Health and Wealth: Managing a Troubled Relationship

There are two general factors that play into just about every aspect of life. The first is your money situation, and the second is your health. With plenty of research showing that health and wealth might be so related that they can be used to profile health risks depending on socioeconomic class, it’s worth taking a closer look at what those links might be. We’ll look at how improving your health could improve your financial situation and vice-versa. We’ll also look at how the relationship between both aspects of your life isn’t always pleasant, and how to avoid getting caught in the middle.



Budgeting better living

One of the big problems with health for those with lower budgets is that they don’t have the “healthy option” readily available because that option often costs more money. That’s not a negligible concern, but if you’re willing to put in the work then there are ways around it. For instance, healthy eating might seem unrealistic to many because whole foods cost more than processed foods. However, by spending real time with meal-planning, you can save a lot of money and eat better all at once. Just as investing a little money in home gym equipment can be significantly cheaper than paying for a gym membership all year.


How health can lead to wealth

By taking better control of your finances, you can more readily access the healthy options out there. However, as, the relationship works the other way around, too. People who eat more healthily tend to be more readily available to make money. The absence of sick days is an obvious one. But a nutritious, balanced diet also provides you with a lot more energy, making people not only more productive but less stressful and thus more motivated at the workplace as well. There is also the fact that good eating habits, amongst other signifiers of general well being, can earn you rewards from your employer and health insurance provider. The data suggests that healthier people seem to make more, in general.


It’s all in your mind

Sometimes, your money situation can have a very direct influence on your health, as well. Beyond lack of treatment, there’s one health condition that can be directly caused by financial trouble. We are talking, of course, about money stress. Stress is a serious issue in today’s workforce, being a primary contributor to things like lower-back pain which are the most common cause of disability benefit claims and a growing problem in work environments of all kinds. Stress also leads to problems sleeping, poor decision making, and other factors that will not only impact how well you can work and earn but the choices you make with your money, as well.



The big insurance question

Naturally, we have to talk about the very real cost of health. If you don’t make as much as your neighbor, you don’t have access to the same levels of treatment as them. In big part, your costs are determined by your insurance provider. However, getting better insurance isn’t just down to how much you’re willing to spend on insurance. As shows, you can look at different plans that might offer better price for the same coverage, such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program. It’s also worth being more selective with your needs. You might not be able to afford an insurance broker to help you get a more in-depth understanding of the agreement. However, you can take the time to look through your coverage and make a proper assessment of how likely you are to need certain covers, and whether or not you should pay for them or switch to a plan that doesn’t include them.



How much we spend on taking care of ourselves

Beyond paying less for insurance, there are a lot of little ways we can reduce the costs of our healthcare, as well. For instance, consider the medicine you’re buying. While you should always work with the approval of your doctor, you can save a lot of money using generic drug treatments instead of the much more expensive branded kinds. You can get treatment from outpatient surgery centers instead of at hospitals, which often use the same doctors but cost the patient a lot less. There are also laws which can see your insurer providing certain preventative care treatments without copays or deductibles, too, so make sure they’re picking up the tab when they should be.


Protecting your money from your health

Your health can also seriously jeopardize your means of making money. Hospital bills are a leading cause of debt, not just because of their initial costs but also because the accidents, injuries, and illnesses leading up to them can take you out of employment. You should always be prepared for that eventuality. First, if you get sick or in an accident that’s not your fault, be willing to reach out to services like to make sure you’re not the one paying. You should also seriously consider budgeting for an emergency fund to take care of big unexpected costs and look at the possibility of insuring your income in the long term when your employer no longer will.



Is it better to be rich?

Having more money to spend on healthcare is a big factor, but how big is it? The evidence as shown at suggests that it’s not to be understated at all. Personal health and personal wealth are so linked that the data can show distinct differences not only between the top 10% and bottom 10% of earners but in every category in between. The second-highest earning group of people is going to be less healthy on average than the highest-earning group. The third highest-earning group will be less than health than the second highest-earning group and so on. Across the board, the links between health and wealth are undeniable.

As the above points show, the wealth and health weave a pretty tangled web when they get together. They can benefit one another and be a detriment to one another. But the truth seems to be that improving one tends to improve the other.


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