Your health is your most important asset

When Kris and I traveled to England and Ireland with her parents in 2007, I came home with a financial epiphany. Actually, the trip highlighted a concept that I'd only vaguely understood before: I was a slave to the tyranny of Stuff. I had accumulated way too many things in my life, and this was causing me a lot of mental and physical stress. In many ways, the things I owned actually owned me. Over the past three years, I've worked hard to say “so long” to the Stuff I don't really need.

On this year's trip to Europe, I had another epiphany. Our time in France and Italy drove home a concept to which I've only paid lip-service before: Your health is your most important asset. Despite what others might say, your most valuable asset is not your car or your home, and not even your career. (Though your career is, indeed, very important.) Our vacation taught me that without your health, you have nothing. And if you're less fit than you could be, you're sacrificing not just dollars, but days — or years — from your life.

Days of Future Past

Over the past month, Kris and I spent 24 days in Europe. One week was on our own in Paris, but we also spent ten days with an organized tour of Italy, and seven days on a river cruise through northern France. Both of these tours were filled with people who were older than us — often much older. For more than two weeks, we ate, walked, and talked with folks who were 60, 70, and even 80 years old.

These people reminded us over and over again that health is important. They told us how they wished they had traveled when they were younger and more mobile. They complained about lingering health problems brought on by aging. But they didn't actually have to say anything — we could see how failing health affected their abilities every day.

Our older companions had trouble getting around. They struggled when climbing hills and steps. They found it difficult to walk more than a mile at a time, or to walk more than five miles in a day. Some of our companions were overweight, but most were not. They were just old and out of shape.

Now, I'll admit that the average age of the tourists on our cruise was probably between 70 and 72. It can be tough for even a fit 70-year-old to keep up with a 40-year-old. But it doesn't have to be that way. Some of our companions had prioritized fitness as they aged, and their focus on health was paying dividends.

  • On the river cruise, we met a man named Roger. Roger runs every day. He's 65, but he looks like he's in his forties. (I was shocked when I learned how old he was.) More than that, he's active and agile, a sharp contrast to most of his peers. He bounds up stairs while others his age take unsteady steps.
  • On our Italy tour, we met Deno and Cindy, both of whom are around 65 and seem very fit. But that wasn't always the case. Over the past couple of years, Deno lost sixty pounds and Cindy shed thirty. They told us how important exercise has become to them because it helps them stay healthy. Just a few years ago, this trip would have been tough for them, but because they've prioritized their fitness, they're better able to fulfill their dreams.

I don't mean to imply that Kris and I are models of fitness. Not even close.

Despite six months of intense training via Crossfit, I'm still not as fit as I should be. I've lost 35 pounds, yes, but I have ten or fifteen more to lose, and that slowed me on this trip. Plus, my bad knees hurt like hell whenever we had to climb stairs. (Climbing to the top of St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican was excruciating — my left knee gave me fits. Notre Dame wasn't much better.)

Joy and Phil
Our new friends Joy and Phil, climbing the steps of St. Peter's Basilica

My extra weight and my bad knees are both reminders of the poor choices of my past.

Kris, too, showed signs of age. Her task-master husband — that would be me — had her walking all over the streets of Paris until finally, one night, she said, “Enough!” A younger Kris might have kept going, but this Kris is forty and not used to walking everywhere.

Important note: It's never too late to turn things around. Even if you've neglected your health for decades, you can start making positive changes today, changes that will improve your quality (and quantity) of life, as well as saving you money.

Lessons Learned

What's my point?

First, if you're interested in travel, travel now. Don't put it off. If travel is a priority, find ways to budget and save to make it happen. Over and over, Kris and I talked with older couples who wished they had started traveling earlier, when they were still more physically active. And when we met travelers our age, they all said the same thing: They consciously choose to sacrifice other luxuries and comforts so that they can travel while they're young.

But most of all, I want to stress this point: Your health is your most important asset.

In January, I declared 2010 my personal “year of fitness”. I set a goal: lose 50 pounds by the end of December. So far, I've lost 35. I may not hit my target, but I'll come close. But I've decided my health is even more important. I don't want this to be a one-year thing. I want to increase the chances that when I reach the age of 65, I'll look and act like Roger and Deno and Cindy, and less like everybody else.

