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Money in the bank*
By: Arièle Ali, pht

The value of investing money for the future has been preached from the financial pulpits for centuries. No one wants to retire without financial independence, therefore, during your working years, you save and invest as wisely and as well as you can. You probably have a good idea as to what your financial portfolio looks like but what about your health portfolio?

Saving for retirement is best begun while you’re young and it’s the same with investing in your health. Between the ages of 30 and 50, however, most women are faced with having to juggle the demands of family and career. Sadly, finding time to exercise is often seemingly impossible. If a woman does not invest in exercise, however, she will lose about 5lbs of muscle mass per decade of adult life. This can easily translate into a 50% loss of muscle mass by the age of 65 making simple tasks such as carrying a bag of groceries or lifting a two year old grandchild difficult.

Poor health can rapidly erode your finances as well as decrease your quality of life. When it comes to investing in your health, the following five habits are worth developing:

Establish goals

When investing for your financial future, it is important to identify what your goals are. Goal setting is equally important when investing in your health. Goals should be:

  • Specific e.g. run the Montreal marathon (run a half marathon)
  • Measurable e.g. complete the Tour de l’Île in 3 hours
  • Action oriented e.g. consult with a nutritionist and see a physiotherapist for a diet and exercise program tailored to your needs
  • Realistic e.g. you may not be able to make the national soccer team but you can aim to play in a neighbourhood league.


Financial planners typically advise that you maintain a diversified portfolio. Similarly, cross training and a balanced diet that incorporates a wide variety of foods ensures that you avoid overtraining and that your body receives the nutrients necessary for optimal functioning and disease prevention.

Enlist experts

Everyone can use advice or a second opinion from a qualified financial expert from time to time. Similarly, since old injuries and improper technique often lead to pain and (new) injury when an exercise program or sport is begun, a consultation with a qualified health and fitness professional will go far in keeping you injury free.

Invest regularly

Regular investing provides a convenient and disciplined way for amassing wealth. Eating healthily and engaging in regular physical activity will stack the odds significantly in your favour for keeping your body functioning well and free of disease.

Limit debt

Thanks to compound interest, even a relatively small debt can grow to debilitating proportions if ignored. In the same manner, a minor health problem if not attended to in a timely manner can become chronic and even end up threatening vital body systems e.g. recurring shoulder pain can be treated effectively in physiotherapy with a sport specific program being developed for you that will prevent re-injury. Left untreated, however, the problem can become chronic and necessitate surgery.

What you do today will determine how you live tomorrow – be smart and invest in your health.

*Originally published in French in the winter 2010-2011 edition of “Premières en Affaires”.