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Pop quiz. What is one thing that you can do today to make a major change in your wealth? Invest in stocks? Put money in savings? Get a second job? While those things can help you immensely, you might actually be surprised by the answer that we’re going for here. If you guessed, improve your health, you’re right on the mark.
According to an article on the Forbes, website, those who have the skills to take care of their money very often also possess the skills to take care of their health. The correlation is simple – the healthier your body, the healthier your decisions.
For example, mental clarity improves when you get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet. A lack of sleep has been associated with a decreased ability to focus. When it comes to making solid decisions, the ability to focus can make all the difference between a decision made in haste and a decision that’s carefully reasoned out.
While it isn’t always possible to make every decision deliberately, depending on how busy you are, you have a better chance of making more focused decisions if you’re not also fighting fatigue.
Being Healthy Saves Money in the Long Run
An unhealthy lifestyle can erode your health over the long haul. However, many people begrudge the money they spend on gym memberships or on healthy food. In the short-term, it’s easier to focus on the $25 a month you might spend on your health club or the $100 a week you could spend on organic food rather than on the tens of thousands of dollars you would spend to correct health issues like heart disease or diabetes.
Here’s an example. The cost of a procedure like open heart surgery costs $324,000. But medical procedures like open-heart surgery cost more than just the initial outlay of money for the surgery.
According to Medical News Today, the initial recovery for heart surgery can be four to six weeks, while true recovery may take months. It’s not uncommon to feel very tired after surgery and for it to take the patient a great deal of time to work into pre-surgery activity levels. This can impact your work life significantly because instead of being at work and advancing your career, you will be at home recovering from a serious illness.
What Can You Do to Change It?
Certain lifestyle choices like undertaking an exercise program and adopting a plant-based diet have been shown to slow down and in some cases, reverse, conditions like heart disease.
This counts as just one example of the way that your health affects your income. Any serious illness that you can correct with lifestyle will save you a significant amount of money in the long run.
An Additional Effect of Poor Health
The other thing that can happen to your finances when you have a major health issue is that it can destroy your credit. Enormous medical bills count among the chief reasons why people file bankruptcy in the U.S.
According to a Harvard study, sixty-two percent of people who file for personal bankruptcy do so because of overwhelming medical expenses. And it is a myth that the people who apply for bankruptcy, for this reason, do so because they hold no insurance. Many of them have some insurance. However, the amount of insurance that they do have will not cover the expense that comes from a catastrophic illness or a serious injury.
Unfortunately, it’s more than just a person’s credit score that takes a significant hit from a bankruptcy of this magnitude. Often, the people who must make this decision also drain their kids’ college funds, empty out their IRAs, and use up any emergency funds that they have before they ever file for bankruptcy.
Barring an unexpected injury, some of the issues caused by a medical bankruptcy can be mitigated by undertaking the right lifestyle choices. This really counts as a big argument for adopting a lifestyle that supports your health in the long run.
You Lengthen Your Work Life
Finally, some people love the satisfaction that comes from working. If you count yourself among them, then that is another argument for maintaining your good health throughout your work life.
A longer work life helps a person build his/ her nest egg. Once upon a time, people worked for a company for a lifetime and after that stint was done had a retirement to look forward to.
Sadly, this isn’t the case anymore. Many people must continue to work after they turn 65. Having good health allows you to do that. This can replace the income you might make through a lost 401K program.
While working past the age of retirement may not appeal to you, having good health at least gives you the option of continuing to work if you want or need to. If you don’t have work once you reach the age of 65, you still have the good health you need to enjoy the later years of your life.
Although many people do not make the connection between having good health and having a healthy bank account, a correlation definitely exists. Not only does a healthy lifestyle promote mental and physical clarity, it gives you the stamina you need to work the hours required for your job. (And more hours past the age of retirement if that’s what you want to do.)
Additionally, poor health can significantly impact your work life if you experience a catastrophic illness like a heart attack or complications from diseases like diabetes. These types of illnesses rob you of the vitality you need to advance your work life.
But that’s not all. The cost of treating these diseases can sometimes be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Open-heart surgery, for example, can not only potentially cost you $300 grand, but it puts you at risk for filing bankruptcy if your medical costs get too great.
A huge medical expense like this also wipes out savings accounts and retirement funds, which means that your ability to enjoy your golden years is significantly impacted in a negative way.