If you thought about money, I would disagree. Your most precious commodity is time. Having all the money in the world will not buy you an extra second on planet earth. This fact is harsh but true.
This came to mind while seeing a wealthy patient with grave preventable medical conditions asking me what can be done to increase his chances. Sadly nothing, other than taking the meds prescribed. My mind immediately thought of the old saying "An ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure". Today these words are truer than ever.
The question is, how can you improve your chances of getting more time on planet earth therefore increasing your net worth?
Here are 5 proven things to increase your time on earth.
1- Exercise -
Yes, I know you dread going to the Doctor and being told for the 12th time to exercise and lose weight. If you have a physical disability and cannot exercise this does not apply to you, but to the rest of the population any excuse you come up with is not valid. There are a number of studies showing the benefits of exercise and among them, an increase in longevity is named. Proof is in the pudding. Take this study published in JAMA Oct 2018 which clearly shows a direct benefit of exercise and lower risk of dying. Look at the curves below, whether you are an elite athlete or someone doing exercise at home, the difference is somewhat minimal. However, the difference between those that exercise and those that don't is marked. Plan and make exercise a priority.
2- Flu shot
Yes, this NEJM study from 2007 showed that getting your yearly influenza vaccine makes you 48% less likely to die if you are elderly (65 and above). If you are less than 65 then you might want to think about your parents and not bringing influenza home, aside from a lower risk of dying from influenza. People make up all kinds of excuses for not getting the influenza vaccine. The most common and absurd excuse I hear is "I don't get sick", this is not an excuse to not get vaccinated. Get the flu shot! It can actually save your life or prevent significant complications.
Studies show smokers cut their life expectancy by 10 years. This is the data from the CDC.
Not only will you gain years in your life if you stop smoking, but you will also save money which will grow for you if invested on the long term. Talk to your doctor about ways to quit smoking and prolong your life.
Eat your veggies. This was true years ago, true again. Following a mediterranean diet, pretty much a diet rich in vegetables, grains, nuts and fish, proved you lived a longer and healthier life in this NEJM study from 2003.
I often see patients taking Omega 3 bought over the counter in the drugstore, all of which do not show any benefit in longevity or avoiding a heart attack. Money spent in your diet will pay dividends in the future. Instead of spending your money on unproven omega 3, spend it in what has been proven.
5- Annual check up
Seeing your Primary Care Physician (PCP) yearly, or when advised, can make you live longer. Problems caught early can make a significant difference in your overall health. Your PCP will keep you up to date with the routine medical care and screening practices, although more often than not are not followed.
Till next time,
Till next time,
Disclaimer - This blog is meant purely for educational discussion of finance. It contains only general information about financial matters. It is not financial advice, should not be treated as such. This is not medical advice, for medical advice please talk to your medical provider.