We all want to be living the best life we can. This week I read a book by Norman Lazarus titled The Lazarus Strategy: How to Age Well and Wisely. As a quick background, he is a healthy 84-year-old doctor, research scientist, and avid cyclist. His journey started when he was 55 years old. He was overweight, unfit and realised that he wasn’t going to live a long and healthy life. His book outlines the three things that he believes are the recipe for a long and healthy life.

This article combines strategies I use with my clients with Norman’s tips for remaining healthy. I hope it gives people in their 40’s and 50’s some ideas for changes they could make to ensure they live their best life:

Keep active

Aim for some form of vigorous exercise at least three days a week and include some resistance or weight training. It doesn’t matter whether the exercise is running, swimming, cycling or skiing. The main thing is that the exercise is vigorous and you enjoy it. After all you want something you can keep doing for the next 30 or 40 years.

Avoid being overweight

Currently, the life expectancy of a 50-year-old male is 82 and 86 for females. However, if you are overweight, you have a 50% higher chance of dying before this. I know this is easier said than done, but give yourself the best chance of being average by not being overweight. Again, whatever path you choose here needs to be sustainable. If needed, seek professional advice to make sure you are doing this in a healthy way.

Take the time to put in place some goals

You are more likely to achieve the life you want if you plan for it. Just as elite athletes like Cathy Freeman have to plan their training to achieve their goals, so does everyone else. If you don’t plan to achieve and do the things in your life that bring joy and meaning, then you may not end up doing them. One of the questions I ask all new clients is “looking back on your life is there anything you regret or wished you did differently”. The reason I ask this is now is the best time to turn it around. Live the life you really want.

Prioritise achieving things in your plan

For most people, the two main barriers to doing what you want are usually time and money. Once you have a list of the things you want to do, put a plan in place that balances your time and money so you get to do more of the things you want. This could include reducing the days you work so you can spend more time with family/friends or taking time off work while your children are younger. We only get one life, it is up to each and every one of us to make sure we are living the life we want.

Pay off your debts

Albert Einstein is reputed to have said “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.” While debt can be OK for things that increase in value, it doesn’t work for items that decrease in value. Get rid of the bad debts (ie car loans, credit card debts, personal loans, mortgages, etc) as soon as you can.

Invest wisely

The three rules of investing I follow are to minimise the fees as higher fees do not mean you will get better returns; have a diversified investment portfolio made up of passive index funds; and time in the market is more important than trying timing the market. The mistake I see most often is people not paying attention to their biggest investment outside the family home, super. If you are under 50, there is a high chance that you could add another $50,000 or more to your retirement nest-egg just by minimising the fees you pay in super. If you are under 40, this amount could be as high as $150,000!

Keep your mind active

It is important to keep your mind active to try and reduce the chances of diseases such as dementia. Norman Lazarus believes that if you put enough work into keeping active and eating well, you will automatically keep your mind active. You can also do things like crosswords and soduko. Regardless, the most important thing is to keep your mind active doing things you enjoy. If nothing else, it helps with your mental well-being.

I can’t help you with exercising and dieting, but if you would like to discuss how to set yourself up financially to give you the best chance of living the life that you want, click on the button below, let me know what time is best for you and I will call you back.

About the Author
Phil Harvey is an independent financial adviser. In 2017 Phil set up his company Construct Wealth to help clients best manage their finances so they focus on what is important to them. He is a founding member of the Profession of Independent Financial Advisers and a tax financial adviser, registered with the Tax Practitioners Board.

General Advice Warning
This advice contains general information. It may not be suitable to you because it does not consider your personal circumstances. Phil Harvey and Construct Wealth are authorised representatives of Independent Financial Advisers Australia (AFSL 464629)