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Why getting financially fit helps your physical wellbeing

20 December 2019

Why getting financially fit helps your physical wellbeing

New year’s resolutions usually revolve around physical fitness, yet research shows financial fitness can positively impact your overall health and wellbeing.

Why getting financially fit helps your physical wellbeing

Many people will have set New Year’s resolutions around getting fitter and losing weight in 2020. Yet, did you know that your financial fitness can significantly impact your physical wellbeing, and vice versa?

Research from around the globe confirms the idea that our financial position and physical state are not only closely related, but can have major impacts on each other. In its most simplistic form, inadequate income can impact your ability to afford good food, medical care, going to the gym and having health insurance. There’s also the lack of mental timeouts available through fewer holidays. But this is just scratching the surface of the issue. Research in the Healthy, Wealthy and Wise: Retirement Planning Predicts Employee Health Improvements^ study, indicated that those who valued their financial futures also chose to invest more in their physical health choices.

What’s more concerning is that financial stress can negatively affect people’s mental and physical state. Without financial security, more time is spent worrying about the future, resulting in hyper tension and anxiety, as well as a whole plethora of physical symptoms including sleep disorders, chest pains, headaches and many more. These debilitating symptoms can affect an individual’s attendance and performance at work, putting their job and major source of income at risk. This can then lead to even more financial insecurity down the road and can become be a vicious cycle that’s harder to escape.

On the other side of the coin, those who look after their physical wellbeing with exercise and healthy eating habits are less likely fall victim to sickness taking fewer sick days. And because they’re happier and more confident, this superior physical and mental state may result in them being more productive at work which could improve their chances of promotion and pay rises – leading to even more financial security. So how can we get the right balance of financial and physical fitness?

Understanding financial fitness

Just like physical fitness, financial fitness requires having some solid goals to aim for, commitment, accountability and some discipline to stick to your plan to achieve your goals. Financial fitness can mean lots of things to different people. While to some, it can be meeting monthly expenses and having some savings left over, many feel it’s more about being in control of our finances and having the financial resilience to withstand unforeseen challenges like job losses. Enjoying the freedom to meet long-term goals, like owning your home outright and enjoying a reasonable lifestyle in retirement is another way people feel financially fit.

5 ways to get financially fit:

  1. Do a budget to understand exactly what’s coming in and what’s going out
  2. Reduce your amount of debt, especially short-term debt like credit cards and personal loans
  3. Save for that rainy day so you have a buffer of savings to call upon should anything happen
  4. Invest in a diversified portfolio so all your eggs aren’t in one basket
  5. Get professional help – a personal trainer gets better results for your physical fitness and good financial advice can do the same.

Everyone can become financially fitter and enjoy having more control over their finances. Taking the first step is always the hardest. Once you’ve established some good financial habits it becomes much easier.

^ Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise: Retirement Planning Predicts Employee Health Improvements https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614540467

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