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I’ve decided that money is just like air: it’s not important unless you don’t have any.

I’m very fortunate in that I have a job that I like and it pays well. The benefits are good — they support my $1800/mo. Simponi habit. My husband owns his own architectural firm and while he’s not Frank Lloyd Wright, it has had consistent business over the years. We’re a long way from being rich (particularly based on Dallas standards), but our income supports our relatively modest lifestyle and allows us to indulge our passion for travel on a fairly regular basis.

I grew up [really] poor, and I’ve worked hard starting at a very young age to get to where I am today. The last 15 years or so I had my own consulting business, which takes an enormous amount of hard work and long hours if you don’t want to starve. I closed my consulting firm and ran for cover under the corporate umbrella about a year ago when I saw the economic handwriting on the wall.

What I would really like to do, what I’ve never had the opportunity to do, is to either stop working or cut way back — perhaps do some project work at home. I love keeping house and cooking. I’d like to be able to seriously work on my second novel — which has been gathering dust for over a year. I’d like to be able take exercise classes in the middle of the day — instead of missing them because I’m working late (again). I’d like to indulge those days when I don’t feel well without worrying if I have enough time off accrued.

And while our lifestyle would become even more modest, and travel become less frequent, we could manage on my husband’s income alone. The other night when I got home after a particularly grueling day, my husband even told me that if that’s what I really wanted to do, that he’s right there behind me all the way.

It sounds good until I look back just a few months ago when my husband had his triple-bypass surgery. What if he had not survived or had not been able to return to work? What if that had happened and I had already quit my job? It made me realize that as comfortable as our lifestyle is today, we, like many people, are one major health event from potential financial disaster.

We just applied (and were finally approved) for long-term health care insurance. This was right after my husband’s heart surgery. It seemed to take a while for things to move through and yesterday I spoke with our agent. It seems the hold up was not my husband’s health, but my RA. In fact, my RA disqualified me for one of the benefits we applied for (a waiver for the waiting period for home health care), and put me in a sub-prime group, which increased the premium on my policy. My policy has less benefits and costs more than my husband’s who has had open-heart surgery.

I tell people that I don’t necessarily believe the phrase, “If you have your health, you have everything,” but I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have your health, it impacts everything.

I’ve also decided that health, like money, is a lot like air. When you’re young, healthy, and invincible, you don’t pay attention to it because whatever you’re doing is working, right? But when you’re health becomes an issue, it’s like getting that after-Christmas credit card bill in the mail.

So take care of your health budget. Put some nutrition, exercise, and rest in the savings bank, and they’ll pay dividends well into the future.

Thanks for checking in.