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The Deadliest Catch: Should You Mortgage Your Health For Wealth?

February 10th, 2010

A Fisherman Has Passed, A Legend Is Born

Last week, confirmed reports began to surface that Phil Harris, Captain of the boat Cornelia Marie on the Discovery Channel’s reality show “The Deadliest Catch”, had passed away as a result of complications resulting from a stroke he suffered while crab fishing in the Bering Sea. Here’s a quick video on Capt. Phil and his love of fishing:

Health vs. Wealth

If you’ve seen The Deadliest Catch, you know the captains and their crews not only have a crazy-dangerous job, but also live a hard life. Capt. Phil was a notorious smoker. The only time he appeared to take his cigarette out of his mouth was to either light up another one, or down a Red Bull energy drink, which he purportedly consumed several cases each week!

Capt. Phil obviously loved fishing, and would probably have done it for free. But there’s no doubt that fishing earned him a decent living. Unfortunately, to earn that living required that he be gone from his family for months at a time, chain smoke, eat unhealthy, drink Red Bulls incessantly, be sedentary, and have horrible sleeping patterns.

Living, or Making a Living?

As a lawyer, I’ve seen countless times where work has come at great cost to a person’s health, both physically and mentally. The same, however, can be said for nearly every profession. Special care needs to be taken to ensure a proper balance is cast between work and health. But understandably, we will often mortgage short-term health for monetary gain. Maybe you take a second job to earn extra money to pay off some debt, like Jeff Kosola, who blogs at Deliver Away Debt.

4 Tips on Mortgaging Health for Wealth

  1. Set A Goal — If you must sacrifice your physical or mental health for career or money reasons, make sure you have specific, defined reasons for doing so. You want a second job to pay off debt. You will work an extra shift because you’re saving for a car. You’re putting in extra hours now so you will be in a better career position once your children are born (a little more general, and perhaps not a great reason unless a definite career plan is defined).
  2. Spouse Must Be On Board! — It’s hard enough as it is to get on the same page with your spouse financially. Don’t mess that up by making unilateral decisions that deprive you of family time. Both should be in agreement of the specific plan to sacrifice short-term health.
  3. Be Reasonable; Reassess — Be reasonable with your lofty plans. You want to work 100 hrs/week and working 3 extra jobs? Great! Just don’t realistically expect to keep that up for 5 years. The more hours you plan on being away from quality time with your family each week, the shorter your “Health Mortgage Term” should be. You should also reassess every so often to make sure the plan is still on-track, and if you still have one (LOL) that your spouse is still in agreement with the “Health Mortgage Term”.
  4. Refinance — If for any reason the above 3 reasons begin to crumble, it may be time to refinance that “Health Mortgage”. Perhaps shorten the term, or reduce the number of extra hours worked each week. Hopefully the closing costs aren’t too high!

What About You?

Have you, or are you considering, a “Health Mortgage”? What do you think about a “Health Mortgage”?? I’d love to hear your experience or theories in the comments below.


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