Your health is the most important

Your health is the most important part of your FIRE journey. I have a few comments why.

Without your health, there’s no point

There’s no point to any of this FIRE website without your health. You can’t enjoy retirement without health.

That should be pretty obvious, but I have more:

Do not trade health for money

Earning more money at the expense of your health is generally not worth it.

If a job or business is causing you chronic stress to the point of poor health, you should probably change things.

It’s probably not worth the cost to your health. It’s probably counterproductive to your FIRE, and here’s why:

Being sick is expensive

In the United States in particular, being sick is expensive. That’s probably true even in other countries with good socialized medicine.

Direct medical expenses are an obvious cost, and I don’t need to explain that one more.

But there’s second-order costs of being sick too, and they all stem from one fact: Sick people have less time and energy, and therefore have to pay people to do things that a healthy person could DIY.


  • Hiring a plumber to fix a leaky sink
  • Hiring an accountant to do the annual taxes
  • Hiring a painter to re-paint the cabinets
  • Hiring a gardener to take care of the yard
  • Can’t change car air filters, have to take it to the dealership.
  • Can’t use IKEA or Craigslist, so have to buy expensive furniture and have it delivered.

Bottom line: Be healthy, have energy, it will save you money.

Live longer to collect more pension

You likely will also earn more money simply by living longer.

If you’re in the United States, you have Social Security. Other developed countries have their own national pension system.

Within these systems, the longer you live, the more you collect. If you go to an early grave, you won’t collect much.

These national pension systems have a progressive aspect where the high earners subsidize the low earners.

But they also have a regressive aspect, in which the short-lived (which also tend to be the low earners) subsidize the long-lived.

Live longer to collect this pension longer. You’ll earn more overall.

Some readers may complain: Well if you live longer, you’ll earn more from pension but also spend more. Yes that’s true. But the living longer and spending to sustain that life is the point. I’m not sure I can explain it more than that…

How to have good health

There’s a bunch of good-health websites on the internet, but I touch on a few points I like in these posts:

Exercise and Healthspan

See this article:

The most interesting thing about that article and study is that even less than 51 minutes of running a week (working out to 7 minutes a day, or more realistically - 15 minutes 3 times a week) had comparable mortality benefits as people who ran 4x as much.

In other words - running a little bit regularly (just 15 minutes or so) is all it takes to get all of the mortality benefits. If your goal is to live a healthy life longer, you don’t need to exercise a lot at all.

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