Keep Your Money for Retirement – Not Illness

by Matt Weik

I can’t tell you how many people I have watched succumb to illness late in life due to poor lifestyle choices. They saved up tons of money so they can retire wealthy and do whatever they wanted for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, a good chunk of their money is now going into medications, doctors visits, treatments, and financially draining medical bills. You see, something as simple as moving more and eating less could have saved them years of their life, but they had the mentality of “it’ll never happen to me.” Until it does.

I don’t want to die

It’s a pretty simple concept to understand. I want to live. I’ll do whatever I need to in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and longevity. I don’t want to get sick in my 50’s or 60’s and then spend all of my money saved for retirement on trying to manage an illness I very well could have prevented if I wasn’t a knucklehead in my earlier years and thought I was invincible. This is the same mentality that you should have too – but do you?

Listen, I love working. I mean, I wake up every morning excited to walk into the office and complete projects. I love running my own business and having the freedom to do whatever I want, whenever I want. Heck, I might never retire. But, if I do, I want to make sure I can use the money I’ve saved to enjoy what time I have left on this planet. At the time of writing this article, I’m 36. Some would consider me still a kid. I have so much life yet to live and as I see it, my future is bright. I’ve invested into my health up until this point and I don’t see any reason to stop now.

Honestly, I don’t want to die. Who does? I want to see my son grow up and turn into an incredible human being and have kids of his own. I want to grow old and be a 90-year-old man who still acts like he’s 30. I don’t want to be an old man who is dependent on someone else to do everything for them. I don’t want someone to push me around in a wheelchair. I don’t want someone to need to bathe me (unless it’s some hot female in her 20’s who digs OLDER guys). I don’t want a live-in nurse who has to do every little task for me. What kind of life is that to live? At that point, I’d rather die than be a burden to my entire family.

Health > Wealth

When I was younger, I always dreamt of being rich and wealthy. But, the more time I’ve spent in the health and fitness industry, the more I’ve realized that if you don’t have your health, you really don’t have anything. All the money in the world can’t fix your problems if you live a life full of bad choices. Your health is ultimately your true wealth and asset. If you’re sick, you can’t travel the world. You can’t enjoy retirement. And if you do, it’s while managing an illness that could prevent you from having fun and experiencing everything a location has to offer. All of those years working your butt off at a job you probably hated was for what in the end?

What does it take?

Honestly, not a lot. Think about how much time everyone spends each day doing worthless activities. How much time do you spend sleeping? Nine hours? You don’t need that much. How much time do you spend watching television? Four hours a day? That’s four hours too many. How much time do you spend each day scrolling through your social media feeds? An hour? Two hours? Why? You don’t even talk to 90% of those people regularly anyway.

All of those choices mentioned above cut down on your ability to take charge of your health and your life. For health benefits, all you need is a minimum 30 minutes of exercise each day. You can even take the weekends off if you want, so long as you exercise Monday through Friday. 150 total minutes each week is all it takes! I don’t want to hear excuses why you can’t fit in 30 minutes of exercise each day. I’m assuming that if you use that excuse, you think that watching reality television shows is going to burn calories and prevent you from becoming overweight or obese? Which can then lead to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even some forms of cancer. Do those things sound like fun?

You can prevent a lot with just a minimal amount of effort. All it takes is for you to just up off your butt and move more. Combine an exercise program with a cleaner diet can do wonders for your health and longevity. Quit eating at McDonald’s every day. Stop eating a bowl of ice cream every night topped with Hershey’s syrup, whipped cream, and cherries. Subtle changes in your diet can do wonders and help you drop body fat fairly quickly when you are consistent and dedicated to making the change.

Cash out

I have no interest in cashing out my 401k, my IRAs, and other savings/retirement accounts to pay for illnesses. You can either work towards preventing them today, or down the road you’ll end up making time to try and cure them. The choice is ultimately yours. But, from a time and financial standpoint, it makes the most sense (for me anyway) to invest in my health NOW to prevent and minimize any illnesses down the road.

You know if you need to exercise. You see yourself every day. How long are you going to keep lying to yourself? “I’ll start exercising tomorrow. I’ll eat better on Monday. I’m not as fat as my friends, so I must be healthier.” Excuses. Excuses. Excuses. That bulge under your shirt, isn’t from good lifestyle choices. The shortness of breath you get from walking up a flight of stairs isn’t a congratulatory pat on the back. They’re warning signs. They’re saying, “Hey dummy, start paying attention now so you can enjoy your life and a long retirement down the road. Otherwise, you’ll be leaving this world earlier than you expected.”

Would you rather spend all of your retirement money on medications and doctor’s visits? Or on vacations and experiences that are once in a lifetime? The choice is yours. Personally, I’ll be here with my pen and bucket list crossing off all of the cool adventures I took.