Andy Butler is a lifelong boater and Vice Flotilla Commander of Flotilla 65 in Fairhaven MA (the largest flotilla in the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary). Andy is also District Staff Officer for vessel safety checks, and commodore’s aide in the first northern Division. He has his professional 50 ton captains license and has both sailed transatlantic and fished commercially for tuna in the Northeast canyons for 20 years.
No matter how long you think you’re going to live, chances are you’re going to live even longer than that — and I want to help get you there in the best physical and financial shape possible. It’s why I wrote my latest book, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, with Dr. Mike Roizen, chief wellness officer at The Cleveland Clinic.
What’s especially great is that we discovered many of the same skills and strategies can vastly improve both your health and wealth at the same time. Here are four:
1) Assess your health and finances. You can’t head in the right direction for either if you don’t know where you are right now. To get a better idea, answer the following questions:
• Can you do the appropriate number of sit-ups and push-ups for your age. (See your copy of AgeProof for how many!)
• Can you walk a mile in under 20 minutes if you’re 40 or younger, under 23 minutes if you’re in your 50s, and under 26 if you’re in your 60s?
• Can you can get up out of your chair without using your hands?
• Is the measurement of your waist less than half of your height?
• What do you earn, what do you own, and what do you owe? Over time, you want the first two – your income and your assets (or net worth) – to move upward, with your debts or liabilities moving in the other direction.
• Do you have three-to-six months of emergency expenses?
• What’s your debt to income ratio? (36%)
• What’s your retirement trajectory?
2) Automate your savings, bills and even your breakfast and lunch. For your savings, that means your 401(k) or other work-based retirement plan, IRAs, HSAs, 529 college savings plans and your vanilla savings accounts, too. You’ll never have to worry about a bill being past due. And the idea works in the world of eating, too. Pick two or three breakfasts and lunches – a yogurt, oatmeal, healthy sandwich or salad – and reach for them on a rotating basis. Then, you only have to think about dinner.
3) Learn to manage stress. Meditation, yoga and a glass of wine are all okay, but to really manage — and eliminate — your stress, you need to fight back! When it comes to your health, that could mean changing up your diet or training for a 10k. When it comes to your finances, seeing the results might take longer than health-related ones, but taking actions — like knowing your numbers and automating your savings and bills — will keep stress at bay.
4) Don’t go at it alone. Your health and financial information should be private, but private doesn’t mean solo. For example, where your finances are concerned, a financial advisor can be a huge help. In fact, research shows that people who use advisors amass more wealth overall than people who don’t. How do you find the right one for you? First, ask your colleagues (not friends and family) for a list of recommendations. Interview three or four in person and make sure you know their services, costs, how much they listen, and, most importantly, how comfortable you feel with them. Two other places to look for fee-only financial advisors are the Garrett Planning Network and National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).
Jean Chatzky, the financial editor for NBC’s TODAY show, is an award-winning personal finance journalist, AARP’s personal finance ambassador and host of the podcast HerMoney with Jean Chatzky. Jean is also a best-selling author. Her newest book, AgeProof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip, co-authored with Dr. Michael Roizen, is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller. In 2015, Jean teamed up with Time for Kids and The PwC Charitable Foundation to launch Your $, a financial literacy magazine reaching two million schoolchildren each month.