26/09/17Why one in 10 men with an ‘old heart’ need to review their finances

Why one in 10 men with an ‘old heart’ need to review their finances

It’s one thing to have a ‘young body, old soul’, but a ‘young body, old heart’ is another thing entirely.

According to analysis carried out by Public Health England (PHE), one in 10 men aged 50 has the heart of somebody at least 10 years older (Source: NHS).

Although cardiovascular diseases have been declining in recent years, it is still the primary cause of death among men, and the second highest for women. Extra strain on the heart can impact your personal finances, putting many men at financial risk.

With an estimated 90,000 people in the UK dying from heart disease or strokes each year (Source: Telegraph), how can men financially protect themselves and their loved ones?

Young at heart

The study of 1.2 million people, by PHE found that 11% of men aged 50 had the heart of a 60-year-old. Certain lifestyle factors saw that age increase to 70, such as:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High alcohol consumption

Those with an ‘older’ heart are more prone to certain conditions, such as:

  • Heart attack
  • Strokes
  • Dementia
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Diabetes

Jamie Waterall, Associate Professor of Public Health England, commented: “The online test provides an immediate idea of risk without having to see a doctor. If your heart age is high, your risk is higher, however it’s never too late to act to reduce your heart age. We should all aim for our heart age to be the same as our real age, as having a heart age older than your actual age means you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Addressing our risk should not be left until we are older.”

How could an old heart affect your family and your finances? 

Heart problems, or any health issues for that matter, can have a range of effects on your finances; none of them particularly pleasant. The illnesses linked to an unhealthy heart will probably affect your ability to work, which is particularly worrying, as most people in the UK have little or no savings. In fact, one in four UK households has less than £95 saved up in case of emergency (Source: Aviva)

If you are unable to work, and have no savings, your ability to pay the monthly bills, including your rent or mortgage, will be impaired. If this were to continue, it may well result in the loss of your home.

Furthermore, most people in their 50s are still building up their pension pot, saving as much money as possible for retirement. A condition that stops you from working, even for a short period of time, will hinder this.

What are the possible solutions?

Getting fit: Improving your general health, by taking exercise and eating better, will not only reduce the strain on your heart, but will reduce the risk of your family falling into financial difficulties.

Income protection: Income protection could make things considerably less bleak, offering a safety net should illness mean you are unable to work. It essentially works as a long-term insurance policy that is designed to help if your income is stopped due to an injury or illness. The policy replaces part of your income, and depending on the terms will pay out until:

  • You can start working again
  • You retire
  • You die
  • The pre-agreed policy term ends

According to the Association of British Insurers (ABI), over one million workers per year find themselves unable to work due to a serious illness. Making income protection hugely important.

Life cover: Life cover is insurance that pays money to your dependents, either as a lump sum or regular payments, if you die. The amount paid out depends on the level of cover you buy, while premiums depend on several factors including your age, health as well as the level of cover.

Critical illness cover: This is a type of long-term insurance that covers specific serious illnesses, listed within the policy. Examples include:

  • Cancer
  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Conditions such as multiple sclerosis

If you develop one of these illnesses whilst covered, the policy will pay out a tax-free one-off payment that can help with mortgage and rent payments, debts or accessibility alterations to your home.

We can help

Reviewing your finances as you approach retirement isn’t limited to just checking your pension. It is also a time to be realistic about your health, and the people who are either partially or fully dependent on you.

Taking the time to put proper protection in place can avoid difficulties and stress later in life, but it isn’t something you have to do alone. Taking professional financial advice will help you to make the right decisions; choosing cover appropriate to your circumstances.

Advice can also help those people with pre-existing medical conditions find cover. If you are one of the 10% of men with an unhealthy heart, insurers may increase the cost of cover. That makes shopping around, which an adviser can do on your behalf, even more important. Conversely, certain insurers, offer lower premiums, on the condition that the policy holders lead healthy lifestyles, often tracked through wearable technology.

Our advice will help ensure you choose the right cover, from the right insurer.

For more information on life cover or income protection, don’t hesitate to get in touch using the number at the top of the page.

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