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The Health & Wealth Connection: How Money Affects Your Well-Being

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Summation

  • But money plays a role in your health, too — from the treatments you can afford to the stress you feel in your daily life.
  • Worrying about how you can afford to see a doctor, keep the lights on, or put food on the table increases your risk of anxiety and depression.
  • As a result, people in depressive episodes are more likely to spend more than they should, procrastinate on bills, or take out personal loans when they shouldn't.

The mind-body connection has a third wheel: your finances. Your financial well-being has a strong impact on your physical and mental health — and vice versa.

It’s easy to think that you have good genes and smart lifestyle habits to thank for your well-being. But money plays a role in your health, too — from the treatments you can afford to the stress you feel in your daily life. Let’s explore money’s influence on your health below.

Access to Preventative Care

Millions of people avoid the doctor and dentist every year — not because they’re scared, but because they don’t have the funds. Even basic checkups come with an astronomical bill that keeps people out of clinics. When money’s tight, skipping an annual physical with a doctor or dental cleaning seems obvious. Avoiding these routine appointments can save you hundreds of dollars every year.

Unfortunately, these savings may not last for very long. Leaving small issues like stomach pain or a toothache gives them time to get worse. Eventually, you may not be able to ignore them any longer, at which point it may take bigger, more expensive interventions to get you back into fighting shape.

Don’t believe it? Let’s look at some price comparisons of the typical dental treatments:

Preventative Care: A typical dental cleaning costs between $75 and $200. Annual x-rays add another $25–$750 depending on the number and complexity. A simple filling costs about $200.

Emergency Intervention: Now, let’s consider what happens when you don’t see a dentist, so they don’t catch a cavity or gum issues until it’s an emergency. A cavity left untreated can deteriorate until it requires a crown, which costs $1,000–$1,400. It can also decay the tooth’s nerve tissue, necessitating an extraction or root canal. These last-minute interventions cost far more than a simple $75 checkup.

As you can see, visiting a healthcare practitioner right away may cost more upfront, but it may save you more money down the line. If you avoid the doctor or dentist because of the bill, consider using an online loan to receive prompt attention. Some online loans may be available in a pinch, making them suited for medical emergencies. If you are approved, you can pay back what you owe over installments, so you never have to worry about making an upfront payment in one lump sum.

The Stress of Worrying About Money

Being broke takes a mental toll, too. Worrying about how you can afford to see a doctor, keep the lights on, or put food on the table increases your risk of anxiety and depression.

According to the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, a whopping 86 percent of people admitted their finances made their mental health worse. This study also shows people who are in debt are twice as likely to develop major depression. More interestingly, it also reveals that the more debt someone has, the more likely they’ll struggle with their mental health.

Unfortunately, poor mental health can lead to even greater financial issues in a few key ways:

1. It Can Interfere with Your Paycheck

People struggling with depression and anxiety may take more sick days to work on their mental health, which can lower how much money they earn.

2. It’s Hard to Make Logical Decisions When Depressed

Depression can cause you to go into deeper debt. The Money and Health Policy Institute found that the disease can interfere with your problem-solving skills and planning abilities. As a result, people in depressive episodes are more likely to spend more than they should, procrastinate on bills, or take out personal loans when they shouldn’t.

3. It Can Lead to Even Greater Healthcare Costs

Poor mental health can eventually affect your physical health. Studies show anxiety can manifest as sleep issues, headaches, and even chronic illnesses that cost money to treat, such as diabetes, heart disease, and gastrointestinal disorders.

The Flexibility to Be Healthy

They say that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can certainly buy other things. A strong budget allows you to purchase all the things that you need to support your journey towards healthfulness.

  • You can invest in fresh, nutritious produce, supplements, and vitamins. Studies show a balanced diet can help lower your risk of certain diseases, reducing your chances of needing expensive treatment.
  • You can afford to buy a gym membership or sign up for fitness classes that help build your endurance, muscle tone, and bone density — three things that can reduce your risk of injury.
  • You can pay to see a nutritionist or personal trainer if you want a professional’s opinion.
  • You can purchase ergonomic office equipment and proper shoes to protect your posture and reduce your risk of accidents and repetitive strain injuries.
  • You can afford to pickup hobbies that improve your mental health and overall fitness.
  • You may also have the financial freedom to take sick days and vacations when you want. Leisure time can be restorative when you don’t worry about money.

The Takeaway:

Money has a profound impact on your life. Living without enough of it can make it hard to prioritize your health, maintain a healthy mental outlook, or invest in your well-being. Worst of all, poor health as a result of poor finances can lead to even greater costs in the future.

If you struggle to afford healthcare, sit down with your budget to see what you can do to make changes to your spending. Free credit counsellors are available to help you get control of your finances, so you can prioritize your physical and mental health in all the ways outlined here today.

 

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