Investments in Your Health
Have you made investments in your health? These investments in the 2nd half of life can be the most important investment you can make for your career, your finances, and your happiness.
I admit it…I am getting older. For my age, I am in pretty good shape (My 63rd birthday is approaching rapidly). However, some of my old habits are catching up with me and starting to cause me health issues. Things that I never worried about…well, I need to pay attention to them now.
Does this sound familiar? If you are still in your 40’s or early 50’s, some of your bad habits may not have started to affect your health, but give it time.
Note: This post was originally published in May of 2016 and was updated in May of 2019.
Your health, career, and ageism are all related. I have worked at two successful tech startups. During the first one—in the middle of the dot-com boom/bust—I was in robust health. This was also the time that I had my near fatal bicycle accident. You can read more about that in the post, Being Hit by a Car Changed the Course of My Life.
If I was not in such robust health in my mid-40’s, I doubt I would have recovered so quickly and moved through my next two career changes. Both of those career changes were very stressful.
My health declined sharply at my second tech startup, as the stress and political infighting really got to me. The pictures that were taken at one of my regular events during this time really showed how much I had aged. Stress is a killer…and it was killing me. I believe that, if I had been 10-15 years younger, I would have withstood the stress, but not this time.
I resigned in early 2011 with very high blood pressure and other related health issues. Now, five years later, I have mostly recovered. Although I’ve spent the previous 30+ years as an employee, becoming a solopreneur has not been stress-free.
I believe that taking care of your health in your 40’s and 50’s is the greatest way to fight ageism later in your career. It affects everything, including your energy, your behaviors, how you handle stress at work, and how you interact with younger colleagues. More on this in a later post.
I can not emphasize enough that living a healthy lifestyle early on is the greatest factor in fighting ageism in the workplace later.
Make investments in your health regularly.
Investments in Your Health – Finances
Fidelity has published regular updates on the cost of healthcare in retirement. Their latest report said it is estimated that the average couple will need $285,000 average couple in today’s dollars for medical expenses in retirement, excluding long-term care.
As a nearly 63-year-old solopreneur, health insurance for my wife and myself exploded in price in recent years. You can read more about this in the post The Looming Healthcare and Insurance Catastrophe for Baby Boomers.
My wife has been self-employed for many years, so our health insurance came from my employer and took care of our needs. Not anymore. We have had to make a lot of compromises, which include taking a very high deductible health insurance policy, switching doctors, and paying out of pocket expenses for some drugs that my wife needs. I am proud to say that I am on NO medications.
Now, I am much more careful. Should I take a tumble on my bicycle, trip, or do something really stupid, the consequences could be financially severe. I always promise my wife that, when I get on my bicycle, I will not hit cars or dogs! I actually think before I perform something that will require me to exert myself.
All of this caused us to move to Mexico is the last year. You can read more our journey to becoming expats in the How to Move Abroad and Take Your Job with You series.
Investments in Your Health – Health Insurance
If we had stayed in Austin for 2019, we would have spent around $19,000 in health insurance premiums for a $10,000 deductible policy. We were able to purchase a $5,000 deductible health insurance policy in Mexico for each of us for about $2,000 for the year. This is catastrophic health insurance because of the low cost of health care in Mexico. My wife last summer, saw an endocrinologist, hematologist, dermatologist and had blood work done and spent under 150 U.S. dollars or about 3000 Mexican pesos. My wife who is a retired RN and a pain in the butt patient has been thrilled with the care and the quality of the doctors and nurses.
I cannot tell you how much stress this has lifted off my shoulders. Not having to be concerned about paying for health insurance has had many beneficial effects on my wife’s and my health.
My wife will sign up for Medicare later this year when she becomes eligible. Medicare does not cover anything in Mexico but it will be a catastrophic type of insurance that if something major happens we will return to the U.S. for treatment.
The move to Mexico has been a huge investment in our health.
Health Effects of Moving to Mexico
Healthy eating is a priority for me. I still drink a bit too much caffeine and alcohol, although I do not drink a lot of either. My biology is much more sensitive to both. I am working on that.
Our move to Mexico has had a lot of positive health effects on both my wife and me.
- We both have lost weight and I am now at the same weight that I was when I graduated from college. I am now 6’3″ and around 175 lbs and I have had to replace most of my blue jeans and other pants because they were falling off me.
- My blood pressure is almost back to normal. My stress levels have declined as money is no longer a worry.
- Our health overall has improved due to the quality of the food we consume. I know this will be hard for some Americans to believe but the industrialization of the food chain in the U.S. is very bad for our health.
Changes I have made in the previous years before we moved to Mexico included:
- Increased water consumption. I drink little else other than water—well, coffee and wine, but…
- Stretching. I am now rolling, which really helps. As an ex-marathon runner and I am still very tight.
I credit both of these changes to listening to the Retirement Answer Man Podcast by my good friend Roger Whitney.
In the long run, making these investments in your health will pay major dividends in the long run.
I have reached the point where feeling good is no longer an option. At various times in my life, I have put up with a lot of stuff. This included:
- Traveling when I was exhausted
- Eating crappy food when traveling
- Working late into the night to meet deadlines
I ain’t doing that anymore!
My mindset has improved dramatically since moving and this has a direct effect on my health. I previously wrote about this mindset shift in the post Becoming an Expat Has Dramatically Changed My Mindset.
If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be living in Mexico, my wife would be incredibly happy, my health would have improved, and financially we would be in the best position in our lives, I would have told you were smoking something and yes you are inhaling.
Feeling good makes me happy! Moving to Mexico has improved my state of mind which makes me happy.
I guess that means making investments in your health a top priority.
What investment in your health are you making in the 2nd half of life?Marc Miller
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