there is no cost to good health

pythons

One of the things I come back to again and again in my conversations with family, friends and colleagues is that there is no way to waste money on good health. Organic food can be pricey. A gym membership can be expensive compared to working out at home. Vitamins or medications can be burdensome. But if you can spend your money on one thing in this life, don’t let it be education, or your family, or your belongings. Spend it on health.

Warren Buffet is 78 and the second richest man on this blue dot. Do you think he’d be getting the accolades for wealth and investing acumen if he had died at 42? Maybe. Many rich people have died young. Many poor people have died old (and unlamented). Wealth and health have long been completely unrelated. I’m sure every one of us knows old poor people and young rich people, and the opposite, and many variations. But age has long been seen as a virtue, at least as valuable as wealth.

But the key question is: would you rather be old and moderately well to do, or die fabulously wealthy at a young age? I doubt many of us would wish to live a highroller lifestyle and die at 40 versus living a moderate middle-class lifestyle and dying at 80. Health is, in a sense, the ultimate prize.

If you consider a long life a valuable thing to pursue, it’s doubly amazing that so many people don’t bother. I pursued my career at the expense of my health for the best part of my twenties. I wasn’t thinking about life in my sixties – it was my money and I wanted it now. How many times have you told yourself that you’re just too busy at work to take some time to exercise?

I don’t exercise as much as I should. Four years ago I was running competitively, lifting weights 3-4 times per week and eating a 90% vegetarian diet – I was in the best shape of my life. But work, kids and life got in the way and I slid waaaaay back on the health scale. It’s easy to do, and if you’ve ever gotten in shape you know how simple it is to slide back. But that’s no excuse. Your health is the only thing – other than your mind – that you can control in this life.

Don’t neglect your health. I lost 100 pounds (actually a bit more) and it’s possible for anyone. Remember that your health is worth more than all the money in the world. Just ask someone who’s not healthy, and you’ll get a straight answer.

Photo by ~ggvic~
  • http://earlyretirementextreme.com/ Early Retirement Extreme

    A comment on your last sentence. I run into enough people to get the impression that if some symptom can be removed with a pill, people would much rather pop a pill than do anything about their underlying lack of health. Health seems to be something people get with health insurance rather than healthy behavior. It's somewhat disheartening.

  • http://www.AskTheWealthSquad.com TheWealthSquad

    Too often we measure wealth as simply a number in a bank account or on a net worth statement.

    I think wealth should be measured five ways. I talk in detail about it here http://www.askthewealthsquad.com/what-is-wealth/

    Relationship with God
    Relationship with family/friends
    Good health
    Good time management
    More money incoming than expenses outgoing :) Financial

    You have inspired me to improve my health though as I have truly gotten in worse physical shape than I have ever been.

    Have a great Fourth of July!!

  • http://www.delicious.com/guinness416 guinness416

    Hey, great post! And dead right; it's a little alarming to see people who are focused on the minutiae of their financial situation but don't spare even 15 mins a day to get out of the car and go for a walk. Recently I had a massive and painful canker sore stretched down my throat (don't laugh, the dentist said it was the worst she'd ever seen!) This was such a tiny, minor, insignificant, nothing of a health issue but treating an getting rid of this thing was almost all I could think about for a good ten days. I don't want to spend my retirement like that every day. Like you, I'm also off my peak post-high school fitness of 3 years ago (although still a regular gym goer) and trying to improve that. It's worth the effort.

  • http://www.nodebtplan.net/ No Debt Plan

    Fitness and finance issues are so similar.

    You know you should spend less than you earn, but you don't.
    You know you should exercise more, but you don't.
    You know that you should start saving/investing for the future now, but you don't.
    You know you should exercise now to stay healthy so that later in life you are healthy, but you don't.

    I am the exact same way. When I finish my MBA program in August I am starting an exercise and proper diet (not dieting) lifestyle change.

    • Curmudgeon

      NDP: Don't wait until August – start today!

      Steve, I think I said something similar in two earlier posts. I can't agree more.

    • http://www.bripblap.com Steve @ bripblap

      @Curmudgeon: You did! Your thoughts on regular exercise were what made me think of writing this post…

  • http://www.getmoneyenergy.com/ MoneyEnergy

    When you put it that way (choose to die young and rich or old and just middle-class), I'd rather live long and healthy too. Of course it's best to have both:) But I think I agree – it's tolerable to not have enough money, since most people are in that boat – but it's really scary when something's wrong with your body. Like not being able to walk on your own, or even breathe properly. We take these things for granted when we're young. Lately I'm slowly getting back to trying to eat better. I need to do it gradually so that I can make a permanent change. I've been vegetarian for 10 years, but that's not enough since it's still easy to eat unhealthy foods on a vegetarian diet.

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  • http://www.corporatebarbarian.com/ Enrique S

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most people don't take the time to take care of themselves (just look around for the proof). They're neglecting their greatest resource, and go for a quick fix (a pill) when something goes wrong. Why strive to make lots of money if you won't be around to enjoy it?

  • http://www.blondeandbalanced.com/ Carrie…On The Cheap

    Hey, great story. I completely agree. My health is my top priority. Way to relate it back to finances :)

  • http://borgfenceanddecks.com farm fencing

    Is being vegetarian better for your health and good for keeping weight under control? I'm thinking about going vegetarian for the obvious reason, but I'd like to know how good it is for your health.

  • http://www.classesandcareers.com/colleges/degrees_health-nursing/courses_health-services/programs_health-care-rehab-technician/degree_diploma College Degrees

    Great point! Wow I actually never thought of health like this before. I agree, there is no point in being rich if you're too sick to even enjoy your wealth and the same with family. Family is the most important thing to me so at first I didn't agree with what you said about putting your health even before your family. But then I got thinking about it and realized that the healthier you are the better chance you have of living longer. Which in the long run means more time with your family.

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  • socialmaker

    I think people need a more personal approach when it comes to doctors. I know i have a doctor which takes care of my problems(prosolution) and he is so nice. He always knows me by name, he's friendly and i gladly attent every meeting.

  • diet_pill_online

    This is cool! And so interested! Are u have more posts like this? Plese tell me, thanks

  • tabathalupien

    I read an article saying that if you have two
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  • tabathalupien

    It's all about how you see life and your role in it. Some people have a inner drive to succeed, to get rich and famous but forget that on the road they abuse their mental and physical health. I don't spend money on gym memberships or diet pills because I found a free online weight loss program. I try to work just as much as my health allows me and I spend the money to stay healthy and happy.

  • jacqeb

    Health and Fitness has now become one of the major concerns. Earlier humans used to hunt for their living, due to which their body had to undergo a lot of physical exercise. This made life active and alert. Now, life has become more simple and easy. Everything we need is just a phone call away. This easy life has restricted humans to do that bit of physical exercise which is required to keep the body fit and healthy. We get instant, spicy and variety of food which lose their nutrition during the process.

  • http://besttravelcreditcard.us Ron

    It is so easy to forget the value of time. As we spend soooo much time looking forward toward the date when we retire, it is really easy to forget that there is alot of time to enjoy in the interim. If forget to take care of our bodies in the interim, then we might not be able to enjoy retirement at all.