This is my 600th article! As I celebrate another milestone for this blog, I can't help but feel that time really flies. I started this blog in October 2010 to share my thoughts and insights on personal finances and investing. In a flash, it's been six years already and there had been many changes in my journey. Well, thankfully mostly positive ones. My main financial goal for this year is to go back to the basics and focus on protecting my best asset – my health.
Health is Wealth
It may sound very cliché but health is definitely wealth. As we grow older, protecting our best asset tends to take a back seat due to various commitments in life. Of course, making money and putting food on the table is important. And very often, I am guilty of being lazy when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. But I guess the wake-up call came through my medical report in last year. My cholesterol level was too high – at 250 mg/dl.
In the last few years, I struggled to control my cholesterol level due to my work and family commitments. As a result, I neglected my exercise regime. At this stage of my life, finding time to exercise can be excruciatingly challenging because there are other priorities as well. But I reckon it is now or never and I have to make the effort to improve my health while I am still young. Otherwise, it may be very difficult to address potential health issues when I am older. Thus, at the beginning of this year, I signed up for the gym membership near my office. In doing so, I work out at the gym three times a week in a bid to get my health back in shape.
On looking back, there was a lot of inertia within me before I started my training regime. I kept giving myself excuses like membership fee, gym facilities, lack of time, etc. Well, it turned out that the fee is very affordable and the facilities are good (I just need to bring my attire and track shoes). Every week during lunch time, I make it a point to work out at the gym three times. Each session lasts about only 30 minutes and I never looked back since. At the end of the day, I managed to overcome my procrastination by convincing myself that I am doing this not only for myself, but also for my family's sake.
When you tell yourself that you are doing something for your loved ones, there will be extra motivation to achieve many life goals. For me, the mere thoughts of myself falling ill and not being able to provide for my children freaked me out sometimes. I had experienced a difficult childhood when my father was diagnosed with a devastating stroke that caused him to be half-paralyzed. I don't want my children to suffer the same fate and this fear had become a motivating force that spurs me to improve my current fitness.
Besides improving my health, I have reviewed my family's insurance and proactively taken steps to strengthen our asset protections through upgrading our insurance policies. Insurance should be viewed as protection, rather than a platform to grow wealth. Many wealth builders overlook the fact that our best asset is our income ability, and not tangible assets like property, cash or stocks.
I have made a critical decision to upgrade my family's medical coverage for treatments at private hospitals or class A wards in a public hospital. Even though enhancements have been made to the MediShield Life, there are still merits in going for a private Integrated Shield Plan (IP). For me, the two advantages of IP are the option to choose your own doctor and riders to cover the co-insurance and deductible fees.
After MediShield Life subsidies and Medisave deductions, the annual premiums for my family amounted to about $1000. Even though we may not get to activate our IP, I still think it's still worth the money because having the coverage provides a piece of mind.
Apart from health insurance coverage, I have also enhanced my Aviva Mindef Group Term Life policy to $700,000. This move is partly due to the recent purchase of our new Executive Condominium (EC), The Terrace. We were considering a mortgage insurance but after making some comparisons, we felt that Aviva Mindef Group Term Life policy offers the best value for money protection.
Building for the Future
Our children represents the future and define our legacies in life. In buying the EC, we want our kids to grow up in a better environment and upgrade to a higher social status. This is not to say that living in an HDB flat is bad or stuff like that. After all, I have grew up and stayed in a three-room HDB flat for 30 years. But in life, there is always progression and we must always look ahead. Both my wife and I were born to low-income families but managed to upgrade to middle-income level through our hard works. We hope that with this new matrimonial home, we can give our children a head-start and enable them to build a better future.
This article first appeared on SG Wealth Builder.