To that end, I've come up with a short list of simple tasks that I believe can help me stay healthy for years to come. They're all common sense. I want to:

  • Move my body. I want to get daily exercise, and in a variety of ways. I want to lift weights, run laps, jump rope, hike hills, and more. I want to develop both strength and stamina. I want to walk or bike whenever possible.
  • Eat wisely. I don't care about fad diets. I like Michael Pollan's philosophy from In Defense of Food. I'll try to favor whole foods, and to limit sugar and saturated fat. Ditching the processed food may cost a bit more in the short term, but the long-term benefits should be huge.
  • Use drugs in moderation. No, I don't mean illegal drugs (which I do not use at all); I mean mind-altering substances of all sorts. I currently use tobacco for fun just a few times per year, and that's fine. But I want to reduce my consumption of hard alcohol, and I want to stop using over-the-counter drugs (particularly ibuprofen) as some sort of panacea.
  • Watch for warning signs. I have a history of avoiding doctors. I don't want to do that anymore. In my family, it was a sign of strength to ignore pain — my mother once hobbled around on a broken ankle for months — but I want to start dealing with problems early instead of allowing them to explode into crises.

For a long time, I thought it was crazy to spend more on whole foods and organic produce. And if two years ago you would have told me that I'd now be spending $200 a month for a gym, I would have laughed. My perspective is different now. Yes, high-quality food can be expensive, and yes, Double-unders by the Eiffel TowerCrossfit is costing me a lot of money. But the end result is that I'm fitter and happier than I have been in years. To me, that's worth the cost.

I'm not going to say that “cost is no object”. That's silly. I think it's just as important to be frugal with fitness as in other aspects of my life. But I also recognize that it's foolish to sacrifice my health for the sake of a few bucks.

Earlier this year, I joined a gym that costs me $200 a month. Sometimes I worry about that cost. But you know what? That $200 is peanuts if it produces results, if it helps me become fit and strong. Which it has. (The two things I missed most on our trip? Our cats and the gym. I've been craving intense exercise. Thankfully, I'm back to pull-ups and double-unders at 6:30 this morning!)

Footnote

Our vacation had a mopey conclusion. We ended the trip with three days in Paris, where we spent most of our time in bed — sick. I had a sinus infection, and Kris had bronchitis. We stumbled out of our hotel room on occasion to look at art (the Mona Lisa!) or to get food (olives and cheese from the grocery store) or to go to the pharmacy, but mostly we slept and watched every movie and television show we'd brought on the iPad. It was a miserable way to end our trip, and it was a final reminder of how important good health is.

By not being out and about on those last few days, we essentially wasted hundreds of dollars. (We could have been sick and tired in our own bed at home for free instead of paying for a hotel room.) But this expense is nothing compared to the costs of chronic poor health.

Your health is your most important asset. Do everything in your power to protect it — and to make it last.

More about...Health & Fitness

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Dink
Dink
10 years ago

Finally, JD. All these PF blogs seem to focus on some sort of misplaced “frugality” when it comes to food with reader comments filled with people bragging over how cheap they get some bottom shelf processed garbage for pennies and then feed it to their kids. Food should be the budget line item on which we spend a good percentage. You don’t have to shop at some high-end super market (but really, they usually do have better food/products), you just need to eat consciously; stick to fruits and vegetables, limit your meat and dairy, and stop eating anything processed. We… Read more »

MSR
MSR
10 years ago

My wife and I came to the same conclusion about gym memberships a few years ago…..for many years we couldn’t justify the high cost of a super-nice gym right near us. Finally we joined and couldn’t be happier.

