The Health-Wealth Connection

December 5, 2017 · Written By JFS Wealth Advisors

It’s a vicious cycle: Money is one of the greatest causes of stress. Prolonged stress can lead to serious health issues, and health issues often result in yet more financial struggles. The clear connection between health and wealth is why it’s so important to develop and maintain lifelong plans to manage both. As year-end quickly approaches, take the time to assess any personal changes that would support a more positive connection between the two.

Consider the following statistics:

  1. More than half of retirees who retired earlier than planned did so because of their own health issues or to care for a family member. (Employee Benefit Research Institute, 2017)
  2. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems. (Centers for Disease Control, 2017)
  3. Chronic conditions make you more likely to need long-term care, which can cost anywhere from $21 per hour for a home health aide to more than $6,000 a month for a nursing home. (Department of Health and Human Services, 2017)

Develop a plan for long-term physical health
The recommendations for living a healthy lifestyle are fairly straightforward: eat right, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, limit soda and alcohol consumption, get enough sleep (at least seven hours for most adults), and manage stress. And before embarking on any new health-related endeavor, talk to your doctor, especially if you haven’t received a physical exam within the past year. Your doctor will benchmark important information such as your current weight and risk factors for developing chronic disease. Come to the appointment prepared to share your family’s medical history, be honest about your daily habits, and set goals with your doctor.

Other specific tips from the Department of Health and Human Services include:

Maintain good nutrition: Current nutritional guidelines call for eating a variety of vegetables and whole fruits; whole grains; low-fat dairy; a wide variety of protein sources including lean meats, fish, eggs, legumes, and nuts; and healthy oils.

Exercise regularly: Any physical activity is better than none. Inactive adults can achieve some health benefits from as little as 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. However, the ideal target is at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of high-intensity workouts per week.

For current guidelines on nutrition and physical activity, visit the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s website at www.health.gov.

Develop a plan for long-term financial health
The recommendations for living a financially healthy life aren’t quite as straightforward because they depend so much on your individual circumstances. But there are a few basic principles to ponder:

Manage your income: Ensure that you’re spending less than you make and managing debt wisely. Follow the principal “Pay Yourself First”—before you pay bills, debts or other expenses, set aside a portion of your income each paycheck that goes directly to savings. Aim to save 20% of your income for emergency and retirement savings, and maximize employer retirement contributions when available.

Prudently invest your surplus: Regularly assess your tolerance for risk and discipline yourself to maintain your portfolio through up and down markets. Long-term oriented investors have historically been rewarded for managing emotions that would have caused them to jump in and out during times of uncertainty. Take the time once a year to review with your advisor life circumstances and long-term goals to assess whether changes are needed.

Have adequate insurance: The safety net for many aspects of our financial lives, insurance comes in many forms and with many options. Your advisor can help assess whether you have adequate amounts of health, disability income insurance, and life insurance. You might also consider long-term care coverage.

Living a happy, productive life is all about balance. Good health, financial strength, personal relationships, and self-purpose and meaning all factor into the health-wealth equation.

Source: Broadridge Investor Communications, Inc.