Portfolio advice for your body

A recent federal study projects government health care spending nearly doubling to some $2 trillion by 2017. It puts lots of blame on aging Boomers, predicting that Medicare will consume a whopping 20.7% of national health spending by that time.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services report says it's a private affair, too, predicting overall healthcare spending to balloon to $4.3 trillion by 2017 -- doubling the current tally, and equating to more than 20% of gross domestic product.

The healthcare debate is shaping up as a major flashpoint in the election, as any bona fide national crisis should. You can argue the candidates' positions till the cows come home, but I can tell you even offshore gambling websites wouldn't lay odds on any plan's chance of success.

If you think viewing our bodies through a financial lens is wacko, consider that a couple currently 65 years old each that lives a healthy lifestyle will, by age 90, have $500,000 more to their names than their unhealthy counterparts (if, indeed, those counterparts make it that far).

It's clear to me that how healthily Boomers choose to retire can impact the healthcare crisis more than any administration's policy. I'm bullish, knowing all we've accomplished, in such a relatively short time, for both ourselves and the world at large. We created more personal wealth than any other generation, put computers in virtually every office and home, affected revolutions in personal and social freedom.

Opting for healthy retirement is far easier than all of those things. One recent study found that walking for 30 minutes per day, five times a week, can add one year of life. That's in everyone's reach. The same study found that more vigorous, aerobic exercise, like running or swimming an hour four times per week, can add an average of three or four years of life-span. Andrew Weil has built a fortune from advice like this, and for all the right reasons.

The old mantra holds: if it feels good, do it. Along with that other one: Just Do It. If not to solve a nation's crisis, to at least maximize your holdings.

Michael Burnham is CEO of My Next Phase, a consulting firm offering non-financial retirement planning products and services (www.mynextphase.com).

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