Now, when I track my spending, I put the gym membership under “health.” I still consider it one of our biggest splurges, but we use it regularly, and its also a great investment.

leslie
leslie
10 years ago

My parents are really good examples of this. My mom is 70 and my dad is 72. They both have a few health problems (my mom just had knee surgery and my dad had bypass surgery about 10 years ago and takes medicine for high blood pressure). However, they both work out every day – walk or lift weights for my dad, water aerobics or lift weights for my mom. Because they take care of themselves, they are still extremely active and travel all the time. They have a boat and travel and live on the boat for 6 months… Read more »

Jess
Jess
10 years ago

I agree totally, but would argue that there are some ways to be frugal AND healthy. Limit meat and cheese consumption, which is expensive. Grow your own vegetables and eat plenty of them. It’s cheaper and better to make your own bread (I have no problem eating carbs but I don’t want to eat chemical preservatives). Making things like tomato pasta sauce from scratch is cheap too. Best tip is only drinking tap water, which will help your health and save on money spent on fizzy drinks, coffee and alcohol. You shouldn’t be drinking calories anyway, except as an occasional… Read more »

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

@2: I loved this quote of yours: “They come to class so that they can continue to do all the things they want to.” I am the same way. I’m only 26, but I have rheumatoid arthritis. While I am far from calling my diagnosis a “blessing”, I do realize that it has forced me to ramp up the level of activity I do on a consistent basis. Where I occasionally did yoga and went to a semi-regular spinning class (only half the time!), now, I wake up every morning and do yoga. Not because I’m a morning person (I… Read more »

Dustin | Fit Marriage
Dustin | Fit Marriage
10 years ago

I couldn’t agree more with you on this point, J.D. There is an absolute difference in my quality of life when I am exercising regularly and eating well, and the same is true for my wife. We have experienced a major improvement in our marriage and family life when we are both focused on our health and living in a vibrant way. Fitness is now something that we consider an essential part of our lifestyle. It was a similar conclusion as yours (our health is our most important asset) that led me to create Fit Marriage to help other busy… Read more »

Derek
Derek
10 years ago

Ahh yes, traveling young. My wife and I are both excited to start traveling together very soon. We are first digging ourselves completely out of debt and saving up an emergency fund, and then it’s time for the debt free celebration travel! Most likely we will start our travels with a cruise (neither of us have been on a cruise before).

Getting out of debt is very important to us and I always give plenty of tips and advice for doing so as we go through our journey together. Check them out at:

http://www.lifeandmyfinances.com

Nicole
Nicole
10 years ago

My father is currently one of those 70+ year olds out traveling. But he’s been traveling all his life… picked a job that allowed him to travel. He’s in very good shape, despite malnutrition as a child, precisely because he exercises and only eats whole foods (and moderate alcohol). My mom is still working so she doesn’t join him, but after a bout of breast cancer she’s a fitness and healthy food fanatic… after beating cancer she took care of her health as she’d never done before. Me, I think we’d live longer and healthier if we moved to the… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
10 years ago

Excellent points, J.D.! Totally agree. There is one thing I’d like to add: take steps to reduce or mitigate stress. I read yesterday that stress contributes to more than 70 % of illness, especially the big ones like heart disease, type 2 diabetes and stroke. Stress also impedes the immune system, meaning we get sick more often and are sicker for longer periods of time. However, I constantly see PF blogs and the financial media talking about working more hours, working overtime, starting a side business, etc. I wonder how many make themselves sick with the extra stress and don’t… Read more »

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
10 years ago

I can relate to Kate. I’ve had arthritis since the age of 14, and fatigue has been an ongoing battle with me. Eating well, getting exercise, managing stress and getting enough rest is an ongoing balancing act — and these steps seem to fly in the face of a lot of advice I see on personal finance blogs that say work harder, work more, cut your grocery budget, etc. I’m glad to see I’m not alone in thinking that good health is an investment too. Unfortunately, most people who have good health just don’t get it. For me, staying out… Read more »

