Guest Blogpost by Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani
Health and Financial Fitness
We probably hate to admit it, but the truth is that your finances have a lot to do with your health. Or is it that your health has a lot to do with your finances? I’m not sure which way it goes, what I do know is that we need to invest and educate ourselves about both. Both are part of the 8 dimensions of wellness. That’s why Jeni Houser and the Center for Economic Education have teamed up to merge these two important parts of your life.
Like the average American, you probably think about your finances and your fitness often. According to a TD bank survey, 80 percent of people made a health related resolution, and 69% made a financial resolution.
The challenge with any resolutions is maintaining progress and following through. There are many reasons why making life changes can be difficult to maintain. We believe that there are common elements that you can learn to help you manage both, your finances and your health. What we can learn is actually something Behavioral Economists have told us.
1. Be informed- Decision making in personal finance and in health relies on you knowing the basics. Whether it’s how to work out best, or how to save your extra dollars. You can’t get ahead without knowing your road map.
2. Think small- Economics teaches us about marginal change. Incremental change is the way to success. We often want to get rich quick, or transform our body in 21 days. While there are ways to reach those goals, the reality is most are unrealistic or unsustainable. Start saving, even if it’s a couple of dollars at a time. Start working out, even If it’s a couple of minutes a day. Get moving, get to saving.
3. Form a habit- Success in finance and health requires you to be consistent. Starting early and investing in yourself often helps you reach your goal. Saving $50 a month at 20 years old will yield $75,000 by the time you are 50. If you start at 40, you will have to save almost triple the amount to reach 75K by your 50th birthday.
4. Have a plan- work with a professional and seek advice. Finances and health are complex and can be made easier with knowledgeable resources. Most people try to avoid this expense; in reality it can help you reach your goals in the long run. My physical fitness has improved drastically since hiring a coach. My financial wellbeing benefits from seeking advice on how to best allocate my investments. In the long run it is worth the expense.
5. Celebrate- Budgeting and being constrained can be stressful in their own way. Its hard to give up consuming today for hopes of a better future. In economics this concept has to do with your time preferences. To help keep you on track, its important to create small rewards along the way.
Personal finance and health wellness have a lot of similarities. The skills you learn in one arena help you in the other. While it’s hard to tell which way the causation works, we know that the benefits of investing in your finances and in your health are correlated.
Want to learn more? Reach out to NKUCEE. We are working on programs to help you reach your goals. Stay tuned for announcements of future programs.
"Make a change to grow your change"