If you’re a gym-goer, you likely notice the uptick in people working out at your gym in this first month of the year. However, the crowd generally begins to thin by Valentine’s Day. While you might be tempted to think this is a good thing, it’s not really.
The reason it is not a good thing is because our health is our greatest asset and regular exercise is part of taking care of that asset. So when the crowd thins, fewer people are taking care of their greatest asset. Retirement expert Jamie P. Hopkins recently wrote a book titled Find Your Freedom Financial Planning for a Life on Purpose and noted in Chapter 12 that taking care of our health is very much part of the financial planning process. Hopkins writes, “Our health allows us to chase our goals, dreams, and aspirations.”1
Trainer and “chief body engineer” Will Morales notes that to be able to do that, you should focus on both nutrition and fitness.
“Nutrition is king, fitness and exercise are queen, and when you combine them together, you have a kingdom,” Morales says in the book.1
Medifast conducted a survey that found that U.S. adults aren’t setting resolutions as much as they used to, but rather they are focused on small lifestyle changes to improve their health. The top three goals that people are setting are in the areas of improving financial health, improving health and wellness overall, and body positivity and self-care.2
In order to help you achieve those goals, Hopkins writes that we should focus on living a healthy lifestyle and recommends focusing on the following areas:3
- Identify what you’ve spent on health care. Examine what you spent on health care in 2021 and 2022 – including doctors’ visits, prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines. Hopkins recommends also including what you spent on gym memberships and healthy foods. When you figure out this number, it will give you a gauge on what you need to plan for in this new year.
- Figure out what things help you improve your health. After you identify what you spent on health care, identify what things help you improve your health and incorporate the cost of those into your budget. Hopkins says that things like hiring a nutritionist to help you design a healthy eating plan or a personal trainer to help you with your fitness could be among those things.
- Set health goals. These goals can include eating healthier, maintaining a healthy weight, regularly exercising and getting adequate sleep.
- Make a plan with your team. Be proactive when it comes to communicating your health goals with your health care professionals. Also, engage your team (dentist, primary physician, personal trainer, estate planning attorney, and of course, us as your financial advisors) to determine a proactive plan for the type of care you will need now and, in the future, and what you want to happen to you in the event of your incapacitation or death.
- Determine the right insurance coverage. We can work together to determine the right insurance coverage for you. Should you get a high-deductible health plan? Should you utilize an HSA? While open enrollment has already passed, we can discuss your options for the next open enrollment. We can also explore long-term care and other insurance coverage options specific to your situation.
Your health is directly tied to your quality of life – both now and in retirement. Be proactive in taking care of your greatest asset. Give us a call if we can help in any way!
A Dry January Could Save You Some Cash
More people than ever participated in “dry January” in 2022. Dry January is simply foregoing or limiting alcohol intake for the month of January.4
In 2022, 19 percent of adults said they were participating in Dry January, which is up from 13 percent in 2021. Among this group, 27 percent of Millennials planned to participate, 17 percent of Gen-Xers and 13 percent of Baby Boomers.5
Among those who planned to participate in 2022, 52 percent said they weren’t going to drink at all, while 24 percent said they will drink less than they normally do and 23 percent said they were only going to drink a few days in January.5
If you plan on participating in dry January, you might see a boost in your health, according to WebMD, including the following things:6
- Improved heart and liver health
- Weight loss
- Better sleep
- Improved immune system
- Lower blood pressure
- Better focus
Taking a break from alcohol – or giving it up altogether – is a growing trend among all people, not just those who may have a problematic relationship with the substance. Delish reports this “sober curious movement” is happening among people who forego alcohol for the health benefits mentioned above.7
And one final benefit of foregoing alcohol for the month is saving some money. Just how much money will you save? The National Institutes of Health has a calculator where you can figure that out based on your specific habits. As an example, if someone has two drinks that cost $9 a piece each of the two days on the weekend, they can save $156 that month. If they forego alcohol for the entire year, they can save $1,872.8
Get In on the Mocktail Fun
One of the fun parts of drinking is the delicious mixed drinks. But if you’re opting for a dry January, you can replace some of your favorites with their mocktail equivalents.
As an example, if you’re a lover of the jalapeno margarita, you can try this spicy citrus refresher from bon appétit:9
What you’ll need:
- 4 limes
- 7 navel oranges, divided
- 2 small jalapenos, divided
- 1 cup sugar (or a sugar substitute)
- ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
- Club soda
How you’ll make it:
- Juice limes and six of the oranges into a large pitcher (this should yield ¾ cup of lime juice and 1¼ cups of orange juice.
- Discard lime rinds and only half of the orange rinds.
- Cut the orange rinds you didn’t throw away into quarters and put into a large saucepan.
- Coarsely chop one jalapeno and add to the saucepan with the orange rinds.
- Add the 1 cup of sugar (or sugar substitute) and ½ teaspoon of kosher salt to the saucepan.
- Use a muddler or dowel-style rolling pin to muddle the rinds until they are smooshed and most of the sugar and salt is dissolved (this should take about three minutes)
- Stir in one cup of warm water and let sit for at least 10 minutes – but up to an hour for better flavor
- Strain the mixture in the saucepan through a fine-mesh sieve into the pitcher with the juice. Gently press the mixture to squeeze out as much of the juice as possible, then discard the pulp.
- Thinly slice that last orange and add to the pitcher.
- Remove the seeds from the last jalapeno and slice into thin rounds and then add to the pitcher.
- To serve, pour two ounces of the juice mixture into an ice-filled glass and top off with club soda, stirring to combine
While this recipe is a mocktail, if you come to the end of dry January and want to imbibe, you can add one ounce of rum to the very last step. Either way, enjoy!
The Health Quiz
We’ve talked a bit about health in this newsletter, but let’s see how many random facts about the body and health that you can answer:10
- True or false: hair helps us hear.
- Which part of the brain controls the pituitary gland?
- The auditory, or acoustic, nerve connects the brain with the ear. Its two parts have separate functions – one is hearing and the other is _____.
a. Balance and equilibrium
c. Sleep regulation
d. Wax production
- What is the scientific term for a disease that causes dizziness?
- D – Hypothalamus
- A – Balance and equilibrium
- B – Vertigo
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