How Often Should You Get A Physical And How Much Does It Cost?

Physical Exam BedBefore my COBRA (healthcare for departed employees) ran out, I decided to get a physical exam. It’s been three years and it was about time. Many insurance companies offer one free physical every year. Give your insurance company a call to find out if yours is one of them. That’s a $200-$500 “savings” every year if you take advantage of the perk. Depending on your insurance coverage, you will either typically pay a co-pay ($25 in my case), or a co-insurance (generally 20% of the overall bill).

Beyond the co-pay or co-insurance, sometimes there’s something called a “draw fee” as well. The word “draw” in this term refers to the drawing of blood, which is then sent off to a lab to get a multitude of tests done. My draw fee, to my surprise was $24 dollars. Hence, what I thought was initially “free” turned into a $49 dollar physical ($25 co-pay + $24 draw fee). Depending on my blood work, I may have to come back for more, which means another $25 in co-pay.

A $25 co-pay isn’t particularly cheap. I’ve had as low as a $5 co-pay before until I decided to change my plan to be more for “disaster prevention.” You want a low co-pay if you are chronically sick. In 10 years, I’ve seen the doctor perhaps seven times, including physicals. Hence, it makes sense for me to pay a higher co-pay in return for a lower monthly premium. I could take it a step further and do co-insurance, but I elected not to.

THE RECOMMENDED FREQUENCY OF PHYSICAL EXAMS 

Proof Your Weight Is Almost Entirely Genetic And Not Your Fault

Woman Eating Indian Buffet

Nobody can resist all you can eat Indian buffet.

This post might positively change your life forever. After reading this post you will hopefully: 1) stop beating yourself up for why you aren’t in shape, 2) stop feeling guilty about what you eat, 3) stop spending money on diet fads, 4) stop spending money on exercise equipment, and 5) gain more confidence and self-esteem.

I’ve struggled with staying in fighting shape ever since I entered college. As an athlete who played competitive tennis, I was always about 152-155 in high school with a body fat percentage of under 7%. I benched 1.5X my body weight and clocked a 4.5 second 40 yard dash. When tennis season was over, I ran the anchor for the 4X100 and 4X200 relay. Sports was a huge part of my life and I don’t think I can happily live without it.

By the time I graduated college, I permanently gained the freshman 10. After my second year of working 70 hour weeks in NYC, I ballooned to 175-180 lbs. My strength and speed dissipated. I got sick a lot, had horrible allergies, and even came down with the weirdest case of plantar fasciitis.

My breaking point came when a female colleague I fancied nonchalantly said I looked like another out of shape colleague. I was crushed, but knew she was telling the truth as I looked in the mirror to spot the first signs of jowls. What the hell are jowls?!

I proceeded to work out like crazy for six months in the gym upstairs. I even bought those “Ripped Fuel Extreme” pills filled with ephederine, a substance that is now banned! In three months, I got down to 165 and felt better. But you know what? I’ve been 162-170 for the past 13 years no matter how much I exercise or how little I eat. Something must be up!

GENETICS DETERMINES YOUR WEIGHT

Walking And Light Exercise Does Nothing For Weight Loss!

WeightTraining.com Financial Samurai ChallengeI consider myself a health conscience guy who plays tennis three times a week, watches what he eats, and goes on frequent hikes and bike rides. That said, I’ve definitely been overweight before, and I came close again on my recent trip to Europe.

The reasons to stay relatively fit are as follows:

* I don’t want to die before my time. Although we don’t know when we will die, we can at least try and reduce our chances of an early death by eating right and exercising regularly.

* I don’t want to burden my family with unnecessary health complications. Being a burden to loved ones is a terrible, terrible thing. I would hate to see my wife, kids, or relatives have to constantly check in on me because I’ve received brain damage from a stroke, or can no longer go to the bathroom on my own due to some manly cancer.

* I don’t want to financially burden my fellow Americans who will have to subsidize my medical costs thanks to universal health care. As honorable citizens, we should try to give back more to our country more than we receive. This is the best way to ensure the health of our nation’s future.

* I don’t want to let my US Tennis Association teammates down when it’s time to battle other teams. We all train very hard in the off season so that come game time, we’re ready to compete. Being physically fit is standard, but can also be a huge edge as we battle less in shape competitors. Once we are fit, we can then concentrate on our skills and mental fitness which are crucial to winning matches.

* I’m frugal and don’t want to spend too much on new clothes. During the first year of college and the first year of work I had to buy new shirts and pants because I gained about 15 pounds. I’m not big into clothing in the first place, but when you’ve got to buy three new suits of different color, things add up! Dress shirts and jeans are easily $50-$200 each and higher. Imagine being able to fit in your jeans from 10-15 years ago, how much money you can save!

* I don’t want to ignore the plight of others. I grew up in several third world countries and I’ve witnessed immense poverty. When I know there are millions of people starving around the world, there’s no way I can overeat and not remember. America is a country of abundance and it’s easy to consume more than normal. We just have to remind ourselves how lucky we are, as we’re not even being asked to help others, only ourselves.

