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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

I can see clearly now

Today I had an eye exam and picked out frames for my new glasses.  The exam, frames and materials came out to $140 (and that’s because I selected a pair of frames that was 100% covered by insurance).

I’m not complaining about the price, by any means (without insurance, it would’ve been an additional ~$300), but this just made me wonder how much my parents spent on my vision care through the years.

I’ve worn glasses since I was young, and for a while I got contacts. So assuming it’s $200 a year, for 12 years, comes out to $2,400. I wonder how much they spent on health and dental.

The more I learn about the expenses of “life”, the more I realize that being parents is a very expensive (but hopefully joyful) proposition!

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Healthy, wealthy, and wise

I’m sloooowly chugging along on the “wealthy” path, and I suppose that wisdom comes with age. That leaves “healthy” – an area that I NEED to improve on, if only for the sake of my, well, health.

At the end of 2009, I’ll be 25. I’ve always coasted along on my relatively manageable weight and reasonable metabolism, but that’s not going to last forever. Besides, just because I LOOK healthy doesn’t mean that I am… a combination of a lackluster diet and minimal exercise is bound to catch up with me.

Like many Americans, I’ve always wanted to be healthier. Unfortunately, I’ve never put action to the words. I was inspired after reading Debt Hater’s post on investing in herself. I’ve invested in my financial future, but I want to be alive and kickin’ to enjoy it!

2009 = time for me to finally get off my duff and get in shape. It’s time to invest money, time, and effort in my health.

To that end, I’m making a set of “health goals” for 2009, and I’d appreciate it if you can all keep me IN CHECK! 🙂

  • Take at least one dance class ($85 per 6-class session)
  • Go to the gym OR jog for 20 minutes ONCE a week (better to make realistic goals, I say)
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator at home
  • Complete a organized 5K race by the end of 2009

Not super ambitious, as you can see, but I want to make some permanent lifestyle changes, and avoid drastic resolutions that I know I won’t keep.

Do you have health goals for 2009?

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After I came home, I got a bill from my doctor’s. My eyes immediately turned to the $225 figure – and I mentally had a “What?!” moment.

On a closer look, I realized that all but $8.81 of the amount is paid for by insurance, so my responsibility is for less than $10. That made me feel much better. It also reinforced the fact how important health insurance is, and how fortunate I am to have quality, affordable health insurance.

That’s why I include a line item in my restructuring (aka “laid off”) budget for private health insurance. Even if it’s only catastrophic coverage, I am far too chicken to play chicken with my health. I have family members who work in the medical field, so I’ve heard about the ordeal that falls on people with inadequate, or no, insurance.

Mom told me that staying healthy is the most important factor to achieving and maintaining prosperity in America. The more I think about it, the truer I think it is.

I worry about health insurance a lot – for people that I love who aren’t insured, for the future of the health care system in America, for the growing Medicare and Medical liabilities, and for my parents’ health insurance / long-term care insurance needs.

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The parent trap

As 2007 rolls around, it’s another year gone, and we are all another year closer to old age and death, I mean, er, hard-won wisdom and a prosperous retirement. Something to think about: will you have to pay for your parents’ retirement? And maybe you need another glass of bubbly before you can process that question.

I’ve always been quite confident that my parents will be able to retire in comfort on their own. But this New York Times article, Elder Care Costs Deplete Savings of a Generation, gave me pause. It’s a stark title, fit for the stark phenomenon of baby boomers sacrificing their own retirement to care for elderly parents.

Families have always looked after their elderly loved ones. But never has old age lasted so long or been so costly, compromising the retirement of baby boomers who were expecting inheritances rather than the shock of depleted savings.

“There is a myth out there that families abandon their frail elders,” said Dr. Robert L. Kane, a geriatrician at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. “Instead, across the income spectrum, children are sacrificing to care for their parents to the limit of their means and sometimes beyond.”

It must be such a heartbreaking position to be in – to have to decide between the well-being of your parents or your own future and the possibility that you will need to burden your children with your retirement/medical expenses. The enormity of medical expenses is the reason why I think Medicare is a bigger problem than Social Security. After all, you can only spend so much on rent, food and utilities, but the sky is the limit with end-of-life care or new drug therapies.

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