Executive Summary: The life-long costs of neglecting your health can be staggering. Expenses include out-of-pocket medical bills as well as losses of productivity and quality of life. Too many people watch their investments more closely than they do their health. Illness brought on by lifestyle choices, such as smoking, overeating, lack of exercise and stress, accounts for as much as 70% of nationwide health care spending.
By Pamela Yellen and Dean Rotbart
In mid-December 2008, a skeletal Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc., canceled his scheduled presentation at the annual Macworld conference, triggering investor fears that the company’s visionary co-founder was seriously ill. A month later, Jobs announced his first health-related leave of absence. He began a second leave this past January.
During the 30-day period when concerns about Jobs originally surfaced, the shares of Apple stock dropped 14%, or $12 billion in market value.
The shareholders of Apple weren’t worried about the potential hospital bills and other medical costs that Jobs would incur. Comparatively speaking, those expenses would be a drop in the bucket.
But Apple shareholders – confronted with the loss of Jobs’s services, perhaps for good – instantly realized the true cost of sickness must also be measured in loss of productivity, leadership and innovation, among other attributes a key executive brings to his or her company.
For tens of millions of Americans who are otherwise mindful of how and where they stake their money and retirement savings – including many successful Bank on Yourself participants – the importance of investing wisely in their physical health is a lesson they have yet to master.