Have you ever considered how similar health and wealth issues are?
Health and wealth are alike in countless ways – from the methods used to achieve and maintain them, to the direct impact they have on each other. Numerous global studies show that money in general is people’s greatest source of stress. I can’t imagine many of you are surprised by this fact. Financial stress leads to many of today’s most common health issues including headaches, back pain, muscle tension, depression, anxiety, ulcers, and heart problems. Highly debt-stressed people are much more likely to suffer from these ailments, in addition to many other serious medical issues.
It is clear that not only does financial mismanagement damage your credit rating, it can also seriously damage your health.
Health and wealth issues are irreversibly intertwined, with unhealthy lifestyles leading to a waste of funds, and financial shortages causing unhealthy habits. Among the negative ways that people cope with financial stress are alcohol consumption, smoking, gambling and compulsive spending. All of which only exacerbate their financial problems as much-needed money is wasted to fund their habit. And unhealthy individuals, suffering from conditions that were aggravated by stress, have the added costs of medication, treatments and sometimes higher health and life insurance premiums caused by their medical conditions. Monies spent on bad habits could have been invested, increased in value over the long-term, and been of benefit and enjoyment to the investor.
Both health and money problems usually start small but can mushroom if neglected. No-one likes to change – neither their diet nor financial lifestyle. However, those who practice physically and financially healthy lifestyles decrease both their risk of dying prematurely and of depleting their finances.
Before you get too despondent about the negative aspects of the inter-dependent relationship between health and wealth, let’s take a look at some easy steps which I hope will give you a fresh perspective towards improving both your financial and physical health.
- Set yourself realistic goals – for physical exercise and also for your financial future. As with so many other areas of your life, you need to understand where you want to be in order to get there. Are you training for a 10km race or just toning up? Are you saving for retirement or trying to make ends meet every month?
- Build your personalized plan – both your physical fitness and your financial program need to be tailored to your specific needs. One person might be focusing on building up an emergency cash reserve while the second is focusing on putting together an estate plan.
- Ensure a balanced workout – when exercising you need to use a variety of muscle groups and both cardio and strength-building activities. When organizing your finances ensure that all areas of your financial life are being addressed including among others, monthly spending, insurance needs, investment savings and retirement planning.
- Check your insurance – every registered gym should have insurance. Make sure that your financial plan evaluates your insurance coverage to ensure it is relevant, appropriate and affordable (see last month’s Connection’s article for more details).
- Monitor your progress regularly – by weighing-in on the scale or charting your exercise time to see how you are becoming stronger. By tracking your assets on a yearly basis and reviewing your financial plan, through which you’ll be able to see whether you’re on target to reach your goals or whether you need to make significant changes to get back on track.
- Get a coach – even the fittest person often will need the help of a professional with their training. Financial planning and investment management can be a complex process which also benefits from a qualified financial professional’s guidance. In today’s financially complex world, advice from professionals who follow the latest events can often maximize your plan’s performance.
- Educate yourself – learn how to be healthy by reading, researching and talking to medical practitioners or people who have overcome medical issues. Take the time to educate yourself financially about all the different elements of your finances, to determine where you might need to make changes.
You’re never going to find the ‘perfect’ time to begin your new lifestyle, so just take that first step and start now! Procrastination, whether relating to your health or your wealth, can have real negative ramifications. Doing nothing or putting things on hold might seem like the easy way out, but in the end, negative effects (like weight gain or interest charges) creep up on you and slowly impact your life. Make the similarities of your personalized health and wealth programs work for you as you enjoy the many benefits of your new healthy and financially strong lifestyle.