What Shane Warne can teach us about risk

The recent passing of cricket legend Shane Warne reminds us all too vividly of our own mortality. One positive outcome may be that we become collectively more aware to look for what we can do to reduce the risks and the potential impact of such an event in our lives.

Whilst the average life expectancy in Australia is currently 82.8 years, up from 70.6 years in 1960[1], around 1 in 3 Australians die under the age of 75[2]. Males are more likely than females to experience premature death. In 2019, there were 28,000 potentially avoidable deaths: half (48%) of all deaths for people aged less than 75. Of these deaths, 64% were male and 36% were female[3].

One in three Australians personally know someone who has had a heart attack. In Australia, every nine minutes, one person is hospitalised due to a heart attack[4]. While men are at higher risk of heart attack, women are more likely to die of a repeat heart attack than men. Our health risks are wider than that. It’s estimated that over 400 Australians are diagnosed with cancer each day[5], with around two in five cases attributable to personal and behavioural risk factors such as smoking or being overweight[6].

Whilst it’s easy to wallow in numbers, we are all aware of risk; after all, we are 100% mortal. Life is full of risks. It’s how you chose to act and respond that can make the difference. You can reduce the impact of risk in your life by planning for the worst and living for the best.

Reducing health risks

You can help reduce your heart attack risk by getting on top of your heart health[7] and speaking to your doctor about having an annual heart health check. Making positive lifestyle changes can also decrease your risk factors. Even small changes can have a positive impact. These can include maintaining a healthy weight through a heart-healthy diet and lowering alcohol intakeexercising regularly, quitting smoking, and taking steps to manage blood pressure levels as well as to lower cholesterol levels. Speak to your doctor about what changes you can make.

Are you sufficiently insured?

Another important step you can take is to ensure you have sufficient insurance in place, should life take an unexpected turn. This can include things such as health insurance, travel insurance, and most importantly income and life protection. Having these in place will help reduce the potential impact of these life events.

Reducing estate risks

NSW Trustee & Guardian estimated that around 45% of Australians do not have a valid will[8]. This in effect means that the government gets to choose how your assets are distributed. This in effect means that the government gets to choose how your assets are distributed. The percentages are similar across Australia. You can ensure this doesn’t happen to you by having a valid will and estate plan in place, which is regularly reviewed to keep pace with any significant changes in your life, such as buying a house, getting married, having children or grandchildren, or getting divorced.

No matter what curve balls life may spin us, proactively managing risk in your life can better enable you to live each day to the fullest with confidence.

[1] https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/AUS/australia/life-expectancy

[2] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/life-expectancy-death/deaths-in-australia/contents/age-at-death

[3] https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/people/population/life-tables/latest-release

[4] https://www.hri.org.au/health/learn/cardiovascular-disease/heart-attack-causes-and-warning-signs

[5] https://www.canceraustralia.gov.au/impacted-cancer/what-cancer/cancer-australia-statistics

[6] https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/cancer/cancer-in-australia-2021/summary

[7] https://www.hri.org.au/health/learn/cardiovascular-disease/heart-attack-causes-and-warning-signs

[8] https://www.tag.nsw.gov.au/

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