It was Ralph Waldo Emerson that said, "The first wealth is health." Studies on health and wealth have increased in the last decade, and experts are more deeply invested in the topic than ever before. Does investing in health depend on income?
Healthcare decision-making is affected by the number of available options. Researchers are finding that a wealth of health may exist for certain populations while others lack the ability to access key options that can reduce debt and disease. No matter the socioeconomic status, there are important, inexpensive ways anyone can invest in your health.
Read on to learn more about the connection between health, wellness, and wealth and how properly investing can pay dividends.
What Does Wealth Have to Do with Wellness?
Wellness and wealth share close ties. A study in the DC area found that over half of an individual's life expectancy could be explained by two factors: education and economic influences.
Do I Have to Be Wealthy to Be Well?
While wellness and wealth clearly share an association, one does not have to be wealthy to be in good health. The key to health seems to be an aspect of financial security. A feeling of financial security can produce improved health outcomes as well as improved quality of life.
How to Improve Your Wealth
Improved health outcomes can help people live longer, healthier, and wealthier lives. Those experiencing increased wellness are more inclined to fully participate in the economy.
In other words, thriving instead of just surviving is an important piece of the financial puzzle. Luckily, one does not have to endure business school to understand how wealth works.
Small, simple steps to understand and improve financial and physical wellness can create a more secure environment for healthy decision-making.
A Wealth of Knowledge
Wealth does not always come in the form of money. It can come through added information and access to empathetic people. By being around people who can share their experience, act as an example, or offer valuable information, it is possible to increase the wealth of knowledge possessed.
Currency & Competency
Both practitioners and patients alike may have better healthcare outcomes when competencies have developed that account for advances. In other words, patient engagement and health outcomes, as a result, can improve when practitioners and patients are taught how to navigate resources, such as telehealth or online communication.
Studies show that these technologies have the potential to increase patient and provider access to specialists, to provide valuable support to practitioners in rural areas, and have the power to assist in ongoing patient monitoring. Especially for those with chronic health conditions, this kind of access is its own kind of gold.
Study Your Habits
Studying spending habits does not have to cost a cent, but it can improve where investments end up. Health habits can reveal a wealth of information as well. Being aware of the risks linked with one’s income level can help an individual stay increasingly aware.
For example, people with lower incomes tend to have higher rates of smoking. Smoking poses significant risks as one ages, and healthcare costs can accumulate.
Make Wise Wealth Investments
The sectors of finance and health comprise approximately 40 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). Changes in the GDP are a popular standard indicator of a country's overall economic health and wealth.
Since finance and health are fast-growing sectors they are the target of innovation for many companies. Investing in these areas might be a wise decision that pays you back down the line, in a good way.
Explore Your Options
Many corporate jobs have wellness plans available for their employees. Sometimes, these benefits go underutilized. Especially for those with lower household wealth, accessing these resources and connections can be crucial to mediating the risk of many diseases they may otherwise be prone to, such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and chronic stress.
Ask a representative what options are available and how insurance works to cover healthcare expenses. A few key questions can go a long way in improving understanding and awareness of what is available.
Inexpensive Ways to Improve Wellness
Income growth should not have to cost an arm and a leg. Finding inexpensive ways to decrease the risk of chronic disease and increase access to resources can promote longevity and prolong health.
Movements to Mediate Risks
A recent study showed that measures of physical capability decreased more in groups with less wealth by almost 40%. Larger declines in cognitive function were also seen in this group, meaning that physical and mental health measured significantly lower in less wealthy participants.
Lower wealth showed higher levels of inflammation and organ function, too. Sadly, this trend emulates the measurements collected from larger populations as well.
While experts do not fully understand all the complex influences impacting the relationship between health and wealth, they typically recommend the following measures:
• Enjoy Life: Invest in meaningful activities and experiences.
• Notice Symptoms: Many people wait too long to report concerning health symptoms. Financially, this can cost you big-time down the line.
• Keep Up Social Activities: Healthy relationships generally increase the likelihood one has to develop healthy habits.
• Quit Smoking: Smoking increases many physical health risks, and consequently can cost a fortune to address long-term.
• Self-Assess Health: In between visits with a health care provider, take an honest inventory of personal progress. Set realistic goals and measure outcomes to better identify areas of improvement.
Stress management skills can be as simple as breathing exercises or remembering to meditate for a few moments each day. Research shows that financial insecurity can cause mental and emotional distress.
Developing skills to combat stress can be a significant way to improve perspectives on wealth and avoid a scarcity mindset. Don’t know where to start? Consulting with an expert can increase awareness and decrease the stress of having to do it alone.
Positive Productivity & Performance Patterns
Whether in a management position or on the front lines, financial security is an important aspect that affects productivity and job performance. Identifying areas of improvement and approaching them in a healthy way can help create a positive environment.
Positive performance and improved productivity can have significant impacts on health. Poor health has a serious influence on financial stability. Working well with others and increasingly finding multidisciplinary modes of improvement can result in better solutions, both for individuals and for companies.
Evolving Wealth & Health Approaches
Both health and wealth are areas of intense research. They are constantly being delved into deeper and new information shifts proper protocols almost daily. A key to staying well might be staying on one's toes.
Stay aware of updated options, and take advantage of the free resources available. Ask questions and seek answers until an individualized solution is found. Wealth and health are not one-size-fits-all. It is important to persevere and be open to diverse perspectives when talking about economics and options.
Have Authentic Conversations
Health and wealth are sometimes hard to tell from the outside. Both health and financial security can benefit from real, honest, and open conversations about how people are actually doing.
Acknowledging challenges faced by individuals, families, and even across companies and nations can help connect financial dots. It can also help those struggling with health challenges find support and empathy in knowing others are also having a hard time.
Many people are fearful to take an honest look at their health and finances. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but experts say it pays off.
The Aspen Institute, a collection of experts that use conversation and action to drive change, believes that the quality of one’s health and wealth is rooted in the simple steps:
"Examine the common essential building blocks...true power in this effort comes from the ability to examine problems in new ways...advancing a conversation on how to improve health and wealth in tandem."
Avoid Chronic Debt & Chronic Disease
Getting into situations where debt and disease have accumulated is stressful. Unfortunately, this is a growing problem in American households, and people with less wealth likely have less access to the knowledge that could change the game for them.
A key method to reducing risk in both areas is to locate barriers to financial stability and to health and wealth building. Tracking costs and expenses as well as setting up some sort of emergency fund can be great ways of identifying debt and disease risk.
The Bottom Line
Working together with healthcare, medicine, financial well-being, and other wellness authorities can help connect an individual with their best quality of life. This may include working with a personal trainer, dietitian, health coach, financial planning expert, etc.
Studies continue to show not only that health is wealth, but that wealth is health. Experts hope coming generations use wellness, and not just sickness, as the measure of a healthy lifestyle.
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