Improve Your Health and Your Finances

August 19, 2008 7:38:08 PM PDT
Your health can weigh heavily on how much it costs to insure your most important asset ... yourself.Fresno Insurance Agent, Frank Johnson Jr. Sits across from clients ... crunching the numbers on rates for life insurance ... and the difference is startling for a healthy person, versus an unhealthy person.

Frank Johnson, Jr., Insurance Agent: "What I try to do is show them different rates. Their current condition ... but in addition to that I may show them a rate if they do come back at a preferred rate. So they can see the difference in cost because it's a major difference."

One of the costliest conditions is smoking: Johnson says a person who smokes will pay a much higher rate than a non-smoker. But if you quit ... you can start saving big bucks.

Frank Johnson, Jr.: "Even if you do smoke, we can still look at it in a year and possibly give you a non-smoker rate. So you can control these factors."

While rates are determined based on the individual ... here's one example: For a term life insurance policy ... a 35 year old man who smokes and is 20 pounds overweight ... could pay $36 a month for the policy. But the same age man who doesn't smoke and is a healthy weight ... could pay as little as $17 a month ... that's a savings of $228 a year.

Fresno Kaiser Physician and smoking cessation expert, Linda Pauls says smoking burns up billions.

Linda Pauls, MD/Kaiser Permanente: "The medical costs just from smoking are about 97-billion per year."

Anyone can go on Kaiser Permanente's website and find one of a number of health calculators. This one is for smoking. You simply plug in how many cigarettes you smoke each day, the cost of each pack plus the number of years you smoke, and there you have how much you're spending out of pocket.

Dr. Pauls also encourages patients to get moving to get healthy ... which ultimately cuts down on office visit costs and medication.

Linda Pauls, MD, Kaiser Permanente: "There's a lot of things people can do at home and on their own that are free. Walking ? if you have a bike in the garage, dust it off and get on it."

But you're bound to get hungry ... doing all that exercise. Kaiser's Registered Dietian, Judy Meadows warns against grabbing food on the go. She says a few minutes of making meals at home can save you cash and calories.

Judy Meadows, Registered Dietitian: "If you get a meal deal, you're looking at 3-5 dollars and 6 or 700 calories ... if you make the same kind of sandwich at home ... we're looking at 365 calories and a cost of about $1.50.

Doctors say just losing 10-percent of your weight and kicking the habit will make a big difference in your health and your wallet.

Making coffee at home instead of grabbing it on the go ... can also save you thousands of dollars, over time.

A financial website calculated what it calls, "the latte factor". If you put away the few bucks you spend on coffee ... everyday ... you could fund your retirement.

Related Links:
The Latte Factor Calculator Option 1
The Latte Factor Calculator Option 2
The Latte Factor Worksheet


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