William
William
10 years ago

Great post JD, glad you and Kris had a good time in Europe. (I am jealous!) I am impressed with your weight loss progress so far for this year and you’re right. I hit 31 this year and realized I needed to make some changes. I’ve been neglecting my health for the last 7-8 years and put on too much weight and started feeling bad as a result. Our vacation to Yellowstone really opened my eyes to it when we were getting winded/tired hiking up hills. I realize there is a big shift in elevation but there has also been… Read more »

olga
olga
10 years ago

You can do it at any age, indeed. After having two kids and balooning to 182 lbs, I started to exercise and dropped 50 lbs, began running, joined ultramarathoning, and at the beginning of this year, after over 25 years, stopped smoking. Feels good to gain my breathing back:) Ditto on traveling as well. I love new places, and prefer visiting them to accumulating stuff. No processed food in my house, everything is cooked from scratch, but then again, where I grew up it was the only option. It helps to never had tasted soda before the age of 24,… Read more »

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

I’m glad to see someone tackling this topic, J.D.! Most conversations about health and money seem to revolve around insurance. (At least for you Americans!)

It’s hard to find time to eat well and exercise, but worth it in the long run I believe. You know what they say: “make time for wellness, or you’ll be forced to take time for illness.”

Bev
Bev
10 years ago

You don’t need an expensive gym membership to be really fit. Our family has started doing P90X which is an incredible DVD workout program. I have tried many DVD workout video’s in the past and none have come anywhere close to the caliber of this one. All you need is a pullup bar (or bands) and some hand held weights.
After watching my parents age – my father is 89 and still going strong – I can certainly confirm that staying active and thin are key!

Everyday Tips
Everyday Tips
10 years ago

I couldn’t agree more with this post. I am totally for spending money on healthy food and exercise. There are a million other ways to save money, that is for sure. My family tree is riddled with arthritis. Plus I spent a lot of time in my youth playing sports and ended up with a lot of injuries. I have a lot of arthritis now, and I am only 43, which is a little disheartening. I am currently researching ways to get reduce arthritis symptoms through diet and exercise, and from what I am reading, diet can really help those… Read more »

Siebrie
Siebrie
10 years ago

I’m wondering why you did not see a French doctor when you were so ill in Paris that you were confined to your room.

MOR
MOR
10 years ago

“It can be tough for even a fit 70-year-old to keep up with a 40-year-old. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Some of our companions had prioritized fitness as they aged, and their focus on health was paying dividends.” Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly true. While prioritizing fitness is absolutely important and can no doubt make a big difference, a meaningful portion of your physical abilities at age 70 will be determined by genetics and luck. I think what I mean by genetics is obvious. By luck, I’m largely thinking about avoiding injury. Destroy your knee in a way… Read more »

Kent@ The Financial Philosopher
[email protected] The Financial Philosopher
10 years ago

Welcome back JD! It’s great to see you and this blog evolve in such a way that the “Rich” in GetRichSlowly continues to move farther and farther away from financial.

Certainly, money plays a significant role in a “rich life;” but it does not buy what makes one the richest…

“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend. Non-being is the greatest joy.” ~ Lau-Tzu

babysteps
babysteps
10 years ago

(disclaimer, I have not implemented this yet, but) I have been at 2 conferences in the last 6 months where they described how a small business can set up an “HRA” plan for health related expenses for employees & owners – that is, if you have your own business & file the right paperwork, your gym membership could be paid with pre-tax dollars. Can apply to any health-related expense (otc medicine, rx medicine, doctors, insurance, massage, etc.). Apparently it’s all about the paperwork!

DLG
DLG
10 years ago

After a Mediteranean Cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary, I found I needed to lose weight and get fit. I’m using all real foods–no fructose and no Splenda. I’m almost at my best weight and with doing Wii Fit Plus I’m more balanced and fit. The best thing is that using the Wii Fit Plus is like having a personal trainer with a one time cost. I just turned 64 and I work full time.

Kate
Kate
10 years ago

I used to feel guilty for paying for a personal trainer until I realized the long-term benefits of physical and mental health were absolutely worth it. I notice people often neglect their mental health when trying to be frugal. I think a lot of people (myself included) feel guilty about spending money to take care of themselves, but addressing physical and mental health issues NOW — not later when they have potentially gotten much worse — might actually be the most frugal thing you can do.

Ian
Ian
10 years ago

Whether it’s crossfit, P90X, or some other workout regiment, those can be hard to maintain over time. You’re certainly on the right path for a lifestyle change though. Check out Mark’s Daily Apple- there’s some good stuff there.

