FIRE.031 House or Health? (yes, both)

Realization alert: It hit me the other day, our current health insurance premiums for two people total more than our old mortgage payment (30 yr fixed).

Of course, I understand good health may be almost invaluable. Comparing health care to a roof over your head is like comparing apples to gasoline, two totally different items that require money, but food is required for life and gasoline makes life easier.

I know I’m comparing a twenty-year-old mortgage payment ($700 ish) to a recent healthcare premium ($800+) but when you’ve tracked your spending over time, you see comparisons—and consistency—pop up.

I know my wife and I are also different from many families. We’ve owned the same house since 1991 so our purchase price/loan amount was far lower than home bought today or even 10 years ago. Secret: that home purchase and decision to stay put (and love our home) are HUGE reasons we are FIREd today.

Value consideration: what are you getting for your money? How much does that expenditure matter for your life? Your health, happiness, family well-being?

HOME: I believe a home you love can be a comforting value to your life. It can give you a space of zen. It can provide you with wonderful memories throughout your life. In some cases, it can even become a showpiece for your success (we have no show). It’s your life, it’s your home, you decide what matters most to you.

HEALTH: I’ve written before how I feel health is foundational to your being. Think how bummed you get when you have a cold or upset when you have a sore something. Think about how a longer term illness stresses your life and/or family during treatment and recovery. Good health is a true treasure we often don’t realize. The goal of medical insurance is to help us stay healthy with doctor visits and cure us of illnesses, all without gutting our savings to cover the ridiculously high costs of medical care.

I just realized many people may have two car payments which could add up to more than our original mortgage payment. That just gave me the chills, imagining such a large chunk of my money disappearing on a quickly depreciating asset expense. If you LOVE your car(s), and they give you happiness, and you can afford that expense, no problem. Happiness is valuable…and may help with good health as well.

Realization #3: our health insurance premiums are not fixed for 30 years, or FIREs 40-50 years. Holy SH!T! That means they will easily add up to more than the “total payment” amount of a mortgage loan. From my instant calculation, maybe 2-3 times the total of those mortgage payments.

It’s important to keep some idea of what you are spending, what you are receiving, and making sure it all fits into your plan. You have a plan, right? (You have the right plan!?)

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