* I want to feel good. When I was heavier, I didn’t have as much energy and I didn’t feel as good about myself. I’d look at new pictures and come away shocked because they were so different from how I used to look. When you feel good, you look good. And when you look good, you have more confidence to succeed.

Despite all these reasons, I still find it very tough to stay in ideal weight of 152-163 pounds for someone 5 feet 10 inches tall. 152 pounds sounds ridiculously light, but hey, that’s what the doctors and researchers say is ideal weight for a medium bodied person my height, so who am I to make excuses?

The problem is, when I see a batch of lemon meringue mini pastries, I cannot help but eat six of them at a time! When there is all you can eat BBQ ribs, the same thing happens. Tell me I’m not the only one!

PROOF THAT LIGHT EXERCISE DOES NOT KEEP YOU FIT

Winners And Losers Of Obamacare Hooray!

In N Out Double Double BurgersIn a close 5-4 decision, the Supreme court says Congress was acting within its powers under the Constitution when it required Americans to carry health insurance or pay a penalty!

The legislation is 1,000 pages long so I can’t even come close to understanding all the nuances of the bill.  All I understand is that those against Obamacare think the bill is a violation of individual rights by our big bad federal government.  In addition to the perceived violation of human liberties, the question is who is going to pay for universal healthcare?

Those for Obamacare say that the legislation is not a violation of individual rights but only a tax on people who don’t have healthcare.  Justice Roberts explains, “The mandate is not a legal command to buy insurance. Rather, it makes going without insurance just another thing the government taxes, like buying gasoline or earning an income.”  I guess that makes sense.  The other reason for Obamacare is that in a country as rich as the USA, all people should be have health insurance, rich or poor.

LOTS OF UNINSURED

There are supposedly 32 million people in America without healthcare.  Some of them think they are healthy enough that they don’t need healthcare.  Meanwhile, the large majority of people who don’t have healthcare is because they can’t afford healthcare!  Hence, the irony is that if you penalize people who don’t have healthcare with a 1-2.5% extra income tax hike a year, you are essentially making the poor even poorer!  They are already annoyed the government is making them abide by more rules!

Meanwhile, payroll taxes for small businesses and income taxes for the wealthier population will go up to fund Obamacare because income tax hikes on the poor are not going to cover the cost of the program. Supposedly most of the 32 million people without healthcare will get partial or if not full subsidy by the government to get healthcare.  Of course that is not going to make the people who have to pay more taxes happy.

If the poor and rich and independent people of America are all pissed off about Obamacare, who is really happy the bill may pass besides President Obama and the people who serve him?  If you have health insurance or can’t afford health insurance you’re likely unaffected.  Those who are stuck in the middle now need to watch out for the encroaching Sentinels!

WINNERS AND LOSERS OF OBAMACARE

The Ideal Body Weight: Finally Losing The Last 10 Pounds

Financial Samurai Weight

At the beginning of the year, I discovered that I was not in ideal weight and it pissed me off.  At 167-169 pounds, I thought I was doing pretty good for a middle-aged guy standing 5′ 10″ until spending a couple hours of research online for the post.  It turns out that based on the majority of reports, I was actually about ~10 pounds overweight, which is a lot since I don’t weight that much to begin with.

With tennis season just three months away at the time, I didn’t want to be out of shape.  My teammates were counting on me.  In competitive sports there’s the triumvirate mind, body, and skills for winning.  The body is the EASIEST thing to optimize, which means during competition against high caliber opponents, they are all in great shape.  Having an ideal body weight is standard (ever see an overweight professional tennis player?), and therefore one is able to focus their energy on mental strength and specific skills.

For well over a decade, I had an enormous mental block that I had to overcome.  I told myself it was IMPOSSIBLE to get under 160 pounds, even though I was a lean 155 pounds in college.  I kept saying there was no way I could break 160 because of work and a slower metabolism.  I accepted weight creep and the ideology that people automatically gain 10 pounds every decade.

PLEASE TELL ME ANOTHER EXCUSE 

A Look Inside Australia’s Education, Investment, Tax, Healthcare & Retirement System

Australian CurrencyYou’ve heard about Bondi Beach, the Great Barrier Reef, Elle McPherson and the Australian Open.  You know that Australia has a great “walkabout” culture where college graduates take a gap year to go explore the world and expand their horizons.  As far as you can tell, Australia is a wonderful land down under!

Unless you’ve been to sunny Australia, everything is hearsay.  I’ve never been, but fortunately for all of us,  Shaun from Money Cactus is a regular reader who hails from Australia and has decided to provide some insights into what it’s really like living and working in Australia.

One of my friends from San Francisco moved to Sydney five years ago and he loved it so much he decided to start a business there and become an Aussie citizen!  After looking more into the Australian healthcare and social safety net system, there’s no wonder why people love Australia!  In fact, I might consider retiring there myself if they have me.  Then again, why would they since I haven’t paid any of their taxes!

Here’s Shaun’s perspective on Australia.  For other Australian readers and those who’ve spent some time there, please feel free to share your thoughts as well!

Australian Boom: Where The Money’s At