Very often, physical health, mental health and financial health are strongly connected. Some links are obvious. For example, the healthier you are, the lower your annual expenses for prescription drugs, specialist visits, tests, and treatments. But that’s far from the whole story. Healthy habits can also boost energy, reduce stress, make you more productive at work, and bring a host of other benefits that can lead to improved financial wellness. Of course, many people suffer from serious ailments through no fault of their own. But it’s also true that certain lifestyle changes can reduce medical risks – and help you keep (or save, or invest) more of what you earn.
Cook healthy meals at home. Eating healthier can give you a greater sense of control and well-being, which in turn can enhance many aspects of your work and personal life. Compared to eating out, cooking at home will also save you money – and give you more power over what you consume. Those restaurant meals that taste so good are often loaded with salt, butter, trans fats, sugar, and other ingredients that can lead to obesity and other chronic medical issues. Keep in mind: while takeout costs less than dining in restaurants, it’s no bargain either. An analysis published by Forbes in 2018 found that, on average, ordering takeout costs almost five times more than cooking from scratch. Not sure how much you’re spending on takeout and restaurants every month? Try tracking and organizing your transactions with a digital banking tool like Tally, by Taylor Bank.
Get more sleep and exercise. Exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can greatly improve sleep quality and duration. Taken together, these can enhance your cognitive function, work performance and overall health. Any form of exercise that makes you sit less and move more will have a positive impact. It doesn’t need to cost you any more than a decent pair of walking shoes. And if you bike or walk short distances instead of driving, you get the extra reward of saving money on gas. Given the high prices at the pumps these days, that’s a nice bonus!
Quit Smoking. Smoking contributes to a long list of severe medical problems, from cancer and diabetes to COPD and heart disease. The financial costs are also huge, and while it may seem like a no-brainer, it helps to see the real costs laid out. For example, in most states now, a pack-a-day habit can cost well over $2,000 per year. And smokers typically pay more for health, life, and property insurance. Over time, this all adds up to serious money. How much? WalletHub conducted a study to determine the total lifetime cost of smoking one pack a day from age 21 until age 69 (the average age at which a smoker dies). It incorporates all the costs of smoking – out-of-pocket costs, health care costs, income loss, and more. It also includes “financial opportunity costs” – what you might have earned if you had invested this money instead. The results for our area are eye-popping, to say the least.
Total costs of smoking one pack a day from ages 21-69
- Virginia $2,113,291
- Delaware $2,256,366
- Maryland $2,947,793
Instead of buying that pack of cigarettes, try putting the money you would’ve spent into a savings account – you may be surprised how much more expendable income you have at the end of a year!
Drink more water. Water offers many important health benefits – from helping you maintain a normal body temperature, to lubricating and cushioning joints, and protecting your spinal cord. But a Cornell Medical Center study suggests that up to 75% of Americans may be chronically dehydrated. In addition to the obvious headaches and fatigue, dehydration can impact your mood, productivity, metabolism, and cause a number of severe medical problems, especially when combined with caffeine or alcohol consumption. Unlike other drink options, water has no calories, caffeine, sugar, carbs, or preservatives … and if you get it from the tap, it costs almost nothing. When you add up the costs of sugary drinks and coffee-to-go, staying hydrated with water can definitely put some extra cash in your pocket week after week.
Take care of your mental health. This can also have a big impact on your finances. According to studies cited in an article published on Inc.com, “individuals with depression and anxiety were three times more likely to be in debt … even a slight decline in mental health can be linked to increased financial stress.” These struggles can lead to declines in energy levels, decision-making ability, clarity of thought, and other issues that can impair performance on the job and at home. You can help support your mental health with exercise, nutrition, social activities, and more. But if you feel things slipping out of control, don’t hesitate to seek help.
We know a lot of this is easier said than done. But take a moment to ask: How could the savings produced by these lifestyle changes improve your day-to-day finances? How much better might life be if you got more sleep, had more energy at work, and felt stronger mentally and physically? How might those improvements translate into greater earnings and long-term financial security? They say money can’t buy good health, and that’s certainly true. But good health can absolutely save you money – which can then be invested for retirement, put toward household expenses, or used for many other important purposes. Fact is, our health and wealth are often linked in a very direct way. We at Taylor Bank wish you the best of both!