MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Save Money, Plan, Feel Powerful and Get Healthy?

Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 03:43 PM
save money be healthy

What does saving money and planning for your future have to do with your physical health?

As it turns out, plenty.

A recent article in the New York Times titled, Your 401(k) is Healthy. So Maybe You Are, Too really caught my attention. According to the article, “a new study from the journal Psychological Science finds that people who are good at planning their financial future are more likely to improve their physical health-and then actually become healthier.”

“The research, scholars say, offers keen insight into the sorts of people who are likely to make short-term sacrifices in the name of a brighter future. It suggests that there is something very abstract and fundamental about caring for the future. The sort of person who invests in retirement is the sort of person who takes care of their health.”

“Employees who contributed regularly to their 401(k) plan were not only more likely to take steps to improve their health but also, in aggregate, had a 27% improvement in their blood scores. Non-contributors continued to suffer health declines. The 401(k) contributors also showed relative improvements in safety behaviors, like seatbelt use.” 

Saving and planning for today in order to have an abundant and financially secure tomorrow. Sounds simple, right? Well, ask any Spiritus client, and they’ll be the first to admit that this goal is much easier said than done. Yet, that does not stop them from doing what’s needed. They’re able to think from the end, visualize the future they desire, stay on track and course correct when needed.

In addition to the personal satisfaction you’ll receive when you know your financial house is in order, it turns out these smart money habits actually increase your overall wellness. There are many reasons why making the time for financial planning is a great investment, but hands down, nothing beats the benefit of optimizing your health by planning and designing your future.

Stanford School of Business Study

As if one study this month illustrating the health benefits of saving and planning weren’t enough to have you pat yourself on the back for doing the right thing with your money and your life, along comes another study conducted by the Stanford School of Business that will be published in October.

“According to the study, individuals who feel powerful are more motivated to save. The cycle consists of saving money, feeling powerful, and feeling more inclined to continue to save. Individuals who felt powerless, on the other hand, tended to save less money and engage in consumption to compensate for their lack of power.”

"A sense of power is different from other factors that influence saving behavior, such as education, upbringing, and income level. We show that very subtle shifts in feelings of power can have quite an impact on saving. This is very important because it’s something that’s easy to change.”

Make Peace with the Past, Increase Your Financial Intelligence & Feel Powerful

Anyone who has ever been in therapy, or read a single self-help book is familiar with the term 'baggage' in terms of a relationship. But have you ever considered the damage caused by your 'money baggage'?

When you schlep your old and toxic ‘money baggage’ around from relationship to relationship, or from childhood to adulthood, or from starving artist to international superstar, you name it, you’re choosing, whether consciously or unconsciously, to burden your present and your future with the past.

It could be the time you needed to file for bankruptcy because you were young, stupid and got in over your head. It could be the time you bet the farm on a long shot investment that you were sure would make you rich, only to later lose everything. Or it could be the realization that you neglected planning for the future and now at 55, you’re scared to death about how you’re going to be able to ever save enough to retire let alone get your two kids through college and graduate school.

The above are just a few examples of the many burdens we weigh ourselves down with when it comes to our relationship with money. Yet I truly believe that one of the major reasons the New York Times bestseller Your Money or Your Life, became such an international bestseller is because it was one of the first books to teach us how important and vital it is to make peace with the past.

Making peace with the past, is at its core, about forgiveness. And in this case, it’s you, forgiving yourself.  Many times, even when we unintentionally hurt people we love by doing something stupid or reckless with our money, our loved ones in time forgive us, but we never forgive ourselves. That’s very self-destructive behavior and that needs to change in order to change our dynamic with money.

Part of what hinders the healing and forgiving process is that underneath the anger you feel towards yourself often is shame. And again, one of the teachings from Your Money or Your Life is no-shame, no blame.

The road to financial wellness is full of obstacles whether you have very little or have enough for many lifetimes, whether you have a small carry-on of money baggage or a large trunk, it doesn’t matter. Money is a very powerful energy that can provide you much abundance as well as much scarcity.

So to feel powerful when it comes to money, I'm suggesting these five steps:

1) make peace with the past;

2) rid yourself of low energy feelings and thoughts of shame as they’ll only bring you down and keep you stuck in the past;

3) increase your financial intelligence by learning a little more each year about your money;

4) make the investment and develop a financial plan because research shows it boosts your health and finally;

5) feel powerful, because now that you took control of your money and your life and you tossed your old money baggage out the window, it’s a wide open road ahead!


Photo credit by Tax Credits - https://www.flickr.com/photos/76657755@N04/with/6881503604/