Fixing Your Financial Health – What Does Your Doctor Have To Do With Your Finances?
140 over 85. That was my blood pressure reading after my most recent trip to my cardiologist. Yes, I am 41 years old and have a cardiologist. Basically, I want to stay on top of my heart health as it is my biggest concern due to what likely led to my father’s premature passing. My doctor wasn’t overly concerned, as it was one reading at one point in time. That said, he wanted me to purchase a home blood pressure machine, and come back in three months. Today’s reading was 135 over 82, which is certainly trending in the right direction.
Why do I bring this up? I can tell you it certainly isn’t for sympathy points, that is for sure. Rather, I mention this as I see such a correlation between handling one’s medical health, as I do handling one’s financial health. You see my doctor isn’t overly concerned I’m about to drop dead.
As a matter of fact, he gave me a good score on my overall heart health, so much so he told me to tell my wife Jess that she’s going to have to deal with me for a lot longer (sorry babe). Instead, he does see a few kinks in the armor he wants to nip in the bud before they become a systemic issue. He wants me to take my blood pressure every other day for the next three months and then come back in to see him. Additionally, he’d like me to lose 10-15 pounds.
Here is the beauty of what transpired, in my opinion. I am starting to show signs of health issues we need to take care of today. This allows me to adjust my lifestyle now and make the necessary changes to make sure these “health issues” don’t become of greater concern. What if I waited 5 years to see my doctor, then what? Probably some form of medicine? What if I waited 10 or 15 years to see my doctor, then what? Permanent medicine? Surgery? Irreversible damage possibly? Scary to think about and glad I went to the doctor in the first place.
Now, how does this correlate to one’s financial health? I’d say in more ways than you can imagine. All the time I have people come in at different stages of their lives, and different levels of financial health. Generally speaking, the sooner someone comes in to see us the more options they have to fix their financial health. Additionally, the earlier someone comes in the less drastic the changes might have to be to get them back financially healthy.
Let me give you a few examples to see what I am talking about:
A 41-year-old client comes in and wants to retire at 65. They haven’t saved enough for retirement and aren’t where I’d ideally like them to be. We run through a thorough financial plan and come to the conclusion they have a few options.
- They can increase their 401(k) savings from 6%-15%. That should have them where they’d like to be to live their current lifestyle.
- They can cut back expenses by roughly $1,000/mo now and this will allow their current savings trajectory to support their adjusted retirement lifestyle.
- They can plan to work longer to age 70 and continue on their current path.
- They can work until 65, then get a part-time job for 10 years covering their expenses.
The beauty to this is we can lay out options and every year meet to see how we are trending towards their financially healthy life. Additionally, at this early stage, it isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. You see, this individual could also do some form of combination like cut back expenses by $500/mo, increase savings to 10%, and work until 68. The point is we can give them options and let them see how they want to fix their financial health. In other words, we give them a home blood pressure machine and keep a watchful eye, rather than open-heart surgery.
A 62-year-old client comes into my office wanting to retire at age 65. They have minimal retirement savings, and no pension other than Social Security. Their finances are not in the best shape and ask me what their options are.
- Work until 75, turn on Social Security at age 70 and move into an apartment.
There is no option two, it is open-heart surgery or bust in this case. The sad thing is these oftentimes are very much the same people. The same number of children, financial earnings, and financial dreams. The difference, and let me stress the ONLY difference, between these two scenarios is the first came to see me at 41 and the second came to see me at 62.
Doctor Rosen Rosen – Your Financial Doctor on Call
Yes, that’s me, your financial doctor on call. I see this kind of stuff every day and am here to advocate not burying your head in the sand. Rather, meet with someone before your options are surgery or surgery. There is an old saying I like that life is a cinch by the inch, but hard by the yard. When it comes to financial health it is often the small and constant adjustments that can lead to a massive difference between living a financially healthy life with lots of options or being limited and having a very unhealthy financial life.
The beauty is we are here to help and this is exactly what real financial planning and lifelong relationships are all about. As always stay wealthy, HEALTHY, and happy.
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