An early death of a wealthy man.
When you think about later life, what images come to mind? Happy healthy people sailing, sipping a glass of champagne on a balcony or playing with grandkids on the beach with the sun setting in the background. Ahh. bliss.
The truth for many men is a story of chronic disease management, loss of purpose, inactivity due to poor health, financial stress, boredom and inability to do what they wanted due to being in poor shape.
The good news if you're 40 - 60 is that you can absolutely do something to change that trajectory, but you simply can't wait until you retire to take action.
Something to ponder.
In 1992 the Australia government introduced The Superannuation Guarantee. This compulsory superannuation scheme required employers to make payments of 3% or 4% of employee wages into a superannuation fund on behalf of that employee. This fund could not be accessed until the individual reached official retirement age.
In 2021, the scheme now mandates a 10% contribution. Simple enough and a great way to improve access to money in retirement.
With skyrocketing house prices (equity) and bulging superannuation funds, our future retirees will be financially, the wealthiest retirees in history. That should be something to celebrate...
...if it wasn't for the large number currently living with chronic disease, willing away their time binge-watching Netflix, guzzling down pills to stay alive.
The reality for Australian men over 65 is that 76% (3 in every 4), will have at least one chronic disease.
Common conditions include mental and behavioural, heart disease, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, arthritis, back conditions and osteoporosis. Sounds like fun huh?
We'll be our wealthiest ever, with untold access to riches and more years in retirement than ever in human history. However...
...we run a very real risk of being unhappy and unhealthy for much of that.
The 2% rule for a better second half.
Got your plan for retirement savings sorted?
It's now time to start investing in your wellbeing on the same basis, a small amount now for a better retirement later.
Start by putting 2% of your annual salary into a bank account for your wellbeing (and 2% for any partner too). Use 100% of that fund each year. What you don't use in the year, give to charity.
Consider that the vast majority (71%) of men are either overweight or obese. You can reduce that figure by doing activities that are free. You don't need to spend money on exercise. Walking is free.
10 free things you can start today to reduce your risk of chronic disease and boost wellbeing.
- Walk more (whatever walking you do now, increase it)
- Start intermittent fasting or reduce calorie intake
- Get better quality sleep
- Spend time in nature
- Learn to meditate or at least spend 10 minutes per day focusing on being calm
- Reduce your consumption of sugar and simple carbohydrates (white breads, most cereals, pasta, potatoes, juices, lollies, soft drinks)
- Drink more water as a percentage of all you drink during a day
- Prioritise your personal relationship with those you care about (work on them)
- Decide that one of your roles in life is to be a healthy role model for kids (they need you right now - childhood obesity is out of control because they're looking at role models, 2/3 of which are overweight or obese). Don't expect your kids to be healthy if you're not.
- Reduce your alcohol intake
If you review that list you'll find that not only are these activities free but many will save you money and quite possibly your life.
What to spend your minimum 2% per year on.
- Annual doctor visits to review your health
- Visits to specialists to fix bits that break (just like you do with your car, you don't stop driving it because it's old - you fix it)
- A meditation app or classes if you need it
- Strava membership (there is a free version though) to track your activity levels
- Entry into activity based events (eg fun run/walk/swim/ride)
- Wellteam membership of course! (you'll learn/experiment with over 70 different wellbeing-hacks and meet a great bunch of good men)
- Membership to clubs that you enjoy being a part of, that make you happy.
- Walking/running shoes
Just like retirement savings, you can invest the minimum for a basic return or invest more for an even greater return. 2% is your minimum now.
I get that this post might feel a bit 'preachy' but it's just reality.
Us men suffer from an optimistic view of our own health and wellbeing. We seriously believe that this shit won't happen to us. We avoid facing the reality until a doctor stares at us across a table and says, 'mate, I'm sorry to tell you this, you have .....'.
That's when shit gets real, that's the 'come to Jesus moment' that spurs many into action.
Sadly...that's often too late.
It's now all up to you....and me.
This is my heart felt passionate cry out to men 40 - 60...
...please get your shit together now.
Dying early, spending your retirement in poor health in front of a TV or a device screen is not living. That's not what you worked your arse off to achieve. That's not what your family or friends want for you. I doubt it's what you want for you.
It is a very sad reality for many and it is statistically going to be your reality too, unless you take action now.
Join a Wellteam challenge program or not...
...but please, please, take action today and focus on optimising your wellbeing....and your life.
Small steps, small actions each day add up. There's always something you can do.
You've got this. You're amazing.
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