If you’re a gym-goer, you likely noticed the uptick in people working out at your gym in this first month of the year. However, the crowd generally begins to thin by Valentine’s Day. While you might be tempted to think this is a good thing, it’s not really.
The reason it is not a good thing is because we believe our health is our greatest asset and regular exercise is part of taking care of that asset. So when the crowd thins, fewer people are taking care of their greatest asset. Retirement professional Jamie P. Hopkins recently wrote a book titled Find Your Freedom Financial Planning for a Life on Purpose and noted in Chapter 12 that taking care of our health is very much part of the financial planning process. Hopkins writes, “Our health allows us to chase our goals, dreams, and aspirations.”1
Trainer and “chief body engineer” Will Morales notes that to be able to do that, you should focus on both nutrition and fitness. “Nutrition is king, fitness and exercise are queen, and when you combine them together, you have a kingdom,” Morales says in the book.1
Medifast conducted a survey that found that U.S. adults aren’t setting resolutions as much as they used to, but rather they are focused on small lifestyle changes to improve their health. The top three goals that people are setting are in the areas of improving financial health, improving health and wellness overall, and body positivity and self-care.2
In order to help you achieve those goals, Hopkins writes that we should focus on living a healthy lifestyle and recommends focusing on the following areas:1
- Identify what you’ve spent on health care. Examine what you spent on health care in 2021 and 2022 – including doctors’ visits, prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines. Hopkins recommends also including what you spent on gym memberships and healthy foods. When you figure out this number, it will give you a gauge on what you need to plan for in this new year.
- Figure out what things help you improve your health. After you identify what you spent on health care, identify what things help you improve your health and incorporate the cost of those into your budget. Hopkins says that things like hiring a nutritionist to help you design a healthy eating plan or a personal trainer to help you with your fitness could be among those things.
- Set health goals. These goals can include eating healthier, maintaining a healthy weight, regularly exercising and getting adequate sleep.
- Make a plan with your team. Be proactive when it comes to communicating your health goals with your health care professionals. Also, engage your team (dentist, primary physician, personal trainer, estate planning attorney, and of course, us as your financial advisors) to determine a proactive plan for the type of care you will need now and, in the future, and what you want to happen to you in the event of your incapacitation or death.
- Determine the right insurance coverage. We can work together to determine the right insurance coverage for you. Should you get a high-deductible health plan? Should you utilize an HSA? While open enrollment has already passed, we can discuss your options for the next open enrollment. We can also explore long-term care and other insurance coverage options specific to your situation.
Your health is directly tied to your quality of life – both now and in retirement. Be proactive in taking care of your greatest asset. Give us a call if we can help in any way!