One of the major lessons learned from the Covid-19 crisis is how vulnerable we are as Americans due to our poor underlying health. According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), America ranks near the bottom in terms of life expectancy among advanced/industrialized nations and near the top in terms of obesity rates, diabetes, and heart disease. The good news is that simple improvements surrounding sleep, exercise, and dietary habits can improve our country’s overall health and better prepare us for diseases we will face again in the future. With rest, a simple goal is to get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Studies show you are almost four times less likely to get a common cold and other illnesses with this amount. With exercise, the key is to get your heart and lungs working at an accelerated rate as often as possible. At least 30 minutes a day is recommended for good health, but even a small amount per day is better than nothing. For diet, the key is a balanced combination of fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Avoid smoking and drink alcohol only in moderation. The bad news is that many will not be motivated to change their habits for health benefits alone, so those looking for additional motivation could see some financial benefits of improved health below.
Reduced Out of Pocket Medical Costs
While routine maintenance visits to the doctor are often covered by private insurance, other types of visits will run you an out of pocket cost. In fact, according to Consumer Health Ratings, an average doctor visit costs approximately $290. Better health can reduce those visits to the doctor and save deductibles, co-pays, and other irritating healthcare costs.
Improved Job Performance
While we often focus on the noticeable physical effects of poor sleep, exercise, and dietary habits, the less visible mental effects of those habits should cause equal concern, particularly for those looking to maximize workplace performance. For workers looking to operate at the highest level, one of the biggest enemies is extreme fatigue. Fatigue leads to poor decisions, poor decisions lead to poor outcomes, and poor results do not bode well for career advancement. In contrast, a sharp mind leading to better decisions can lead to higher responsibility levels and ultimately, greater financial rewards.
Longevity in the Workforce
Saving enough Money for a comfortable retirement is a top priority for most. Unfortunately, many Americans fall behind on these goals and will find it necessary to work more years to achieve them. If this is you, health will play a significant role in your ability to perform the extra years required to take care of your family. Make the health of your body a priority now and it and it will be there for you later!
Follow The Welch Group every Tuesday morning on WBRC Fox 6 for the Money Tuesday segment.
Fox 6 Talking Points:
Financial Benefits of Sleep, Exercise and Balanced Diet
- Reduced Out of Pocket Medical Costs
- Improved Job Performance
- Longevity in the Workforce
Marshall Clay CFP, JD, is a Partner and Senior Advisor at The Welch Group, LLC, which specializes in providing Fee-Only investment management and financial advice to families throughout the United States. Marshall is a graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, the Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama, and is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™. In addition, Marshall is a frequent guest on local television stations as an expert on various financial planning matters.
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