A Healthy Lifestyle Leads to Healthy Finances
By Jane Young, CFP, EA
There is a strong correlation between the amount of money people have and their health. People who are proactive about their health tend to be more financially secure. Healthy people tend to be happier and more likely to devote time to their finances. A study conducted by Washington University in St. Louis found that future-minded people who contributed to a retirement plan were more likely to take steps to improve their health. People who have the skills to manage their health generally have the skills to effectively manage their finances. Managing your health and your finances requires planning and dedication.
There is a strong connection between eating well and having good financial habits. If you don’t have the discipline to avoid eating junk food, you are more likely to overspend. Self-control is the key to financial control and a healthy diet. The secret to eating healthy is advance planning. When you are not intentional you are more likely to eat unhealthily and spend more money.
Plan meals ahead and minimize eating in restaurants. Restaurant meals are higher in fat and significantly more expensive. Preparing healthy meals at home with less fat and processed food results in improved cognitive ability, fewer sick days, higher productivity, and lower medical expenses.
Staying in shape and getting plenty of exercise also favorably contributes to your finances by reducing the likelihood of heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, stroke, and other costly ailments. Many serious diseases triggered or exacerbated by poor health are extremely expensive. According to the American Diabetes Association, average medical expenses associated with diabetes are $7,900 per year.
Exercise also leads to a positive attitude, increased energy, improved cognitive ability, and better decision-making skills. This improves confidence, productivity and relationships at work resulting in more opportunities and increased earning potential. The benefits of exercise also contribute to smarter financial decisions.
You should exercise for at least 30 minutes per day or two and a half hours per week to get the full health benefits. This can be as simple as walking, biking, or doing strength exercises with your own body weight. It is not necessary to invest in an expense gym membership.
Good health is also dependent on getting enough sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, we need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. If you get enough sleep, you have more energy and can make smarter, well-thought-out decisions. Adequate sleep also makes you happier, more productive, and pleasant to be around. Getting enough sleep requires planning, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you probably need to change your priorities.When you are healthy, eating right and properly rested you are more focused and have greater motivation and capability to effectively plan and organize your life. You must plan to achieve a healthy life and a secure financial future.