Always Try to Keep the Odds in Your Favour

Illustration depicting a highway gantry sign with a healthy lifestyle concept. Blue sky background.By Michael Drak

Special to the Financial Independence Hub

Recently, Globe & Mail personal finance columnist Rob Carrick wrote an article entitled ‘It’s time to get real about retirement planning.” In it he stated that people should not count on working past retirement age because many will not be able to do so due to health issues. Everyone that knows me is aware that I’m a big promoter of continuing to work at something you love, for as long as you can, so this article really caught my attention and got me to do some serious thinking. The following are the conclusions that I came up with:

Always try to put the odds in your favour

Want to increase the odds of extending your work life past the normal retirement age? You need to adopt a healthy lifestyle as early as possible. Most of us know what to do but for whatever reason fail to do it. You need to keep active, work out on a regular basis, eat the right foods, and stay engaged. Odds are you will live enjoy a longer and happier life than your smoking neighbour whose retirement is based on watching tv and drinking lots of beer to help kill the boredom.

Chronic Stress will eventually take its toll

When I read surveys that indicate that the majority of people dislike their jobs I become really concerned. Prolonged stress will cost us in terms of our physical and mental health over time and finding safe ways to decompress after a day at a job that you hate is difficult.

No wonder so many people self-medicate and the usage of antidepressants keeps rising. The worst thing imaginable is for someone to finally wake up after 20 years, discover that they have significant irreversible health problems and realize that they are trapped in a job that is not meaningful to them.

Findependence will help keep you healthy

Setting a goal for early findependence and getting there is a great way to reduce stress and odds are it will also have a significant favourable impact on your overall health. People that have achieved findependence, are able to once again put the important things in life in their proper order. For them work doesn’t come ahead of family and friends and when you can do this life can be pretty enjoyable.

After writing this article I realized that I had an opportunity to lead by example and take some of my own ‘good’ advice. After all, I always told my kids that they needed to find good role models to follow and here was my chance to show people how to put the odds in their favour and have a better chance to enjoy a long and happy encore career.

So as of today I will eliminate some bad habits and replace them with some good ones. First on the list is finding time to exercise more which will help me drop some weight. By my calculation I’m currently 38 pounds overweight (228 in total right now) and I want to get down to 190 pounds in time for my son’s wedding  on October 17th 2015. Losing 38 ponds should allow me to fit into my old tuxedo and gives me a good goal to shoot for.

After the wedding I will post an updated picture of myself and hopefully it will be of me in that old tuxedo. Dropping the weight will also help me with two other challenges that I’m currently facing: arthritis and high blood pressure. Dropping weight via healthy exercise/good nutrition should help on both fronts but the key is to have the discipline to remain committed and follow through.

This article served as a wake-up call for me. I spend most of my time trying to get people to change and focus on chasing their dreams and it only makes sense for me to lead by example and practice what I preach. So please keep your fingers crossed for me!

Drak 2014Mike Drak is part of the Komitas Mastromartino Wealth Management Group at RBC Dominion Securities, based in Toronto. He is currently writing a book with Jonathan Chevreau about some of the themes mentioned in the above blog and at the Financial Independence Hub in general. He can be reached at

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