Putting a Price Tag On Your Health
We hear over and over again how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But being healthy for its own sake isn’t easy — especially when you’re facing down temptation or battling procrastination. For some, the monetary benefits of a healthy lifestyle may offer helpful incentive.
Being healthy not only makes you feel good, it may also help you financially. One study found that the healthiest one-third of people had accumulated 50% more in assets than those in the bottom one-third.¹ Maybe that’s because being sick isn’t just unpleasant, it’s expensive. If you’re wondering how your health habits might be affecting your bottom line, consider the following:
- Regular preventative care can help reduce potential healthcare costs. Even minor sicknesses can lead to missed work, missed opportunities, and potentially lost wages. Serious illnesses often involve major costs like hospital stays, medical equipment, and doctor’s fees.
- A study of Medicare beneficiaries showed that preventative dental procedures and regular checkups saved older adults significantly.²
- When poor health persists over time, lost earnings may make it harder to save for retirement. They may also reduce Social Security benefits.³
- Some habits that lead to poor health can be expensive in themselves. Smoking is the classic example. The average smoker can expect to spend around $1,500 a year on cigarettes alone.⁴ Smokers also pay higher premiums for health care and life insurance, and their houses, cars, and other possessions tend to devalue at a quicker rate because of damage from the smoking.
- Obesity is another expensive condition that affects many Americans. Obese individuals with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 to 40 spend, on average, $3,086 more per year in medical costs than someone of a healthy weight.⁵
By focusing on your health, eliminating harmful habits, and employing preventative care, you may be able to improve your self-confidence and quality of life. You may also be able to reduce expenses, enjoy more of your money, and boost your overall financial health.
- 1, 3. The National Bureau of Economic Research, downloaded February 20, 2013
- 2. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, March 2011
- 4. Hearst Communications Inc., September 21, 2012
- 5. Reuters, April 30, 2012
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