Also, don’t beat yourself up about your last few days in Paris. No matter how healthy you are, sometimes you just catch something- especially after 3 weeks of being in a new climate and having your body be out of it’s routine.

sam
sam
10 years ago

As a crossfitter who started with weak knees, talk with someone regarding adding some moderately heave squats and deadlifts (3 sets of 5, 3 times/week). Its not a 5 RM, it should be 20% UNDER your 5 Rep Max. This helps your knees build support the rest of your body. An example for me: my current (deadlift) 1RM is 345#, and my 5RM is 265, there fore I would do 1 Set of 10 at 135, a set of 5 at 185 and then 3 sets of 5 at 225#. Hope this helps!

Mike C.
Mike C.
10 years ago

I just dropped my friends off at the airport after a golf vacation. They kindly mentioned how healthy I am. (I’m pretty much a vegan, and exercise faithfully. Also I’m 6′ and weigh 165.)

But even though statistically I’m in “excellent health”, I know I’m not. I could do much much more to achieve true excellent health.

That’s why I try to follow doctors Fuhrman an McDougall. These men know the way to superior health.

Darwin's Money
Darwin's Money
10 years ago

This really rings true with us. We travelled a fair amount before kids (and yes, spent a lot of money – that we did have) and hope to do so with our kids in the future when they’re a little older. As far as food, We do spend the extra money for fresh fruit/veggies and often do organic. When people complain about the price, I remind them “heart disease and diabetes are expensive too”. It’s kind of a pay now or pay later situation and I’d rather have the fringe benefit of a healthy/happy life over some extra money in… Read more »

brooklyn money
brooklyn money
10 years ago

I totally agree, JD! I’ve hiked through jungles in Vietnam and Peru, climbed Machu Picchu and visited many other places before the age of 40 (on my own dime and initiative). That said, being fit lets you see places in ways different than most people. For example, hiking to Machu Picchu is a lot more interesting than taking the train and then the bus. You’ll see things by being able to walk long distances or hike or kayak that no one else will. It’s like Dave Ramsey’s motto, but for fitness. Live (healthy) like no else now, so you can… Read more »

Brad
Brad
10 years ago

Good post. One book that’s helped turn things around for me in the fitness area is called Younger Next Year. It’s basic tennets:
* Exercise hard 6 days a week for at least 45 minutes, including strength training and varying levels of cardio.
* Stop eating crap
* Find something you are passionate about that fosters connection with others

It’s a great book, targeted at the 50+ crowd, but at 40 I got alot out of it.

Janice
Janice
10 years ago

For myself, I’m in that unfortunate hole where I live in a state where there is inexpensive and easy to access health insurance, but even being unemployed and getting SSI, I’m above the income threshold. Too young for Medicare, I just have to tough it out until I can get that. So, to your point, I decided to spend the money I would have spent on health insurance on better food and exercise. Yes, to those with arthritis which I have a ton of and was practically addicted to ibuprofen, losing weight, even just 10 pounds, takes an enormous amount… Read more »

Suzanne
Suzanne
10 years ago

I couldn’t agree more – you have to spend now to improve your health later. My Dad and stepmom are a great example – she’s 78 and keeps up with 30-somethings in her aerobics class. My Dad’s health is declining. At 81 he has Parkinson’s and arthritis, but I am convinced that he’d be in much worse shape if he hadn’t been active his whole life.

But I particularly liked what you said about making travel a priority when you’re younger and it’s easier to do. That is one thing that you just shouldn’t put off.

Carla
Carla
10 years ago

I put off travel in my 20s thinking I needed to “pay my dues” before spending time and money on something so frivolous (though I really wanted to). We didn’t travel much growing up and never outside CA so I didn’t have that example. I always saw it as something you do if you’re very financially comfortable and that generally doesn’t happen for years – if at all. Now that I’m in my early 30s with a chronic illness and on disability (that shaved off my income), I wish I had. Though I’m working on myself physically with fitness, weight… Read more »

elisabeth
elisabeth
10 years ago

I had to smile — my dear husband also walked me into the ground on several vacations before I realized I had to set some limits. It’s a vacation, I reminded him, and so now we do stop for lunch and stroll more often than we power walk!
If possible, I think short focussed (one city) vacations are better than longer ones. Even vacations can be a cause of stress, and so it’s worth seeking balance there, too.

