How Finances and Health are Related


financesWe hear time after time about how bad the health of the average American is.  I believe the average American is also in poor financial health as well.  Currently, the US is ranked the ninth fattest country in the world.  In addition, the average American has over $132,000 in debt.  Let’s explore the relationship between finances and physical well-being, as our nation’s current situation has many people on the road towards physical detriment and financial disaster.

 

Rich People Workout

You know who exercises everyday for 30 minutes to one hour?  Rich people.  According to Thomas C. Corley, 67% of rich people (those with an annual income of $160,000 and a liquid net worth of $3.2 million) exercise aerobically everyday.  According to this Harvard study, regular exercise increases the brain’s mental sharpness and enhances brain health.

 

I have read for years that America is very overweight compared to other countries.  It really got me thinking though as I was sitting by the pool on my recent Royal Caribbean cruise.   Looking around, there were many people who were drastically overweight.  Many relied on motorized scooters with oxygen tanks and others found themselves short of breath as they trekked around the ship.

 

I believe debt can be just as debilitating and crippling as physical ailments.

 

Small Decisions, Big Impact

financesWeight gain and deep debt typically creep up over time.  I could eat anything that I wanted to in high school and wouldn’t gain a pound.  I was also involved in sports at school and was eating my mom’s home-cooked food.  However, when I got to college, my physical activity decreased while my diet deteriorated.  Let’s just say I wasn’t reaching for an apple at midnight to satisfy my hunger but instead, a juicy piece of pepperoni pizza from Gumby’s Pizza.

 

Making a poor nutrition decision once won’t always have a long term impact.  However, making the same poor nutrition decisions day after day tends to add up.  They call it the “Freshman 15” for a reason.  Like nutrition, finances are the same way.  Most of the time, debt is not accumulated in one fell swoop but slowly over time from a series of poor financial decisions.

 

Knowledge Is Power

financesI’m always interested to know if people took personal finance classes while in college.  From most of my conversations, most have taken none and very few have taken just one course.  In the same way, not many take nutrition classes in college either.  Both personal finance and nutrition are important subject matter for young adults to have some sort of exposure to.  I never took a nutrition class, but I was required to take a Musical Appreciation class to fulfill an area requirement in college.  I would have benefitted much more from a nutrition class since that music class was essentially just selections of my professor’s favorite classical music.

 

financesWhat we should be doing as a society is eating less (and better) and exercising more.  Likewise, in financial terms, we need to be spending less and budgeting more.  No one wants to hear this, but stay with me for a minute.  How often do we hear about the latest diet fad or the latest “get rich quick” scheme?  Inevitably, you will hear anecdotal evidence that it worked for a select group of people, but overall it doesn’t work for the masses.  Remember the Cookie diet or what about the South Beach diet?  Their lifespans were fairly short-lived.  Nothing beats good, old-fashioned hard work and determination.

 

Getting into Shape

financesWhen I was in school, the first day of basketball practice was always the toughest for me.  While I had played sports during the summer and fall, I wasn’t in basketball shape yet.  It took me a good week or two to get back into shape, but then after that maintaining my fitness level for the rest of the season was a breeze.

 

But now that I am older, it takes me much longer to get into shape once I start a new workout regime or sport.  Sitting at a desk for eight hours a day and exercising one hour every other day probably doesn’t help compared to high school, when I worked out two to three hours a day during practice.

 

In many ways, it is the same thing when it comes to getting into financial shape.  It may be pretty painful and tough initially depending on the level of debt.  Patience may also be an order as it may take some time to get into proper financial shape.

 

Staying Fit

financesIn terms of a fit body, I recently read that 80% is from what we eat and the remaining 20% comes from actually exercising.  This means you can’t out exercise a bad diet.  This made me think about finances since you can’t get financially healthy if you spend more than you make.  How often do we read about people with six figure salaries that are up to their eyeballs in debt?  Then we read about a teacher with a meager salary retiring as a millionaire.

 

financesYou know what is proven to work over time.  Discipline, hard work and patience.  These can be applied to physical health and your finances.  If you are disciplined and focused on eating less (spending less) and if you are diligent through hard work in exercising (budgeting), I guarantee you that in time, you will be happy with the results.

