By Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, The Money Coach®
We’ve all heard the saying: “health is wealth.”
Though it sounds obvious, the truth is that Americans are more stressed out than ever, with 3 in 4 individuals reporting a stress-related incident according to a poll conducted by the American Psychological Association. And with this increased stress comes a variety of problems that chip away at our mental and physical well-being. But it’s also worth noting that maintaining your physical and mental wellbeing plays a big role in your finances.
Let’s look at some ways to improve your health so that you can save money and build wealth.
Health is Wealth Reason #1: Exercise saves you money
The best way to take care of your body is to exercise. The benefits of regular exercise are numerous, like lifting your mood, heightening your energy levels, improved sleep and a better quality of life in your later years. When you’re handling a crucial financial decision, you want to be at your best and not suffering from what’s called “decision fatigue”, where low energy levels leads to poor decision-making or diminished productivity.
But the good news is that exercise helps ward off countless health issues, which can become costly when you figure in medication, treatments, and diseases that require doctor’s visits and/or hospitalization. According to the Mayo Clinic, people only need 30 minutes of activity a day (or 150 minutes a week) in order to maintain their health. Now, this doesn’t have to be a full-on workout—even taking a brisk walk counts towards this number. This can mean that you take a walk on a lunch break, a nice morning jog on your way to picking up a cup of coffee, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or any other activity that gets the blood flowing. While many people may say that they have no time, the truth is that you can break up this activity during the course of your day. Who doesn’t have 15 minutes to spare between errands? Or for those who pay to have their lawn cut, why not do it yourself for the exercise and the cost savings?
Health is Wealth Reason #2: Spending less on clothes
When your body is overworked, it usually results in an expanded waistline or wasting away due to coping with stress. Either way, weight fluctuations can hit not only your waistline, but also your bottom line (your bank account, that is). Purchasing new clothing can be a regular occurrence when your weight is constantly in flux. Americans typically spend about $1,800 on clothing a year, as well as $7,200 on food. By eating less, and eating healthy foods in their proper portion, you can save money on having to constantly shop for new sizes when your weight is in flux.
Health is Wealth Reason #3: Drink more water
If you’re looking to cut calories and risks to your health, reducing your intake of calorie-heavy drinks like soda, sugary juices, and beer is the way to go to be at your best health. The average American consumes nearly 400 calories on soft drinks, which leads to expensive diseases like diabetes. And it should be noted that if you do develop diabetes, the average yearly treatment for diabetes costs a staggering $16,752 in medical expenses, according to Diabetes.org. Substituting those drinks with water—anywhere from 6 to 8 glasses a day—can lead to substantial savings. With water being basically free and the costs of bottled water substantially less than sugary drinks by the same volume, incorporating more water in your family’s diet saves money and on long-term health costs.
Health is Wealth Reason #4: Reducing your vices
Everyone has some sort of vice or guilty pleasure. However, some vices — like smoking, excessive drinking, and junk food—directly impact your wallet and health. So, kicking bad habits eliminates hefty expenses that can be better spent elsewhere. For instance, if you’re a pack-a-day smoker, you can expect to spend nearly $9,000 a year. Kicking the habit could funnel this money towards opening up a savings account, paying off debt, or investing your money. And if this isn’t enough to convince you, consider the long-term medical expenses that result from bad habits like this, including heart disease, lung cancer, and so forth.
Health is Wealth Reason #5: Your health impacts your insurance premiums
As you may know, insurers are keenly aware of the link between health and wealth. That’s why they hedge their bets and generally impose higher premiums on unhealthy individuals and those with health risks or certain health conditions. For example, life insurers typically have strict weight guidelines based on your height, so even a few pounds can cost you more money—sometimes up to 25% more just for a few pounds. Get to a healthy weight and you’ll save dollars for your future, and enjoy that future more too.
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Extra Credit provides general information to help improve our Member’s financial lives. Every situation is different, so please contact us for guidance on your specific needs. The advice provided in Extra Credit is not intended to serve as a substitute for speaking to a loan representative, financial advisor, or BALANCE counselor who can help tailor a solution for you.
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