Investing in Health

February 15, 2024
min. read

Throughout our lives and careers, we focus on financial wealth and preparing for retirement. We focus on our family and helping others. It’s easy to forget about ourselves. Here are our thoughts on how to better invest in our health.

What is health?

Health is much more than just exercise.

It’s a way of being.

It’s how we think. How we design our day and our week.

It’s what we eat. It’s stress, sleep, recovery and repair.

It's a way of making decisions.

Small, repeated actions.

It’s being intentional.

It's progress, not perfection.

The parallels to be successful in our financial life are identical to the ones for healthy living.

It’s small deposits and a long term mindset.

Patience and discipline over decades… not days.

Health is an investment, not an expense.

Like our financial life, our health journey is not perfect. Life throws us curveballs.

It’s about how we respond to shortfalls and pitfalls. Getting back up and getting back on track.

Small steps and habits have compounding impacts over time.

Health Debt

Like financial debt, we accumulate "health debt" over time.

Health debt is the accumulation of bad habits over the course of our lives. These habits have huge and ever increasing ramifications as we age. Health debt slowly accumulates during the course of our lives, compounding each day, week, month and year with repeated behaviors resulting in massive impacts later in life that are increasingly difficult to reverse.

We may pay down our mortgage, but rack up “bad debts” in terms of our health. While we focus on making small deposits each paycheck over time to build our wealth, we forget about those small deposits (behaviors) and the compounding effect they have with respect to our accumulating “health debt.”

We start out young, healthy and broke, but towards the end of our lives we are in good financial shape, but have accumulated a lot of health debt with limited time to pay that off. 

Just as our timeframe and risk tolerance change in our portfolio as we age, the same can be said when it comes to our health. When we’re young and 20 we can eat pizza and stay up all night, being stressed or working 12 hour days as we have a lot of margin for our body to recover. However, when we are 60 or 70, our risk tolerance is lower and we have less margin of error.

So what can we do about it right now?

Invest in Ourselves

Stevyn Guinnip, founder of Grow Wellthy, a health and wellness consulting firm, noted that those who are most healthy spend about 10% of their day on their health.

So what does that mean?

We have 24 hours in a day, 8 of which we are hopefully asleep. That leaves 16 hours (10% of which is roughly an hour and a half). The average middle aged American sits 12.3 hours a day leading to stress and various forms of chronic disease. Taking an hour or so a day to focus on our most important asset can have a massive impact.

We’re not advocating for Crossfit or HIT training (although some form of movement is definitely helpful), rather just taking some some time to focus on yourself whether going on a walk outside, preparing food or even getting some rest or a massage. An hour or so a day to set aside time to invest in ourselves can make all the difference in the world.

Hierarchy of Wealth

Stevyn believes there are essentially 4 levels in the hierarchy of wealth. You start at the bottom and work your way up.

The first being Mind, which is how we think.

The next is Mending, or how we recover which includes dealing with sleep and stress. This second level is the fertilizer level of our life because if you take care of things at the Mend level, everything else in our life will improve.

The level above that is Meals which includes nutrition and fueling your body and finally, Movement which is self explanatory and refers to exercise.

The goal is not to go overboard in any one area, but rather take something from each category and design a life that you enjoy.

A life that is actually doable and sustainable.

What are you doing to improve your thinking?

How are you designing your day?

Are you consistently eating fast food or taking time to prepare better meals?

Are you getting enough sleep?

There are so many things we can do besides going to the gym.

We’re not going to give a dissertation on macros or how many calories you should consume in a day, what matters is being aware of your lifestyle and looking to provide structure combined with small actionable solutions to help make a real difference.

All of these things are just a focus of 10% of our waking hours.

An hour or so a day.

If we are not getting enough sleep our body cannot recover. We’re going further and further into sleep debt which has massive effects on our life the next day and the next and so on.

Focus on the basics.

To live longer, healthier lives, we need to prioritize sleep, sunlight, nutrition, hydration and movement.

That's it. Let's not over complicate it.

Small steps.

Progress, not perfection.

Framing Our Day

Stevyn notes that the first hour and last hour are our most important hours. It sets the tone for what comes next. What we do in the morning reverberates for the rest of our day. The key is to intentionally design our day. What are we going to eat? What are we going to do for movement/exercise/mindset?

The key is to be intentional and allow time for ourselves.

Same for at night. That’s the wind-down. Turning off lights, getting your body and mind ready for sleep. Avoiding the blue lights, food and stressors. This last hour is so key as it dictates how we start our next day. Lack of good sleep and we wake up with carryover debt.

The Big Swap

Starting out healthy and broke and ending up with a lot of money, but bankrupt as it relates to our health is what Stevyn refers to as the “big swap."

But we don’t have to exchange one for the other.

We can do both.

We can make deposits in our health and our wealth at the same time.

Taking small steps now on both fronts has huge compounding effects later in life. Just like the 10% savings rate for our money to retire with freedom and flexibility; the same goes for our health. Carve out 10% of our waking hours (an hour or so a day) to focus on our mental and physical health. It will pay us (and our family) back in spades.

Our health is our most valuable asset.

It’s worth much more than money.

It’s worth protecting.

It’s worth nurturing.

It’s worth saying no to things for.

Our financial life takes discipline and patience.

Small decisions have massive compounding effects and consequences over time.

The exact same is true for our health.

The reality is wealth without health... is nothing.

And improving our health improves everything in our lives.

So, in 2024, invest in your health.

Let's make health an intentional part of your (and your family’s) daily living and overall life plan.

There's much more than just you at stake when it comes to your health.

It’s your family, those you love and those who love you and count on you each and every day.

Being responsible about your health is much more than just exercise, eating right and getting enough sleep.

It's being proactive about your health by going to the doctor regularly for health screenings...and following the doctors advice with regard to mediations and recommended treatments. There are many new and improved technologies and tests available to help prevent, detect, diagnose and treat a wide variety of diseases.

None of which are available to you if you don't go to your regular check ups.

Studies show clearly that people who go to the doctor regularly helps reduce risk factors and identify warning signs early.

Same goes for your mental health.

Remember, your family and those you love depend on it.

Need help finding a doctor or other healthcare professional?

We can help.

The best day to invest (in the market) and yourself was yesterday.

The next best day is today.

Don’t wait.

So what does health success mean to you?

Let’s find out.

Your Life is Our Passion