Last month my wife, Molly, and I had the opportunity to travel to Canada for two weeks to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary and visit Molly’s grandparents. Our first stop was a few fun-filled days in Calgary with Molly’s maternal grandparents. Our second stop was in Kelowna to visit her paternal grandparents (pictured above). From left to right, there’s Grandpa Houie, Grandma Lynn, my lovely wife Molly, and myself. This picture was taken at Mission Hill, one of over 40 wineries in Kelowna. 

Our entire trip to Canada was amazing from start to finish, but during our time in Kelowna, one striking observation stood out – the residents there appeared to walk considerably more than most Americans – or at least most we know.

When I say we walked everywhere, we walked EVERYWHERE- the farmer’s market, restaurants, Costco, you name it. And if Grandma Lynn needed something from the store when she was preparing dinner, she would send Grandpa Houie on a walk to the store to get it! From the time we woke up until evening tv – Canadian football and hockey – I don’t know if they really ever stopped moving!

Let me provide some numbers for perspective, data shows the average American walks about 4,800 steps per day. Meanwhile, Grandma Lynn is 78 and walks anywhere between 10,000 and 20,000 steps per day. Grandpa Houie is 84 and walks anywhere between 6,000 and 10,000 steps per day (and he golfs with friends 3 days per week). 

Recent studies show that walking at least two two hours per week can help you live longer; however, the CDC reported that more than 1 in 5 adults are inactive in all but four states. Another study found that people who walked more than 4,000 steps a day had better cognitive function. Walking has also been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia

What can you do to take a page from Grandma Lynn and Grandpa Houie’s book and improve your health? You might not have a farmer’s market or Costco located literally right outside your condo, but here are five ways to add more steps into your life:

  1. Walk and talk – Both my brother AND brother-in-law love to talk on the phone, so I usually go for a walk whenever they call. 
  2. Choose the farthest parking spot (at that Costco you can’t walk to)
  3. Walking entertainment – I know friends who watch movies/shows on their phone while walking. 
  4. Schedule your walks – Put it in your calendar if that’s what it takes.
  5. Post meal walks – Do this with your family/significant other and make it quality time after dinner. 

So why am I sharing our trip to Kelowna on our financial blog? One word – longevity. We want all of our clients to live a long healthy life, to be able to enjoy life now and in their golden years, and to live their lives with a purpose. 

Longevity is a crucial factor in the Bartley Financial planning process because it directly impacts how we help our clients manage their money. For example, it’s useful when it comes to helping determine when clients should start claiming Social Security benefits. Waiting to collect Social Security benefits can be a way of protecting against the risk of longevity. We also use it to help clients consider products such as life insurance and long-term care insurance. Another area we use longevity is in determining whether a client should take their pension benefit as a straight life or joint and survivor annuity. These are all areas in which a client’s longevity must be considered. 

As a team, we are committed to helping our clients live long, healthy lives and make informed financial decisions to support that goal. We hope to inspire others to prioritize health and well-being for a fulfilling and purposeful life like Grandma Lynn and Grandpa Houie have done. On a personal note, Molly and I are grateful for the opportunity to continue enjoying time with her grandparents due to their excellent health.

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