 

Do you see a correlation between health and finances?  How long did it take you to get into good financial shape?  Share your story below.

Mustard Seed Money

Welcome to the website. A mustard seed is a very small seed but astonishingly grows very large over time. My hope is that through your financial journey that your small investment in time, money and faith will grow beyond anything that you could ever imagine.

19 Comments

  1. Wow, I wrote about this today and Josh wrote about it recently too!! Seems as if it’s on lots of peoples’ minds. As I head toward 50 next year, both physical and financial health have become a top priority in my life. Many of my family members have type 2 diabetes, heart disease, etc AND financial problems. Don’t want to go there.

  2. Was a varsity swimmer in university so I was always in good shape up until then. Took a year off much activity during my Masters and now trying to loose the weight. It is much harder! I try to workout around 30 minutes everyday now and see results. Eating was the biggest contributor to putting on weight for me. Kept that athlete appetite!
    Stefan – The Millennial Budget recently posted…Cash vs. Credit Card: What Should You Use?My Profile

    • Eating is a huge contributor. I don’t think that people realize that it’s 70% diet and 30% exercise.

      If we think about our bodies like cars. You can’t fuel it with garbage and expect it to run like a sports car.

  3. Love the analogy! So true! I put on quite a bit of weight after my 2nd baby (almost 14 years ago – yikes!). I was able to take it off, but diets didn’t work for me. What did work was a lifestyle change – 14 years later, I have kept the weight off, eat healthy and am more physically fit than ever. It wasn’t easy and it was a gradual process. It’s the same with money – to become financially healthy requires a change in lifestyle. It’s not always easy or quick, but it works.
    Amanda @ centsiblyrich recently posted…Debt Free Story: How one family became debt free living in the most expensive city in the U.S.My Profile

    • YES!!! It can’t be a quick fix. You have to completely revamp your lifestyle in both finances and money to get the long term results we’re looking for. Thanks for sharing!!!

  4. I like that you tied these two topics together. My wife and I were just talking the other day about how get rich quick schemes are the diet pills of the financial world. Neither of these topics get much attention in school, and yet our health and our wealth are two of the biggest factors in our well being and happiness.
    Mr Crazy Kicks recently posted…Screw the Roth, Max Your Pre-Tax!My Profile

    • I wish I took a nutrition class in college instead of intro to music appreciation or whatever other elective courses I took.

      Living off pizza and soda took it’s toll after awhile and I definitely wish I started eating better while in college.

  5. Great post! “you can’t out exercise a bad diet” – that one hit home for me! I really struggle with eating. I do like healthy foods, but I also like big quantities – and a little (or a lot – depending) of not so healthy on the side. There are addictions involved with eating – sugar, salt, fat – and I believe there are addictions involved with shopping – that chemical brain rush. More than willpower is needed to overcome in both cases, but it can be done.
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…Middle-Aged & Too Much Debt? It’s Not Too Late!!My Profile

  6. Love your points MSM. I definitely think there’s a link between health and finances. Rich people understand the power of fitness and how it benefits your health and life. They probably also make a better priority of it. They probably have the money to afford the equipment / gym membership / trainer. Success breeds success 🙂

    Tristan
    Dividends Down Under recently posted…Superannuation Fund Update: JulyMy Profile

    • You are absolutely correct. Rich people get the correlation between success and health.

      I think that’s part of the reason you see so much emphasis on celebrity workouts and their eating habits in the media.

      Everyone wants to emulate success.

  7. Good point! Both require extra time and energy to be put into learning. Unfortunately neither did I learn about finances, nor about nutritions in school, so I had to spend extra time learning and making a plan that could actually work. And yes, you need a lot of discipline and self-control to keep to that plan.

    Moreover, both are areas of our lives that we do not really accept help. Imagine walking up to a friend or relative and telling him that he is obese/broke and he needs to make some changes in his life. I’m not sure he would answer your calls the next day… But it would be so much easier if the basics were taught in schools.
    The Developer recently posted…Thoughts on successMy Profile

    • This is so incredibly true. I wish schools put more emphasis on both of these subjects. I think we’d have a healthier and wealthier society. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!!!

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