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Pump on your pay; Metrics of well-being; A dog's eye view of workplace happiness; Pressure points; Private health care premiums

Personal Finance
Pump on your pay; Metrics of well-being; A dog's eye view of workplace happiness; Pressure points; Private health care premiums

By Amanda Morrall

Today, on my regular personal finance slot for TVOne's Good Morning show, we discussed the importance of fitness as part of one's financial plan.

We don't tend to think of money and health going hand in hand but there is a strong and growing correlation between the two. Given our ageing population, which is expected to live longer than ever, health care related expenses are set to explode. Research has found that after the age of 65, health care costs are three to four times higher than for those under 44. For those 85 and up, it's about 12 times higher. Given that a quarter of the population by 2050 will be 65 or older, health care costs for Government are going to sky rocket. Square that against the long-term costs of national superannuation, and the situation isn't pretty.

What this signals for me is an inevitable decline in the level of public health care that people have become accustomed to. It means longer waits, less subsidies, fewer choices and some tough calls by the Government and those working in the health care profession. For those that want better, it means higher health care premiums as insurers will also face undue financial pressures caused by this demographic time bomb.

So what can you do about it?

As your single greatest asset, it means looking after No.1. Staying fit and healthy will become an integral part of a sound financial plan because a) you'll probably need to work longer than your parents did and b) people in better health tend to chew up less money seeing on medical visits etc. Of course there are exceptions but this is the general trend.

My links today reflect this theme. 

1) Pump up your pay

I linked to this a while back but I'm putting it out there again. Time Money reports on findings from the Journal of Labour Research that suggests those who exercise regularly earn on average 9% more than their sedentary peers. The extra pay wasn't chewed up in gym fees either. 

2) Well-being

In my upcoming book, due out in February, I dedicate a chapter to well-being. In it, I refer to research from the Centre for Well-Being (run by the New Economics Foundation in the U.K.) that looks at the components that make up well being and five positive actions that help to promote it.  Guess what? Money didn't make the cut. Nic Marks, founder for the Centre for Well-Being, published a TEDbook on the subject called the "Happiness Manifesto."

In brief, they are:

1) Social relationships (quality over quantity).

2) Being active (promotes mental and physical well-being).

3 Taking notice (being more self-aware about your moods, attitudes and behaviours and how they impact on you and others).

4) Lifelong learning (not giving into old age and sitting in a rocker but remaining engaged and sharp).

5) Giving (volunteering and doing good).

3) A dog's eye view of work

I would add to the list above, a happy home life and work life. With respect to the latter, here's a very funny dog's eye view of how to make yourself happier at work from This will resonate most with dog owners I suspect but still worth a read. Nic Marks, the fellow I mentioned above is also conducting research in this area. You may wish to take his survey which aims to assess workplace happiness. 

4) Pressure points

Many officials, including the Retirement Commissioner, are warning New Zealander to save more and also to gear up for the possibility of working past age 65 to keep up with living expenses and having to work longer. Age Concern outlines just where the financial pressure points will lie particularly for those who are living off on New Zealand Superannuation income alone. Some alarming numbers here.

5) Private health care

Some might take issue with it however the public health care model (in its current form) offers a pretty high standard of care. As a result many New Zealanders prefer to go without private health care insurance. How much does it cost and how much do you need? The FSC has a new calculator on its website to help you figure this out. Financial advisor Liz Koh, who also blogged on this subject recently, suggesting those on private health care plans increase their excess to lower the premiums. Instead of spending the difference, she suggests you bank it to build up your own health care emergency fund for later in life. 

To read other Take Fives by Amanda Morrall click here. You can also follow Amanda on Twitter @amandamorrall

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What? did you cross-post this comment in the wrong thread???


...... shirley not ! ...


Rumack: Can you fly this plane, and land it?

Ted Striker: Surely you can't be serious.

Rumack: I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.

and my all time favorite...

