Thursday, July 26, 2018

On Metformin and CPF Life

The price of thought leadership is that sometimes your ideas may sound batshit crazy. I suggest that you take this article with a pinch of salt and consult an medical expert before executing it.

Metformin is a drug that diabetics often have to take for life. This drug is really cheap. I've been taking 850mg of Metformin twice a day for over a decade and did not face any side effects since I started. Tim Ferriss earlier on the 4 Hour Body first proposed that Metformin has the power to lengthen a healthy person's life but of recent times, serious research has gone into the drug and some diabetics on the medication have been discovered to outlive a control sample of healthy non-diabetic subjects. So much so that that in the book The Truth about your Future by Ric Edelman has a small section devoted to the possibility of living much longer thanks to this medication. If you surf the web, you can find some research papers on some anti-cancer properties of this drug as well.

(Metformin already works in lengthening the life of lab rats.)

I have no direct evidence that Metformin can lengthen a healthy person's life, but I can imagine healthy folks requesting to be given this drug from a doctor to increase the duration of their time in earth. The cost is ridiculously low at about $0.15 a day. 

If taking a drug can add 5-10 years to a person's life if he starts taking it early, there are interesting consequences to a person's personal finance.

Obviously, this person can have a longer time horizon and can even hold more equities in their portfolio even in his 40s or 50s. Consequently, bonds would be less useful.

A person applying leverage with the intention of attaining financial independence earlier can withstand a  nasty margin call because he has the years to start again and attempt the process more than once within a lifetime. This assumes that life extension from the drug results in more healthier years.

But the most interesting application for Singaporeans comes in the form of annuities. The simplest way to get annuities is to simply enroll in the right CPF Life program and given that actuarial scientists are not going to have a separate mortality table for folks experimenting with Metformin, the possibility of gaming the CPF Life system with Metformin is an interesting possibility as delicious as card counting on a blackjack table.

If you believe that you have a greater chance of living longer, the obvious strategy would be to enroll in the Escalating Plan under the CPF Life scheme that gives a lower payout at first but increases it at 2% every year.

There are some reasons not to do this yet. We do not know how much a human's life can actually be lengthened. Also, we're not even sure if those years would be the good healthy ones instead of being bed-ridden. What's the point of extending your life if those years would be spent without mental capacity or stuck in a hospital bed.

As for me, I don't have a choice.

I am currently on Metformin, Acarbose and Jardiance. All these drugs have the ability to extend a person's life but my Type 2 Diabetes would set my lifespan back by 15 years.


  1. Hi Chris,

    You may want to consider taking life easy a bit. Slow down your pace and enjoy life in a relaxing way.


  2. With the right amount of control and autonomy, I believe that busyness and bliss are not mutually exclusive.

  3. Long-term use of metformin can lead to vit B12 deficiency -- eat more meat & dairy products.

    Such drugs also put more strain on liver & kidney so may need to have regular blood & urine tests.

  4. metformin has side effects, like diarhoea which affects 50% of users and also creates some amt of discomfort. anyway i find it too strong for me and use other combination of drugs. Like you, I am also diabetic

  5. Thanks for sharing Unknown. I don't need much motivation to eat more meat actually. So I guess those who want to play with Metformin will need to regularly check their liver and kidneys.

    Victor, thanks for sharing.

  6. I'm on 850 also. Don't stop. I accidentally skipped the med for 10 days. When you start again expect to have very bad runs for 2 to 3 days

  7. I never skip my Metformin since I was asked to take it. Wouldn't your mouth go dry if you skip it too long ?

  8. Hi Chris, pardon me but I thought that with diabetes properly controlled, lifespan would be the same as a non-diabetic? Why reduced by 15 years?

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