Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Investing in your health pension

Something you often hear from younger people who choose to live unhealthily, is the argument that they'll deal with ill health if and when it happens. This 'head in the sand' approach to future health problems is much the same as a lot of young peoples approach to pensions with more than 70 per cent of those under thirty not having started a pension.

Just like a regular pension, if you invest in your health pension it will look after you in your old age. You might feel like cutting back on the takeaways, booze and sweet treats is a sacrifice without any immediate payback, but when you get to your pensionable age in good health whilst others are suffering you'll be glad you invested.

Just as for pensions there is a range of ways to invest in your health pension and I'd recommend a diversified portfolio!

Here are my top health investments:

- eating your five a day: really for maximum returns I recommend eight portions of fruit and veg daily - the fibre can help support bowel health and balance hormone and cholesterol levels whilst the antioxidants can help slow the ageing of cells and support immunity.

- keep off the sugar and white carbohydrates: sugar is so ageing on the body, hardening arteries and taxing the pancreas. To limit the risk of type II diabetes also avoid white bread, white rice, white pasta and potatoes (other than sweet and new) as much as possible.

- cut down on meat: particularly red meat, pork and processed meat such as ham and sausages. Not only are these high in saturated fats and hormones (if non-organic) but eating 100 to 120g of red and processed meat a day increases the risk of developing bowel cancer by 20 to 30%.

- eat fat but make sure it's the right kind: Essential fats found in nuts, seeds and oily fish are so important for maintaining brain function as you age as well as skin quality. Eat these regularly and/or take a supplement. Essential fats compete in the body for use with unhealthy saturated fats so at the same time limit your intake of meat and dairy products.

- cut down on alcohol: If alcohol were invented today it wouldn't be sanctioned by the FDA on the basis that it is so bad for you. Yes red wine contains antioxidants but you can get these elsewhere - so enjoy the odd glass of wine or champagne but don't kid yourself that it's for your health - just enjoy it as a treat as you'd enjoy the occasional slice of cake.

- practice stress management: don't just accept stress as part of your life, it is way more manageable than you realise. Spend time identifying all the sources of stress in your life and then eliminate/minimise them. Also dedicate some time each week for active relaxation, such as yoga, meditation or even just chilling our on the sofa.

- exercise regularly: this keeps your bones and muscles strong reducing the risk of breaks and injuries later on in life as well as improving circulation and boosting the immune system.

For any NITC readers who haven't started on their regular pension my friend Desiree is organising excellent seminars on financial planning specifically for women, in conjunction with St James Place wealth management, details below.

7th March, 6;30pm
Achieving Financial Freedom, presented by Reinaldo Soto-Rosa of St James's Place Wealth Management.

If you wish to attend please rsvp to Desiree Roldan, email, mobile 07825 909766

Advice is of course available for guys too - you can contact Reinaldo direct at

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