Rumack: You'd better tell the Captain we've got to land as soon as we can. This woman has to be gotten to a hospital.

Elaine Dickinson: A hospital? What is it?

Rumack: It's a big building with patients, but that's not important right now.





Rumack: Captain, how soon can you land?

Captain Oveur: I can't tell.

Rumack: You can tell me. I'm a doctor.



Nice one, Amanda. As you probably know by now I think your health should be your #1 priority, so it's nice to see that vindicated by others as well. I spend about 2 hours a day exercising, sometimes more, and it's one of the great things about living in Sydney - crack out onto the streets at 6am and the waterfront and beaches are swarming with healthy people exercising - it's busier than rush-hour! Manly beach is just insane!

As well as exercise/activity I hope your book makes several good points about diet - which is #2 priority behind health (and still ahead of money) and a major factor in wellbeing. When I look at the world or a map I see several black spots - these are location of Maccas, KFC, Burger King, Pizza joints, Subway, and any other processed food outlet. They just do not exist, and they shouldn't ever exist in anyones diet if you want to be healthy and feel good. Urrgh.

Last week I had my neices fathers partner staying with us in the CBD because the dad had been hauled off the plane at Sydney airport by ambulance because he had pneumonia and emphysema caused by 35 years of smoking, and was in hospital (lesson #1 there - smoking is bad!). Anyhoo I took his partner out to our favorite Darling Quarter eatery - Umi, where I gave her some of my tuna sashimi to try. She promptly spat it out because she didn't like the taste or the texture! Yet happily admits to eating Maccas and KFC! Strange.

Being healthy and active, not smoking, eating clean, and cracking out of bed in the morning to get into the day before all the fat people do - it's the way ahead for long productive life IMHO.


Happy is he, or she, who takes a doggie to work.  Almost as happy as the doggie.


Reall really nice and good Amanda...Stan you are a living infomercial , or the dad in the Brady Bunch...loved the bit of you giving her a taste of your tuna that what theyr'e calling it nowdays....?

 Yup , your health is No1, to do the things you need your health to do...not to run out of time to do them because you live in the gym....share that energy with those you love....including yourself..

 Social time someone pisses you off...take a breath and ask youself just how important it is to address it.....if not so important, decrease the circle of connective responsibility....move along little doggy.

Smoking may damage your cigarettes...! a good reason not to smoke.

Learn to make your own sashimi at home...! fresh as, lower cost, and you can put the carcass in the bed of a borrower when payments fall behind.

Stop every so often...and think...holy cow..! I'm alive...gees I'd better do something I've been putting off because I keep using that lame excuse, I can't find time.

 I'll tell you when you can't find or make time...when your dead that's when.!!

That's it I'm hooking off for a fish tomorrow..!...boy I love this advice stuff...I'm pumped.


loved the bit of you giving her a taste of your tuna that what theyr'e calling it nowdays....?

Is that a tuna in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?

Seriously, how wrong is your life going if you don't like raw fish and you can't use chopsticks, but you'll happily drive into a place that is trying to poison you and pay top $ for the privilege??


Actually a couple of points from your (excellent as always) video Amanda...

1. Studies show over and over again that good looking people get through life easier and get promoted over not so good looking people, so that 9% more pay that active people get is probably the result of us being much more really really ridiculously good looking than your average worker who is getting fatter by the year.

2. I am somewhat confounded by the way fast food sales go up in financially hard times! There is nothing cheap about frankenfoods, and I'd like to dispel the myth that eating healthy is expensive. Mostly westerners eat far too much food, and far too much of that is crap. Ideally you can grow your own but even in the Sydney CBD I can still buy fresh fruit and vege cheaply, and fish (from the fish market) and there is even a low price quality butcher. Eat less, and eat fresh, and get in the kitchen and make it yourself insetad of driving out to get junk food!

I saw friends of friends on FB recently complaining that Hastings KFC was so bad that they drove to Napier KFC to get dinner!!!

Rant over.