MommaBee
MommaBee
10 years ago

I always said that if you have your health, you are considered rich. You can work more and do more. As a diabetic (type 1) for the last 32 years, my health is more important than anything. Without it, I can’t take care of the family, work and wear as many hats as I do. I work out 5-8x/week and am told I look like a 25 year old (I’m in my 40’s). There are no coincidences in life. Only calculated risks. 🙂

Jennifer
Jennifer
10 years ago

Having had 2 separate episodes over the past 3 years where I was very sick for weeks on end (one was food poisoning they couldn’t diagnose right or get rid of, the other an infection they couldn’t get rid of – hmm, I see a pattern) I definitely realized a little what it is like to deal with an ongoing health problem that really limits your life. It was terrible! Staying healthy and doing everything you can take care of yourself is so important. Being sick is no fun and many times a person can make choices to change their… Read more »

Dr. Ryan Dopps
Dr. Ryan Dopps
10 years ago

I read you blog and love the ideas that you share within it! I am a doctor that specializes in Health and Wellness, not sick-care. I can not stress how important preventative maintenance is for overall health. Not only food choices and exercise but having healthy habits like ergonomics, chiropractic, and simple stuff like brushing your teeth and washing your hands.

Christine
Christine
10 years ago

Thank you so much for this post – it was something I needed to read. I am in the first steps of what will be a lengthy weight loss process, and am trying to get my financial life in order at the same time. You’ve reminded me that health is a top priority.

Great blog!

Chett
Chett
10 years ago

Welcome Back!

I’ve missed hearing a personal voice in posts here. There were some that were able to pull it off, but too many wanted to lay out a 12 step plan to better finances. I can go to MSN money and get that generic information. I’m glad you had a great time and look forward to hearing more about what you learned about yourself and the world around us.

El Nerdo Loco
El Nerdo Loco
10 years ago

Look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, J.D. The body comes first! I started taking care of my finances only after I developed a plan to get back into shape. I save money wherever I can, but I never skimp on quality groceries (they don’t have to be expensive). I agree 98% with Dink on not skimping on groceries. The only place where I differ is that the food regime that’s had the best results for me is the Paleo Diet, which includes lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meat (grass fed beef, fish, game, etc)– but no grains, legumes dairy,… Read more »

Maureen Thomson
Maureen Thomson
10 years ago

To comment on Dink’s comment. The word frugality literally means “not wasteful”. That doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with being cheap, as he (she?) pointed out. This post is a great reminder to my 52 year old self. I’ve lost all but the last 15 pounds and have stopped at “good enough”. I too act like I have all the time in the world to travel, so I put it off “until I have the money”. I have, however, stopped buying all processed foods and non-organic produce. Time to get the rest of it nipped in the bud. Thanks… Read more »

margot
margot
10 years ago

I certainly agree with your points. However, I wish that everyone would stop inferring (or outright concluding) that eating healthy is more expensive. It’s not. Or, at least, it doesn’t need to be. The basics of eating healthy – grains and vegetarian proteins – are among the cheapest things on the planet, especially when bought in bulk: lentils, beans, brown rice, quinoa, and other grains and legumes. Fruits and vegetables are also very affordable if you buy what’s in season and on sale. For example, a pound of broccoli (and lots of other veggies) costs less than some 99 cent… Read more »

Alexandra
Alexandra
10 years ago

Great post, and nice to hear J.D.s voice again. I am glad to hear that you are happy with your decision not to put off this vacation. Don’t worry about getting sick – that has happened to me while travelling more times than I can count. Being sick in a foreign town increases the chances of you holing up in your apartment and takign care of yourself. I recently began eating “Paleo” style as well – no grains or sugar of any kind. I ahve effortlessly lost 11 pounds, even though I was not oficially overweight. My husband (who had… Read more »

Carla
Carla
10 years ago

#40 What works for one person may not work for another. For me, even having an optimum diet and daily exercise wasn’t enough to keep the fat down. I NEED to do heavy, hard core workouts just to maintain. I envy those who only need to just walk. I was a fat walker at one time (10 k/day).

