Fiscal and Physical Health

Dr. Cindy Haines Health Guide
  • I wrote earlier this week of my reflections on a women's health conference. I'm still reflecting on discussions at Women's Health Conversations 2013 in Pittsburgh with Dr. Vonda Wright. The conference was sponsored by PNC Financial Services and featured conversations on financial health strategy in addition to those on physical/mental/emotional health strategy.


    As an author of a book within this genre - how to keep yourself (and your money) OUT of the health care system, I have intuited parallels and connections between fiscal and physical health for some time.


    We can start with the obvious: Health care is expensive and the most expensive scenarios are often those that can be prevented. It's also true that we don't know where health care coverage is headed exactly, or whether where it is headed is sustainable. Kind of like social security - great idea, if it happens. Not so great if the country runs out of money and, well, I know it was promised but…oopsy, never mind.

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    We can move on to the discussion of how the trend of "pay yourself first" has become a growing movement, where people more readily accept that they have a personal responsibility for their financial health in retirement. What one saves today matter greatly to one's future self. In health, decisions made today will also matter greatly to one's future self. One-time or occasional commitments not having much of an impact, but over time with regular commitment, this can really, really add up.


    I also like to highlight the concept of: When we are retired and living off our nest egg, what do we want to be spending that hard-earned cash on? Health care? That's not nearly as fun as a European vacation or awesome new running shoes. Not even close. I'd rather spend my money on stuff I actually want to be spending my money on.


    Which brings me to time. Financial health can give you freedom of time and freedom to pursue what you want to be spending your time on. But if you don't have health, you aren't really free at all. Consider this: If you have lots of money to last your lifetime but aren't able to enjoy your days, doing exactly what it is you'd always wanted to be doing when you had the time and the money, is that where you want to be? And it's not a crapshoot - you do have power over your health and can make a significant impact on how healthy you are in your retirement, with the choices you make today.


    So in thinking about the future state, this future self, we have come around to the idea of planning for a healthy financial retirement. I think it is well past time to come around to the idea of creating physical (as well as fiscal) health habits and lifestyle routines today that will carry you into the future as physically (and fiscally) healthy and fit as you can, with what you can control.


    For even more tips on how to get better health and need the health care system less, check out: The New Prescription: How to Get the Best Health Care in a Broken System by Dr. Cynthia D. Haines, M.D. (Dr. Cindy Haines) and Eric Metcalf, M.P.H. This is a book about getting what you really want: better health on your own terms. More medical care doesn’t mean better health. Dr. Haines and Metcalf reveal some of the most egregious problems with a medical system gone awry, opening readers’ eyes to how to better navigate the changes underway. Using solid research, insiders’ insights, and patient anecdotes, they offer cost-effective and potentially life-saving ways to get more out of health care while using less of it.

Published On: September 16, 2013