As we get older, we realize that we aren’t invincible. It’s a fact of life. How we deal with this can determine our quality of life during the years when we are getting weaker, not stronger.
We all have vices. Those are difficult to tackle, and some may argue that they actually add to our quality of life. Why should we give up alcohol? We enjoy it. The same goes for smoking, recreational drugs, gambling and probably collecting Hummels too.
But there are other things that can be changed, addressed and even fixed. Unfortunately, your health plan probably doesn’t cover these or the cost is so high that it doesn’t make sense. I’ll give you an example.
My uncle lives about 90 miles away from me. He’s in his mid-70s and is in excellent health for his age. He’s active, loves to travel, attends church regularly and even shares my passion for cars. Just the other day, he asked me to look for a specific high-end car for him – talk about a fun assignment!
I visited with him a few weeks ago over Christmas. His son, my cousin, was in town, and we all enjoyed a great lunch prepared by my aunt. We got to talking, as we always do, about traveling – something we all enjoy.
Midway through the conversation, my uncle asked me if I knew any dentists outside the U.S. I had always noticed that his teeth could be in better shape and figured, heck, if I noticed, I was sure he had too! (I learned early in life that the person with the issue is always well aware of it.)
We talked a bit and he said he needed to get implants – not because of any pressing concern but for increasing his quality of life. Like the car he wanted me to check out, his rationale was that he wasn’t getting any younger and he certainly wasn’t taking his money with him. He argued that making it into his 70s was a miracle in itself. My dad, his brother, and two other brothers never made it past 60.Sales
Of course, I asked him why he hadn’t already done the dental implant surgery here in the States. Sitting in the dining room of a paid-off, multimillion-dollar house, it seemed like a valid question. He drives nice cars, wears great clothes and takes expensive trips – so why wouldn’t he spend money on something like his teeth?
I probed a little more. He said that a complete set of implants in the U.S. would cost him more than $80,000. The car I was going to look for would cost him twice as much.
He suffers from what I call the “bargain mentality.” Unfortunately, I have some of that in my system as well. World travelers have a disadvantage when it comes to spending money. We aren’t cheap, but we are extremely value conscious.
Turns out, on his frequent trips abroad, especially to Asia, he had often priced the same elective surgery. And it was always much, much less expensive – about one-quarter of what it would cost in the States.
He couldn’t pull the trigger for a variety of reasons… mainly because he was worried that if something went wrong when he got home, it wasn’t going to be easy to hop on a plane and travel for 30 hours. He wasn’t worried about getting high-quality care, as most of the doctors and dentists in Asia study here in the U.S., in Europe or in Japan.
So it turns out that he could afford the surgery here or anywhere, but he couldn’t get past paying $80,000 for something he knew would cost $20,000 elsewhere. It’s an affliction that has caused him to enjoy his life less. It’s something that many of us suffer from.
We spend a ton of money on everything but our health. But when it comes to elective procedures that we can afford and know would make us feel better – and likely live longer too – we choose to buy the fancy car instead.