I could go on and on about the risks that unhealthy lifestyle choices and habits can have on you. Your wellbeing, your happiness, and your ability to do what you want can all be dictated by the choices you make or avoid making every day. However, your health can have an impact that’s even easier to measure. Poor health isn’t cheap! If hitting your life expectancy isn’t enough, here are some ways it can hit your wallet, too.
Health care isn’t cheap
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Every time you have to go to the doctor, get prescribed medication, or undergo treatment, it’s going to cost you. That doesn’t mean you should avoid getting yourself checked out. However, you could have a lot more of an influence over the costs of your healthcare than you imagine. If you’re on insurance, make sure you’re sticking with in-network providers. Avoid unnecessary treatments by asking why a doctor is prescribing so-and-so. See if the generic medication is just as effective and safe as any of the branded alternatives to keep drug costs down. Becoming a much savvier consumer helps in the medical world just as it helps with all other industries.
Chronic conditions = chronic costs
Blaming people for chronic health issues isn’t kind or fair. However, there serious concerns that a great proportion of chronic cases are preventable. The CDC has released stats that changing three bad habits (lack of exercise, bad diet, smoking) would prevent 80% of heart attacks and 80% of type 2 diabetes. All of us should be taking the health measures that could stop us from being diagnosed with a chronic condition and the lifelong costs of medication and treatment that can come with it. Make sure to get your annual physical as well. You may be able to catch the early signs of chronic illness and make the changes that could pull you back from the brink.
The worst habits are the most effective
When talking about those same habits, we should look at an even more direct way that they affect your finances: the costs of the habits themselves. There are lots of quit smoking calculators on the internet that can show you the exact figures (or a great estimate) on how much you would save every year if you didn’t smoke, for instance. Unhealthy junk food is regularly considered “cheap”, but it has been shown time and time again that you can save money by planning your meals more thoroughly with a slim supply of healthy ingredients. Let’s not forget how much it costs to support overconsumption of coffee or alcohol. Without moderation, everything can be harmful, and everything can be costly.
The costs of the unexpected
There will be health concerns that are no fault of your own, including accidents and injuries. These can have long-reaching effects on your finances, especially if they take you out of work. Filing a personal injury claim if it isn’t your fault can help you recover all of the costs. But having more savings to help cope with some of the costs in the interim can be just as important. Taking care of your health won’t just save you money. It can also give you a little more freedom to build up your savings so that you have some extra protection if you’re taken to the hospital by something you couldn’t have expected or prevented.
Your career could use a boost
This is where we get a little more abstract, but the studies are clear on this. Bad health habits, such as inactivity and poor diet, may be causing you to underperform in your career. Nutrition plays a big role in mental health, and exercise is well known to boost your motivation in all parts of your life, not just at the gym. Better health habits give you more energy, too. All of this combined, you could be a lot more engaged, a lot more motivated, and a lot more productive in your career. Bad habits could play some role in keeping you back from reaching the heights that you’re supposed to. You could really be missing the potential you should be unlocking.
Stress can be a big spender
Emotional health should be a serious concern, as well. Chronic levels of stress are getting more common and, just because it’s not always linked to diet and exercise doesn’t mean it’s not worth talking about. Those issues certainly can play a role, but so can sleep, stressful situations, financial distress, and the like. However, there are clear indications that stress can get in the way of our ability to make decisions with our best judgment. We are more prone to taking risks, and more likely to miss important details because of our distracted mindset. If you’re making risky decisions regarding your finances, then it’s obvious how it can cost you in the long-run.
The insurance impact
If you want to make sure you can get treatment, you are most likely going to need health insurance. As mentioned, the costs of health care and the associated insurance are not low. But bad health habits can drive them up even higher. Most insurance providers will need a lot of information about you, including health habits and your weight. Even life insurance can cost you more if you have bad health habits. It might not seem fair or just, but insurance providers will charge you more if they see you as more of a risk. You might be able to find insurance providers who don’t use those criteria, but you will have more luck lowering your costs by addressing what health concerns you can.
Poor Health Isn’t Cheap
You can and shouldn’t blame yourself for everything that goes wrong with your health. If it’s an accident, down to genetics, or because of addictions, blaming yourself does you no good. However, by taking responsibility for your habits, you can at least ensure that your costs aren’t going to be bloated by expenses that could have prevented. Poor health isn’t cheap so make sure that you make your health a priority!
Looking for tips on improving your health? Check out these healthy choices for a happy life.