1. Money management
2. How to live a healthful life
I’d pick money management.
Health statisticians and social justice groups seem to agree that the wealthier people are, the healthier they are. Then they go onto explain why − which usually includes that the wealthier have better access to quality health care, they’re able to afford more nutritious foods, and have more available time to dedicate to maintaining a positive lifestyle. All true.
But I don’t think that’s the whole story. After over 30 years in the wellness business, and a brief stint owning a financial literacy company, I am beginning to think we might be better off redirecting health education resources into financial literacy instead.
I don’t think it’s the circumstance of wealth that blesses people with more health. I think it’s the discipline required in managing money that transfers into a healthier lifestyle. Most of the wealthy people in the US earned their money, they didn’t inherit it. They learned money skills along the way.
Good money management requires these disciplines:
- Self-evaluation (where is the money going?)
- Planning (budgets, projections, investment selections)
- Deferred gratification (setting priorities, short-term sacrifices)
- Consistency (savings plans, dollar cost averaging, compounding, long-range goals)
- Emergency preparation/risk management (insurance, diversification, disability coverage, health coverage)
Managing money is of immediate interest to almost every demographic group. And, although money isn’t everything, the accumulation of it offers us a platform to make healthy living part of the wealth building formula. Most lottery winners end up going broke because they didn’t have experience managing money. And I’ll bet lottery winners don’t automatically get healthier either.
Helping people to become financially literate may be the secret sauce we’ve been looking for in solving America’s big problem of poor health.
Shawn is the President and Founder of Hope Health. For over 30 years, his work has focused on bringing clear, easy-to-read, and watch health messages to the public via workplaces. He bills himself as the “Best C+ Student in the Wellness Biz” because, as he says, “I like to challenge the notion that there is no such thing as a stupid question.” Shawn is on a mission to tie workplaces into their surrounding communities to share resources and ideas in an effort to improve the health of all Americans.
You may reach Shawn at sconnors@HopeHealth.com or 800-334-4094.