A Common Scenario
A busy 40- to 50-hour work week, kids that need shuttling to and from school and extracurriculars … and a gradually decreasing metabolism.
Young, working couples with no kids may have more time to be active and healthy. Long morning walks. Three trips to the gym every week. Playing organized sports with friends. Cooking their way through gourmet recipes.
Then life happens. Children. Promotions at work that lead to more responsibility and longer hours.
A couple’s free time together begins to dry up. Softball night turns into crashing on the couch for a few hours before bed. Weekend bike trips or trivia nights turn into weekend rushes to and from kids’ soccer tournaments. Gourmet cookbooks are replaced by fast food menus.
Then there’s the money crunch. Even couples with a financial plan in place tend to worry more about money once a mortgage, car payments, and children enter the picture. Many couples start pinching pennies at the expense of their creature comforts and well-being. New clothes and a replacement for that worn-out mattress aren’t as important as saving for college tuition or eventual retirement. Frozen meals and take-out are quick fixes when there’s so little time to cook a good meal before your daughter’s dance lessons.
The risks involved when we start neglecting our health are real, and harder to correct as we continue to age. But there are emotional consequences as well, especially if one spouse slips out of shape faster than the other. Innocuous suggestions like, “Let’s take a trip to the farmer’s market” or “How about we re-start our gym membership?” can feel laced with criticism. A loss of confidence, feelings of depression, and inattentiveness to basic hygiene and appearance can follow. Money – already the most common source of marital friction – will continue to be a barrier to self-improvement. Unhealthy people don’t like being told they’re unhealthy, and will often put off preventative care, like annual checkups.
If you or your spouse are struggling with a similar scenario, take a moment to work through the following questions and suggestions together:
Questions to Ask
Are you and your spouse able to maintain your health without any financial stress?
Do you and your spouse regularly confirm your health and overall well-being with your doctors?
Is your level of physical activity higher or lower now than it used to be? If you’re about to retire, do you anticipate a more or less active lifestyle?
What are some physical recreational activities that you enjoy?
What is a recreational activity you’ve never tried, but deep down always wanted to try?
How old is your furniture, especially your bed and mattress?
How many fresh meals do you and your spouse cook and eat at home every week?
Steps to Take
- Get up and get out there! Admitting that you need to get moving is the first step! Hopefully, many more will follow!
- Hate going to the gym? You’re not alone. Instead, incorporate some daily exercise into your routine. How about a bike ride through your neighborhood or a local park every morning? Carve a few hours out of your schedule for a weekly tee time or tennis lessons. Take small breaks during the day to stand, get away from your computer, stretch, or take short walks.
- Don’t ignore your creature comforts! The cost of a new mattress you’ll sleep on for the next ten years will be a lot less than the cost of braces and trips to the chiropractor.
- You are what you eat! Planning out a week’s worth of healthy, fresh meals will make your grocery bills much more manageable. You might even find that healthy organic and farm-fresh items aren’t as expensive as they seemed.
The best medicine is preventative. Spotting potential health concerns as early as possible will keep both you and your bank account from hurting.
A Better Return on Life
The better you and your spouse feel individually, the better you’re going to feel together. An interest in improving your health can lead to new activities and interests that you’ll enjoy pursuing together well into your retirement years. After all, when you finish working and the kids are out of the house, you’ll need to find a whole new routine. Sports and active recreation are great places to start, both to keep you moving every day and as inspiration to see more of the world once you have more time to do so. Today’s daily walk around the block might lead to a hiking trip in Yosemite one day that neither of you will ever forget.
If you’re struggling to stay active as you age, or worried that you can’t afford a healthier lifestyle, come talk to us. We’ll help you review your budget, analyze your long-term financial plan, and offer suggestions on how to get the best life possible with the money you have.