Invest in your health and retire early
Updated: Jan 2
Health is the new wealth, and it’s trending
A thought leadership piece by Virginia Chachati, MPharm
Headache? Google it.
Photo by Morgan Housel on Unsplash
With the internet at your fingertips, you’re only one google away from an answer to your health problem. If you are a member of the current Generation Z or the Millennials club (Figure 1), you certainly have regular disposable income and a deep sense of self-care. You’ll be looking for somewhere to invest your time and money, and your health will be at the top of your list. We can all agree that your health is the foundation you need to live your best life. With the world hyperaware of this fact as the post-pandemic era hits, the prospect of an early retirement in good health is more tempting than ever.
Figure 1: How do we define generations?
Generation Z is the youngest, followed by Millennials and Generation X.
Boomers are heading into retirement, and the Silent generation are those born before 1945.
Prevention is better than cure
Young people are putting more effort into how they can stay healthy in the long run. They are becoming more aware of health problems they have now that could snowball in future. Researching solutions and creating action plans to prevent these are all considered time well spent. This is not limited to self-help apps, books or videos online. However, waiting weeks for a GP appointment or months for a referral are not practical options. Enter private healthcare. Gen Z are willing to seek out professional help at a premium cost. The health-conscious generation demands immediate attention, and won’t let a knee niggle become a knee surgery.
“Gen Z is starting to save earlier than previous generations: 71% are already saving for the future. But despite being conservative with their money, Gen Z is willing to pay a premium for wellness products and healthy foods.”
Mental health, fitness and nutrition, and sleep are the key priorities for the next generation. However, Gen Z’s are quickly accepting the limitations of online research and fast-tracking to expert advice. If you are a healthcare provider, to earn their trust you’d better have an easy-to-use interface, five-star reviews and a catalogue of satisfied customers. Evidence-based practise will become the new normal as Gen Z will demand to know the risks, benefits and success rates of the services you provide. They’ll get second opinions, do extra research, and even diagnose themselves or decide on the treatment they want before they see you.
“Convenience is paramount for this new generation—so much so that they are often willing to forgo a personal relationship with their healthcare provider.”
As convenient as coffee
Like your daily coffee, health is a luxury that you can’t live without. As the digital healthcare wave firmly plants its roots, arranging an online appointment needs to be as easy and convenient as ordering a coffee. And make it snappy.
The level of service you need to provide now is beyond what has ever been offered before. For example, same day deliveries of prescriptions for those who are stuck at work during your opening hours. Doctors need to be available on the phone during their lunch hour and at weekends.
“94% [of Gen Z] say they want to be able to save enough so they can retire”
The money race to retirement
To bring you up to speed with the Gen Z ‘financial freedom’ trend, here is a, albeit brief, step-by-step guide:
Find out your ‘FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) number’ by calculating your annual expenses and multiplying them by 25.
Work hard in your teens and twenties to save up money
Build multiple ‘passive income’ streams by investing this money, or through other ventures, until you can reach this FIRE number
Retire by 50, 40 or maybe even 30 – the earlier the better
Travel and do what you want, with who you want, when you want
Generation Z wants to have it all – money, time and, arguably most importantly, the health to enjoy retirement. They want it as soon as possible and they are willing to work for it. This means they will also compare prices using apps and across websites to ensure they get value for money. It may even mean travelling to another country to see a specialist. The best service at the best price; with a little left over for FIRE savings.
And if that wasn’t enough, the number one perk Gen Z want from a job is health insurance (Figure 2).
Figure 2: Health insurance tops the list of important work benefits
Health insurance, life insurance and flexible working hours are more important than retirement and vacation benefits offered by employment contracts.
Saving the planet by not having children
With Gen Z hoping to retire early, 10% are more likely to give up one of life’s biggest expenses of time and money: children. This is a double-win for the generation that wants to save the planet and reduce their carbon footprint. In addition, they will be spending that extra cash on themselves. The holistic healthcare market will be born: regular yoga classes, massages, physiotherapy, mental health therapy, pampering self-care days and mindfulness meditation retreats.
The rise of athleisure wear
Not only is it cool to be healthy, it’s also fashionable. Look no further than Gym Shark and Lululemon. Walking around in gym clothing that looks casual, so-called athleisure wear, is now socially acceptable. In fact, Gen Z make up the majority of gym memberships and have the highest attendance rates. They make the effort to go three times a week. Why not have a personal nutritionist, physiotherapist and osteopath - alongside your personal trainer and health coach? The possibilities are endless.
Influencer health brands
Have you heard of Sugar bear hair vitamins? Health brands are making deals with influencers that have young, health-conscious audiences which are loyal. This means they are more likely to buy what the influencer promotes. There’s a personal connection you can foster with your audience, and it’s big business.
But you’ll have to watch your step. Gen Z will voice their thoughts on how appropriate the products are or even if they work. And whether or not they like it – otherwise you could get ‘cancelled’. There is no room for clickbait i.e. being sold a product that doesn’t live up to expectations.
Gen Z want a health maintenance routine. This includes investing in vitamins, immune boosters and probiotics that they can take daily. Why seek treatment for a health problem when you can simply take a daily supplement to prevent it? Work it into your health routine and prevent deficiencies in vitamin D, iron and vitamin B12, to name a few.
Dermatologists are jumping on the skincare trend for flawless skin. They are becoming influencers in their own right. By offering free advice on how to use products like vitamin C, SPF and retinol, legions of fans are hooked and ‘wishing they were my doctor’. Are you a good storyteller? Can you share accurate patient diagnoses or celebrate successful treatment outcomes? Gen Z wants to get to know you and see if you sit with their values too – for example, do you support LGBTQ+?
Screen time in its prime
74% of Gen Z spend hours of their free time online, and on multiple screens. We’re talking mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Video is king. Especially short, funny, or thought-provoking ones they can relate to. So, if you can solve their health problem with a 15 second TikTok, YouTube Short, or Instagram Reel, you’ve gained a new follower. And a possible brand ambassador - for life.
Pew Research Generations definitions
Pew Research Gen Z
The Tree Group
M.O.O.D of America
Google It’s Lit
Morningstar insights report
Pension Bee, The next generation of retirees report
Hubspot Gen Z stats