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Better retirement planning = better health
Old 08-17-2014, 06:36 AM   #1
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Better retirement planning = better health

This will probably shock you as little as it shocked me:
...the researchers looked at employees’ contributions to their 401(k) plans and compared them against various measures of their health, including blood test results; cholesterol, kidney and iron levels; exercise frequency; and whether they smoked.

First, the measures of about 200 employees were taken to establish a baseline. Then all the employees were told their health results and given instructions on how they might improve. A year later, they were tested again, in some cases more than once.

Employees who contributed regularly to their 401(k) plan were not only more likely to take steps to improve their health but also, in aggregate, had a 27 percent improvement in their blood scores. “Noncontributors continued to suffer health declines,” the paper said. The 401(k) contributors also showed relative improvements in safety behaviors, like seatbelt use.
So planning for retirement makes you wealthier AND healthier!

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/17/bu...&src=dayp&_r=0
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:34 AM   #2
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Interesting; you could ascribe that to personalities who generally make safe, sensible decisions and can defer gratification, but there might be another factor at work here, too. If you're basically healthy and work to stay that way, you know you've got a chance at outliving your savings if you don't put enough money aside. I have a great-grandmother who died at 93 (in the 1970s) and was shaped like an apple dumpling and never had a pap smear, a mammogram or a colonoscopy and never took statins. My parents are doing pretty well in their early 80s. I'm planning on being around for awhile.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:38 AM   #3
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At the end of the day some people have discipline to take a longer view and understand that current sacrifices result in future benefits and some people are not willing to sacrifice today for the future - it seems across all aspects of life.

I'd bet that those who contribute regularly to their 401k also tend to be LBYM compared to those who do not.
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Old 08-17-2014, 08:44 AM   #4
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Interesting; you could ascribe that to personalities who generally make safe, sensible decisions and can defer gratification....
Yeah, I'd question the causality both ways (planning makes you healthier / expected longevity makes you a better planner). I would say that it's another factor...probably set of personal attributes that contributes to both health and planning.
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Old 08-17-2014, 09:52 AM   #5
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So planning for retirement makes you wealthier AND healthier!

Interesting! I wasn't aware of that.

Extrapolating from my own experience, I am pretty sure that it is lots healthier to retire than to continue working at a cubicle job. Since my 2009 retirement I have been able to focus on improving my health and for me that has helped a lot.

So, planning for retirement allowed me to retire, and retirement itself improved my health.
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Old 08-17-2014, 10:42 AM   #6
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Interesting! I wasn't aware of that.

Extrapolating from my own experience, I am pretty sure that it is lots healthier to retire than to continue working at a cubicle job. Since my 2009 retirement I have been able to focus on improving my health and for me that has helped a lot.

So, planning for retirement allowed me to retire, and retirement itself improved my health.
Another reason I admire W2R - she's done what I'm just starting to do. I retired in June, and have stepped up exercise and have lost 7 lbs. I have a long way to go, but I'm taking the steps to do it in a sustainable manner. (changing habits and lifestyle, rather than crash diets and unsustainable binge exercise.) Cube life and stresses from work can definitely undermine or detract from healthy behaviors.
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Old 08-17-2014, 12:32 PM   #7
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Yeah, I'd question the causality both ways (planning makes you healthier / expected longevity makes you a better planner). I would say that it's another factor...probably set of personal attributes that contributes to both health and planning.
seng - Agree 100%.

I'll also footnote the last sentence of my OP: I don't think financial planning is causative of better health. There is some fundamental set of personal attribute and/or learned behaviors that significantly influence both financial planning and health outcomes.
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Old 08-17-2014, 05:13 PM   #8
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I'll also footnote the last sentence of my OP: I don't think financial planning is causative of better health. There is some fundamental set of personal attribute and/or learned behaviors that significantly influence both financial planning and health outcomes.
That's been my take on it too, not just on myself but what I've seen in other people. It's just the ability to defer immediate gratification for long-term gain.
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:31 AM   #9
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That's been my take on it too, not just on myself but what I've seen in other people. It's just the ability to defer immediate gratification for long-term gain.
We would have been the kids in the psychology experiment that didn't eat the one cookie when the experimenter left the room and were rewarded with more cookies!
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Old 08-20-2014, 10:59 AM   #10
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I have a great-grandmother who died at 93 (in the 1970s) and was shaped like an apple dumpling and never had a pap smear, a mammogram or a colonoscopy and never took statins.
She could have lived to be 103 if had those (pap smear, etc).

My grandma passed away at age 96. If her surgeon didn't make a dumb mistake, she could have lived another 10 years.
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Old 08-20-2014, 11:06 AM   #11
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Another reason I admire W2R - she's done what I'm just starting to do. I retired in June, and have stepped up exercise and have lost 7 lbs. I have a long way to go, but I'm taking the steps to do it in a sustainable manner. (changing habits and lifestyle, rather than crash diets and unsustainable binge exercise.) Cube life and stresses from work can definitely undermine or detract from healthy behaviors.
... exercise and losing weight is also on my RE things to do list.

To generalize, less stress = better health. Specific to the OP's article, less financial stress/worrying for retirement = improved health.
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:38 PM   #12
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I don't know if my successful financial planning has assured me of better health or not but it has assured me of better sleep.
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Old 08-22-2014, 11:48 PM   #13
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I am in much better shape now that I am retired. Part of it is attributable to spending time in Thailand. We ate better. Fresh fruit every morning, grilled meat. Few fats, little bread, absolutely no prepared food or 'fast food' as we know it. It actually started on a prior trip to Costa Rica where we were getting a fresh pineapple, etc every day from the guy on the corner.

We felt better so much better after a few weeks into our trip. About three weeks into the we had a 'western meal'...lots of meat, some pasta, etc at an American style chain. We felt ill for a day or so.

Bottom line is that we came home and changed our eating habits to fruit, salads, grilled meat, and some veg. I am down 40 lbs and never felt better. DW dropped 15 LBS to her ideal weight in no time. I have 10 to go to my ideal weight. We don't miss the processed foods and have lost our appetite for fast food, sweets, etc.

We did careful financial planning for early retirement but simply fell into a new lifestyle of proper diet and exercise after retirement.
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