Brian C.
Brian C.
10 years ago

“Days of Future Past,” JD? It’s good to see that despite getting rid of Stuff, your comic fandom will never leave you 🙂

margot
margot
10 years ago

Also, one of the best ways to ensure that you can travel more and travel sooner is to learn to do it as cheaply as possible. I’ve been to over 40 countries and have never done a tour or cruise – in part because I would hate them (compared to traveling on my own or with a friend) and in part because they automatically make the trip much more expensive. You’ll be FINE traveling the world without a tour. I’ve gone solo for weeks or months at a time to “dangerous” places like India, Morocco, Vietnam, Thailand, and many others.… Read more »

strick
strick
10 years ago

Being 20 something I hear this sort of advise all the time. It makes sense, but having something be logical is leaps and bounds away from me actually acting on it, especially when Monday Night Football is on…(oh and Jersey Shore…oh and I just got that new movie in from Netflix…and oh…my day wouldn’t feel complete unless I visited this blog, that blog…blog…that’s a strange word…arrr…i almost forgot about rent….) How does one take advise like this and use it…how do I make these entries more than just words….if I could answer that I guess I wouldn’t visit this site… Read more »

Adam
Adam
10 years ago

Great post.

Love the wisdom from the oldsters saying they wished they travelled more when they were younger and more mobile. Vacation expense was 8% of my take home spending last year and food was 14%. Other than my housing and non-retirement savings, they were my two biggest expenses!

El Nerdo Loco
El Nerdo Loco
10 years ago

@Carla #41– exactly! That’s why I recommend Venuto’s book– he tailors solutions for endomorphs/mesomorphs/ectomorphs (people who put on weight, people who are naturally athletic even while eating cheeseburgers, people who tend to waste away unless they eat constantly). As an endo-mesomorph, I have a good muscle structure and I make quick progress working out but I tend towards inertia and carbs lard me up if I’m not exercising. Other people have different needs. As for exercise, I prefer the gym because I can choose the machines that suit me best: I hate ellipticals. but I love the rower (I used… Read more »

Donna Freedman
Donna Freedman
10 years ago

I have made five trips so far this year and have three more planned. Next spring I am taking three weeks in the United Kingdom, thanks to cheap airfare and hostels. I’m 52 and want to travel while I can still walk *myself* into the ground. 🙂 And I agree that “frugal” doesn’t necessarily mean “cheap and/or crappy,” as regards food or anything else. We’re not all subsisting on double-coupon Frosted Flakes out here. The reason I’m able to travel is because I’m frugal in other aspects of my life — I’m traveling, but I’m also contributing to a Roth… Read more »

Amber @ Blonde & Balanced
Amber @ Blonde & Balanced
10 years ago

I couldn’t agree more. Your health, faith, and love will carry you leaps and bounds further than any dollar will. 🙂

Melissa
Melissa
10 years ago

You are completely right on the “it doesn’t have to be this way” about fitness. My husband and I are in our mid-to-late 20s and like to think we are in pretty good shape, we trained for and completed a half ironman triathlon last month.

This last Saturday we ran a half marathon. I finished 3 minutes ahead of my husband. The next finisher after him (another minute or so I think) was a 71 year old man. It’s all about making a fitness a priority.

J.D. Roth
J.D. Roth
10 years ago

I sometimes wish I had “bonus bucks” or “GRS bucks” (or something) to hand out to readers. If I did, Brian C (#42) would certainly have earned some today for catching my geeky comics reference. (One that fits perfectly for that section, in my opinion.) For the record, X-Men #141 (from which I’m drawing “Days of Future Past”) was the first issue of that title I ever bought on the newstand. I bought it at the Lake Oswego 7-11 after a soccer game when I was maybe eleven years old. It rocked my world. To this day, that’s one of… Read more »

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