Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Wealth Versus Health

Someone I work closely with had a heart-attack this weekend, only a mild one, so he will be just fine, but since he is seven years younger than me, it was a little disturbing. Although these things are always a shock, I can’t say that it was a surprise. 

The guy drinks every night, and not just a glass of beer, but the hard stuff. He smokes heavily and lives alone. He has a liking for home-made baked goods and potato chips, and his exercise is limited to walking outside for his smoke breaks and raising his glass.

What does this have to do with sports investing? Not a lot really, to be honest, but the incident got me thinking about how our investment activities affect our health and our quality of life in general.

I am fortunate to have good genes and long-living ancestors, (hang in there Mum and Dad), which is why I think it is important to do your research and select your parents carefully before you are conceived. You don’t want parents who are going to give you high cholesterol for example. If you choose the wrong parents, then exercise won’t affect your cholesterol levels, only your diet, and it would suck to have to watch your diet all the time. Choose the right parents, and you have a little more leeway in life.

I’ve also never been addicted to smoking. Years ago, my smoking would be limited to summer holidays on the beaches of Greece and Spain. It was my excuse to sit up and have a look at the topless girls for a couple of minutes before laying back down and working on the tan. Sorry, but the same activity without a cigarette in hand just looks pervy! I am fortunate not to have an addictive personality. Once I was on the flight back to London, that was it for cigarettes.

Alcohol? Well, like most Englanders, I used to drink more than the recommended daily amount. It’s hard not to. So many social activities, (and work activities come to think of it), involve alcohol, but now I am older, and a lot less social, so my drinking is less. And here is where investing is good for you – I never drink when I am investing, or plan to be investing, and since that it most days of the week, I am now only a very occasional imbiber. Alcohol and smart decisions don’t go together too well I’ve noticed, and anyone who is serious about making money from gambling should not be drinking.

Diet? Could be better, but my health-conscious girlfriend has been, and continues to be, a positive influence in this area.

Exercise? Not so good. I have the goal of running every three days (at my age the body takes a while to recover), but so far this year, I have made it out the door all of 11 times. Mind you, Spring is here now which always makes it easier.

Weight? Too high, but if I get the previous two items sorted, then it’ll take care of itself.

Stress? This is something of an unknown. I’m sure it’s human nature to think that we all handle stress ok, but when I have a few thousand pounds riding on the outcome of a penalty shoot-out for example, and the neighbours can hear my heart pounding, that can’t be good. I should probably reduce the stakes to a level where my heart rate does not increase, but most of my big investments are made in-play and if there is value to be had, I don’t just want £30 on if I can have £3,000 on. The downside is, of course, that the adrenalin rush that accompanies the £3,000 investment can’t be healthy. On the upside though, is that the extra money one generates from investing does relieve the financial pressures of life, and allow you the opportunity to enjoy life a little more fully than otherwise might be the case.

I should also probably take more time off from investing than I do. Unless I drag myself off for a trip to the World Cup, or somewhere with no Internet access, I find myself looking for opportunities every single day. Sure, there is more to life than investing, but again, who’s to say exactly how long the sun will be shining for us to make hay?

I don’t know if I am typical with the above observations or not, but I’d be surprised if none of my comments applied to people reading this.


Anonymous said...

Hi Cassini I made a post on the General Betting forum yesterday morning on the thread started by Walter Mitty called "concentration, advice please?" and your blog echoes most of what my post said. I compared being a Sports Investor to being a professional footballer and how just like a footballer in order to achieve an optimum level of performance it is important to dedicate time to looking after the tools which allow you to do the job. I would imagine your post does apply to a vast majority of those of us who do this not only as a living but probably those that do it part-time as well.


Anonymous said...

"An excellent blog entry" got cut off there - perhaps its google chrome that is messing up my posts. Regardless, it was one of your better entries and well done.


PhilipH said...

Top-hole post Cassini. Healthy mind/healthy body is something we all need to be concious of all of the time. Your friend who had the mild heart attack is a case in point.

I quit smoking back in 1970, having been a heavy smoker since my very early teens. I just quit; my disgust with myself at being a slave to nicotine was MY driving force.

You rightly mention stress in your post, and this too can be a real health hazard.

Four years ago I went to my GP as my heart rate for ten days or so was tanking along at a rate of knots, some 160+ beats per minute against my norm of 70. He did some tests and then ordered an ambulance. Spent a week in dock trying to get the old ticker to steady itself. This was not a heart attack but atrial fibrillation (AF) which can be triggered by various factors, stress and anxiety to name but two.

I have to recognise the danger signals when listening or watching a race in which I have an interest. The pulse rate can soar alarmingly high sometimes!

It does seem as though poor nutrition and lack of exercise is already a huge problem in much of the western world. It is too easy to ignore our health when all seems to be going nicely with a pint of lager and two packets of crisps!

Cheers, Phil

amorphous said...

Hi Cassini,

Don't think you have too much to worry about health wise...you are conscious of it, and that's half the battle.
A little over indulgence occasionally is good for the soul imho, whether it be a few glasses of wine or a little unhealthy food...as long as its accompanied by a little regular exercise and days of healthy living.

Get your running shoes on though....its the perfect time of the year for a little jog, not too hot, not too cold!!

John said...

I agree with Curly, one of your best posts. I can relate as I don't have an addictive personality either. I had a similar conversation with my girlfriend last night as she is about to try to quit smoking. I don't fully understand what it is like to be addicted to something.

I've often wondered how the stress has affected me as I don't think I deal with it well. Exercise seems to be the best solution for me. Everytime I read about something health related exercise is always mentioned.