As we come to the close of 2012 and begin a new year, this is a great time to start looking at ways to improve your health and wealth in 2013. Most people think of health and wealth as “separate “ goals, but in fact, both aspects of life are closely related. Here are a few steps to consider:
Build “Health Capital”
Health is a financial asset, just like stocks and bonds. It decreases the odds of costly medical bills today and/or later in life. Eat nutritious meals, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and manage stress. Without good health, you can’t earn an income and build wealth.
Don’t Burn Your Money
Quit smoking or don’t start. An average pack of cigarettes costs $5. Multiply $5 by 365 days and you could save $1,825 a year, plus interest (not to mention all the positive health effects!). Invest $1,825 in a fund averaging 7% interest and you’ll have $9,904 in 25 years.
Junk the “Junk Food”
Just cut it out: soda, fast food, fatty pastries, chips…you know the drill. Not only will you lose weight (trimming 100 calories a day = 10 pounds of annual weight loss), but you’ll pocket the savings. Save $7 a day on “empty calorie” foods and drinks and you’ll have over $2,500 in a year.
Half-Size Food Portions
Instead of eating 4 cookies a day, eat two. Bring half a meal home from restaurants and eat less at home. Getting two meals from one can save hundreds of dollars (and thousands of calories) annually. For example, saving $3 a day by “doubling up” results in savings of over $1,000 a year.
Stay Fit to Work
Maintaining good health increases the odds of being productive and working as long as you want to instead of retiring because you have to (e.g., disability). This can translate into thousands of dollars at retirement. One study compared retiring at age 60 due to poor health with working (and saving) until 65. The difference: $14,300 in annual income from increased savings and delayed cash withdrawals.
Sweat the Small Stuff
“Little” things matter! Healthy habits that save big bucks over time include washing your hands frequently (especially before handling food) to avoid the expense of flu and cold treatments and flossing your teeth to help prevent periodontal disease.
Studies have shown that the personality trait of optimism is positively associated with health and wealth. When people expect good things to happen, they work toward their goals by taking action. Examples include exercising regularly and saving money. What we think about, we often bring about and positive thoughts can lead to positive results.
Reviewed by: Kelly Gonyer, Office Associate, Family and Consumer Sciences, OSU Extension Wood County.