Picking a trend early can prove to be very rewarding for investors. Anyone who jumped in early on the baby milk powder express will be sitting on some very nice gains. If you were not lucky enough to catch that train, never fear, there are a number of mega trends in the economy that will continue on long after the latest fad has faded. One “mega” trend is health and aged care.

I doubt it comes as a surprise to many that Australians are living longer, and the longer we live the more we demand from our health services. According to the Federal Government’s 2015 Intergenerational Report, the number of Australians aged 65 and over is projected to rise to over 4 million by 2022 and over 9 million by 2055. Interestingly in the same report, it is estimated an incredible 40,000 people will turn 100 years old by 2055!

Now 40 years may sound a long way off but if you are 25 and starting your own SMSF (Self-Managed Super Fund) the right health care stocks bought today may set you up for a very financially healthy retirement.

Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC)

Ramsay Health Care operates 222 hospitals across five countries; Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Indonesia and Malaysia. Ramsay sits on an estimated forward PE of 33, which indicates the stock is not cheap, but high class companies are seldom cheap. Some analysts have expressed concern over government funding cut backs in France and negotiations with private health funds in Australia. This uncertainty may present a buying opportunity in the not-too-distant future. Definitely one to keep on your watch list.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp Ltd (ASX: FPH)

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp designs, manufactures and markets products and systems for use in respiratory care, acute care and the treatment of obstructive sleep apnoea. Fisher and Paykel’s share price is up an astonishing 53% over the last 12 months as investors have become more aware of this stock and its potential. Similar to Ramsay, it is not cheap sitting on a PE of just under 40, but rightly deserves a position on your watch list for any significant pull back in price.

Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)

Cochlear Limited is perhaps the best known of the three companies. It is a manufacturer and distributor of implantable devices for hearing impaired. Cochlear has operations in over 20 countries distributing its products in America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Africa. Over the last 12 months, Cochlear has rewarded its shareholders by rising over 50%. Sitting on a forward PE of 35, again Cochlear is not cheap under normal valuations. Like the other two, long-term investors should be ready to pounce when the inevitable market correction occurs.

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Motley Fool contributor Alan Edmunds owns shares of Cochlear Ltd., Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Limited, and Ramsay Health Care Limited. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.