge.
Take the first step in investing in your health. Invest less than $30 buying and 10-17 hours reading or listening to the books. I prefer listening, because I can do so while driving or mowing the lawn. Then invest the time and money into implementing what these books will teach you.
If you are acting on a good health plan, I am convinced that everyone would be better off contributing less to their retirement and more into their health. But you do have to do it.
Know. Believe. Act. Now you know. Go Believe. Then go act.
This article is educational only and is not intended to be investment, legal, or tax advice or recommendations, whether direct or incidental. Again, this is not investment advice. Consult your financial, tax, and legal professionals for specific advice related to your specific situation. Never take investment advice from someone who doesn’t know you and your specific situation. All opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the people expressing them. The performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be directly invested in.