The peril of Healthy Eating

The peril of Healthy Eating

I wonder if it’s the infamous ‘mid-life’ crisis but having hit the Forty mark not long ago, I have become more conscious of what and how much I eat. Not that I am able to keep up with the discipline but at least I try.

On my recent return from a financial coaching session with a corporate client, I ran into an old Lawyer friend on the flight. We discussed several issues and more so the importance of healthy eating and the various options there are. The discussion however became sombre once we started discussing the financial implication of living longer as a result of healthy eating.

If you are like me; you also probably have noticed the ‘whim’ about healthy eating. Please don’t get me wrong; it is as legitimate as can be and so it should be that everyone endeavours to eat healthily so as to avoid unnecessary health risks and live long.

Studies show that lifestyle, exposure to environmental hazards and to an even greater degree, the quality, composition and type of foods we consume play a large role in determining how we age as well as how and when we will die1. A study by a nutritional research team shows that healthy, natural diet alters DNA methylation to promote health and extend lifespan2.

According to Actuaries, if you are 40 years today, there is a very good chance you will live till 85 if you are a man and 87 if you are a woman. If you are fortunate, and the economy does not get worse, you are likely to work in one form or the other till you are 65 years old, possibly longer.

Now add another 3-5 years (presumption mine) as a consequence of healthy eating and you may live 25-30 years after your active work-life. So when next you tuck into that Atkins, Cambridge or Slimming World diet, know it that you are adding years to your life.

However, it is not just adding years to life that matters but adding life to years. According to Lee Eisenberg (author of The Number), adding years to life increases your expenses.

Nevertheless, you can have and deserve the best of both worlds. You only need to put plans in place to add life to the years by making sure there is enough disposable income to fund your later life. Else the extra years may be lived in regret.

I dare say though that you can have and deserve the best of both worlds. You only need to put plans in place to add life to the years by making sure there is enough disposable income to fund your later life else the extra years may be lived in regret.

Eating healthily is good and so is planning for the extra years it is likely to add to your life. Some Financial Life planners suggest you would need about 75% of your current income in retirement. So if you currently earn £40,000 per annum then you need about £30,000 per annum to sustain your current standard of living in retirement.

If healthy eating adds 5 more years to your life, then you may need to have about £150,000 extra (i.e. £30,000 x 5), for your standard of living not drop in later years.

If you have taken up eating healthily and yet not planning how you will sustain the extra years it adds to you, then think again! It is never too late.


How to plan for the extra years

  • Budget: Do your budget now! Find what proportion of your current income is on expenses. It is a generally accepted assumption that 70-75% of your current annual income will be enough to maintain your current standard of living in retirement barring any major unforeseen situation
  • Take a reality check: Are you presently leaving above your means? (Link to article of Financial Fire Drill) Do not spend your money funding other people’s lifestyles or making others rich. Get rid of financial wastages and leakages. I recommend living below your means now.
  • Multiple streams of income: Seek innovative ways to increase your income; your income is your most powerful wealth-building tool. Engage your skills, gift and talents. Gone are the days when you can live on one single income.
  • Debt elimination. If you’ve got debt, attack it with vigor and pay them off as soon as practicable. It is one of the best ways to free up your income to serve you. You do not want to be paying off debt in old age.
  • See a Financial Life Planner: A financial planner can do a Cashflow forecast of how much you need every year for however long you wish to live, in order to live the life you desire and what you need to do to achieve it




1New research shows how healthy eating affects health and longevity. http://www.naturalnews.com/038602_healthy_eating_longevity_DNA.html#ixzz2XovI8NfZ

2Aging Cell: Nutritional factors and gender influence age-related DNA methylation in the human rectal mucosa

3The Number: What Do You Need for the Rest of Your Life and What Will It Cost? Lee Eisenberg

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