Forget Keeping Up with the Jones’—Try Beating Them!Submitted by Concierge Financial Planning, LLC on April 8th, 2018
“Arghhhh,” I head from the basement as I puttered around my kitchen on Sunday morning. “Ughhhh!” I wondered if I should call 911 as my husband was exercising downstairs and he was obviously making an all-out effort—perhaps too far out! I wondered half-seriously if he was going to have a heart attack. Ten minutes later he came upstairs dripping with sweat. “No way was I going to let IronMike beat me in the last five minutes of the ride” he explained, “and I had to put ExTopGun-60’s in his place too!”
On most days I tell clients that keeping up with the Jones’ is a negative financial behavior. “Shut out the noise,” I tell them “and focus on your goals.” When it comes to exercise, however, I am singing a different tune. Keeping up with the Jones’ is not only saving me thousands of dollars in healthcare costs but also my husband Peter’s longevity!
You see, Peter has been dramatically improving his health while riding the Peloton exercise bike. He has always exercised, but the Peloton, unlike other exercise equipment, harnesses that deep human need to best one’s neighbor—especially the braggy or competitive ones—by including a leaderboard with your real-time ranking. The minute I see MusclesForMiles or StrongMan45 on the leaderboard, my adrenaline rushes and I push myself to excel! The Peloton leaderboard displays all the riders’ names, their output, and their place in the class. Peter’s goal is to always finish in the top 10% of riders. As there are often 1,000 riders in a class, he has to “beat” over 900 every ride!
Well, bring on the Joneses because the results are sobering. Peter is now a legend in his cardiologist’s office. His resting heart rate has gone down 11%. What’s more his blood pressure, while generally pretty good, is now bordering on “low” which he loves. Most important to him, he dropped 40 pounds from his 6’5” frame. At 55 I think he’s in the best shape of his life, which is significant as we look forward to retirement.
I estimate that as a couple we can expect to spend $375,000 in healthcare expenses during retirement, assuming we each live to age 95, which is a prudent planning age. And, in case you haven’t realized it, Medicare costs are rising. There are additional Medicare surcharges for higher income individuals and those surcharges are increasingly being applied at lower income levels. According to research, Peter’s desire to trounce IronMike can cut his healthcare expenses in half. Cha-ching! That’s more for us to spend on our dream beach house, and thanks to Peter’ s desire to beat MusclesForMiles, I won’t have to enjoy my time there alone!
Don’t get me wrong—this is not a wholesale endorsement for keeping up with the Jones’. When Peter purchased a Husqvarna 450 chain saw just because Bill next door had one, I wanted to kill him. Hopefully I won’t hear a “Arghhhh” from the backyard as a result!