How bad would it suck to be financially responsible all your life, diligently saving money all your life for retirement only to find out that you have cancer and only have a few months to live?

It would suck harder than an a capella Black Eyed Peas concert.

That’s why a big part of being financially responsible is being health conscious. You have to survive until retirement for any of your retirement savings to matter.

So how do you increase your chances of living past 60? I’m so glad you asked.

Go to the Doctor When You are Healthy

One of my professors in college told me a story about his brother. I don’t remember his name, so we’ll call him Francisco. That’s a fun name to say. Franciscooooooo.

army medical doctor

photo credit: flickr.com/armymedicine

So Francisco was a healthy young guy, and every year he went to his doctor to get an annual physical. Francisco wasn’t sick; he just wanted the doctor to take a look and make sure he was healthy. One of the most important parts of his annual physical was the bloodwork. Every year, he would have blood drawn and tested.

After many years of healthy check-ups, Francisco went in for another routine physical. They did the bloodwork as usual, and everything came back within the normal range for typical people. However, one of the numbers, while in the normal range for an average person, was pretty high for Francisco compared to his years of previous bloodwork. The doctor did further tests to see if there was anything abnormal causing the spike, and sure enough, he found cancer.

Because the cancer was found so early, Francisco was treated and completely cured relatively easily. If he didn’t have years of bloodwork establishing his own personal “normal” range, then the bloodwork during this visit never would have made the doctor think twice about doing more investigation.

Francisco’s robust history of bloodwork probably saved his life.

Take Advantage of Well Checkups

I literally don’t remember anything about that class expect the story I just told. It stuck with me, and I told myself that I would get a physical with bloodwork every year as soon as I got out of college.

Here I am, three years out of college, and I just finished my fourth annual physical. Four trips to the doctor, and four clean bills of health. Which means I have four years of bloodwork data that can be used if I ever start feeling sick. I’m establishing my own personal “normal range”.

In fact, I even track all my bloodwork in a spreadsheet. Just like all the other spreadsheets I use, I put it on my downloads page and made it available for you to use if you’d like. It not only records all of my bloodwork, but also tells me if any of my new bloodwork is abnormally high or low compared to my previous years. It’s probably the nerdiest thing I’ve ever made. In fact, I showed this spreadsheet to my friend at Harvard Med School, and she called me a supernerd.

But I take my health very seriously.

You can download the spreadsheet here if you want, but that’s only for supernerds. The main point is to get a physical every year.

Get Your Freaking Physical!

I very rarely give blanket advice. When you are talking about someone’s money or their health, it’s always a personal decision. However, if you have health insurance that gives you a free checkup with bloodwork every year, then you need to do it. It would be seriously stupid to ignore it.

And if you don’t have health insurance or your insurance doesn’t cover physicals and bloodwork, I still think you should strongly consider a physical every year. My doctor charges $237.00 for a physical with bloodwork. It sounds like a lot of money, but it can help save you a ton of money by catching a serious disease early. Oh, and it might also save your life, which is probably pretty important too.

So get an annual physical and make sure you live long enough to reap the benefits of your super responsible financial saving habits!