Many people think of their physical health and their financial security in terms of two separate goals, but the truth is they are very much linked. In fact, a recent study published by the Association for Psychological Science showed that whether or not an individual contributes to a 401(k) plan is a good predictor of their overall health. Those who contribute to a retirement fund are far more likely to take positive steps toward health and wellness than those who do not.
Here are just a few reasons why practicing good habits can pay off in terms of both your health and your retirement fund.
Most of us know that there are things we can do to promote our own health and wellness, regardless of our genes, but data from the Harvard School of Public Health shows just how much of a difference our habits can make.
Researchers studied these five habits: eating well, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy body weight, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation. Their results showed that women who adopted at least four of these habits before age 50 could expect to live a full 34 more years free from diabetes, heart disease, and cancer than women who adopted less than four. Likewise, men who adopted at least four of the studied healthy habits experienced 31 more years without these diseases. Overall, both men and women who chose to practice healthy habits lived about 24 years longer than those who did not prioritize their health.
If you’d like to develop a new healthy habit – or eliminate a bad one – be patient with yourself. Set manageable goals and celebrate your small wins, as each one will bring you closer to a healthier you.
When you think about financial planning, do you focus on saving and investing? Keep in mind that your ability to do either is predicated upon smart spending habits. Take a look at the list below and tally up how many of the steps you’re already taking:
- Do you… spend less than you earn?
- Do you… set a monthly budget and stick to it?
- Do you… “pay yourself first” by making automatic monthly contributions to savings and retirement accounts?
- Do you… pay down credit card debt every month?
- Do you… maintain an emergency savings account?
Take stock of your results – how did you score? Are there areas for improvement? Even small steps, like finally canceling that golf club membership you rarely use, can make a big difference in helping you reach your goals.
Once you retire, it’s common to begin thinking more about the relationship between your physical health and your finances. After all, you’ll no longer have the safety of a monthly paycheck or an employer-subsidized health plan, and the average retiree can expect to spend about $285,000 on health needs. Medicare will likely cover some costs, but you can expect to pay out of pocket, too.
The best way to keep your health costs low is to develop healthy habits now. The five habits mentioned above are linked not only to better health but to significant savings in health costs, too. By taking control of these five facets of your health, you can protect more of your nest egg in retirement.
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In addition to feeling more financially secure, good health means you can take full advantage of all your hard work and enjoy the retirement lifestyle you’ve always dreamed of. Decades spent eating poorly and failing to exercise could mean you never get a chance to take that Alaskan cruise with your spouse or cheer your granddaughter on at her soccer games. Putting good habits into practice now, though, means allowing yourself the opportunity to live more, to live better and to truly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
With such an inextricable link between health and finances, it’s clear that developing good habits in one area will positively influence the other, as well. Take stock of your current health and financial status and make changes to move you toward your goals.
If you would like help with your personal retirement planning, please reach out to Accruent Wealth Advisors for a complimentary consultation. Please call (336) 760-4829 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can click here to schedule your consultation today.