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Living a healthy lifestyle can help you save money

Lee Rawiszer Managing Principal Paradigm Financial Partners
Living a healthy lifestyle can help you save money

There are a number of lifestyle changes that can result in better health. For example, by adopting a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, you can lower your blood pressure and possibly even remove medication from your daily regimen. Taking less medication and going to the doctor less often can help you save money.

There seems to be a correlation between maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a healthy portfolio. According to a Rutger’s University study on the financial impact of healthy behaviors, “physical appearance affects a person’s earning ability. There appears to be a (sic) penalty for overweight workers, particularly women, who earn less than their slimmer peers” (Rutger's study: The Financial Impact of Improved Health Behaviors). In addition to lower wages, it is estimated that a minimum of $1,400 – and possibly as much as $2,800 – is added to the annual medical bills of an obese individual (USA Today report on the cost of obesity).

There is an expense to obesity and unhealthy choices like excessive drinking or smoking, whether that expense is diminished earning potential or the added cost of healthcare. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes dedication, as does building and maintaining financial health. To save money and live a healthy lifestyle, you have to have the dedication to achieve both.

Here are some tips to maintaining a healthy financial lifestyle. As the studies indicate, those who maintain their physical health are prone to maintain their financial health as well.


Do

Do keep your information organized

Just like with your financial portfolio, you have to be disciplined with the amount of time, effort, and money invested in your health. Gym memberships, doctor visits and lab work must all be scheduled and paid for. You have to take the time to evaluate and learn what exercises and changes in habits create the greatest health benefit. Organization is a frequently undervalued skill.

Do cut unhealthy habits from your lifestyle

Not only do unhealthy habits such as excessive smoking and drinking deter your health goals, they can also deter your financial goals. A pack of cigarettes or a single drink out at a bar will each set you back anywhere from $6 to $10, and many people consume multiples of these items per week. If you smoke even 4 packs a week at only $6 a pack, you would save $1,248 a year! Saving and investing that money would go a lot further towards meeting your life goals than the smoking or drinking will.

Do develop a “prevention mindset”

Consider the future implications of present day activities. Evaluate each decision you make not just for today’s benefits, but your lifelong benefits. For your health benefit, look at the labels of the food you purchase. For your financial well-being, pay attention to your daily savings and spending and adapt your current habits to benefit your long-term financial health. By preventing future problems you will be more apt to save your pocketbook from unexpected expenses.

Do make goals for yourself

Trying to take on all the necessary changes at once is intimidating. Which health concern is most pressing? Which negative financial habit should be addressed? Giving up the morning latte, for example, will save you calories daily and put up to $5 per day back in your pocket. Over the course of a year, saving $5 each workday will add more than $1,000 annually to your account.

Do enjoy life

No matter how many years you live, life is always too short. Improved physical and financial health is likely to impact your daily satisfaction. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle will set you up for joyful and active days with your grandchildren. And likewise, maintaining your financial health will allow you to spend money on your children and grandchildren as you age without the worry.


Don't

Do not assume that someone else is tracking your health

You alone are responsible for your lifestyle. Like your doctor does for your health, your financial advisor can offer advice for maintaining financial health. It is up to you to implement the suggestions that the professionals in your life provide. If it is in your budget, hiring a financial advisor can help you in the long term with face-to-face financial advice. If it isn’t in your budget, then there are a variety of quality resources online to help you keep track of your financial well-being, give you more ideas for saving money in places you might not have thought of, and save money on things you are going to buy with online coupons, group deals, and simply just shopping around for the best deal.

Do not eat out too often

It is easy to fall into the habit of eating at restaurants often. Dining out may have a negative impact on both your physical and financial health. Preparing food yourself allows you to control the cost as well as the calories and nutrients you take in. Even eating out once a week can cost you anywhere from $10 to $100 depending on if you are eating at a fancy restaurant with your spouse or eating fast food. If you cut eating out to once a month instead of once a week, you can save anywhere from $30 to $300 a month.

Do not become complacent

Implementing and maintaining a healthy financial lifestyle is all about the choices you make. Be consistent in the good choices, realizing that the actions you take today will impact you for a lifetime. Do not become complacent in those daily choices. A healthy financial lifestyle is not something you do only some of the time.

Do not be impacted by high healthcare costs

Smoking, obesity and other unhealthy habits will likely lead to more hospital and doctor visits. Inflated healthcare costs will negatively impact your overall financial situation. Maintain a healthy lifestyle to minimize healthcare costs and create a better financial outlook. Even some big businesses are beginning to offer incentives for employees who quit smoking or don’t smoke at all because they realize that healthcare can cost more for employees who smoke.

Do not pay high life insurance premiums

The rate of your life insurance premium is based, in part, on your overall health. Maintaining a healthy physical lifestyle will lead to cost savings with your insurance. Significant savings can be added to your investment funds to grow over time. Simply not smoking will lower your life insurance premiums due to the expected ongoing health problems and short lifespan than non-smokers.


Summary
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Following these tips will create a balanced health and financial lifestyle. People who strive to remain healthy live longer and have more time to grow their savings and investments through the power of compound interest. Future generations will also fare better if elderly relatives live longer so that the investments continue to grow well past the required rate of return. Find one thing you can improve about your lifestyle, and start setting your first goal, now.


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Disclaimer:
The opinions expressed above are based on my own thoughts, knowledge, and experiences. Please keep in mind that I am not a doctor or other health professional so please consult the appropriate professional before making any changes to your diet, health, or other applicable areas.

Photo Credits: vichie81/bigstock.com; Check Man, Cross Man and Jump Man © ioannis kounadeas - Fotolia.com

Lee RawiszerManaging Principal

As an independent financial advisor, Lee Rawiszer helps high-net-worth professionals, entertainers and business owners understand their current financial situations and define future goals. Lee believes that financial planning is a process that ...

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