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May 3, 2017

Putting a price tag on your health

By Kevin Theissen

We hear over and over again how important it is to maintain a healthy lifestyle. But being healthy for its own sake isn’t easy—especially when you’re facing down temptation or battling procrastination. For some, the monetary benefits of a healthy lifestyle may offer helpful incentive.

Being healthy not only makes you feel good, it may also help you financially. For example, one study found a steep increase in annual medical expenditures for individuals whose Body Mass Index was above 30.

If you’re wondering how your health habits might be affecting your bottom line, consider the following:

Regular preventative care can help reduce potential healthcare costs. Even minor sicknesses can lead to missed work, missed opportunities, and potentially lost wages. Serious illnesses often involve major costs like hospital stays, medical equipment, and doctor’s fees.

Individuals can lower dental costs by receiving regular checkups and performing basic preventative care.

When poor health persists over time, lost earnings may make it harder to save for retirement.

Some habits that lead to poor health can be expensive in themselves. Smoking is the classic example. A person who smokes a pack a day can spend up to $2,000 or more a year on cigarettes alone. Smokers also pay higher premiums for health care and life insurance, and their houses, cars, and other possessions tend to devalue at a quicker rate because of damage from the smoking.

Obesity is another expensive condition that affects many Americans. One study set the lifetime cost of obesity at $92,235 per person.

By focusing on your health, eliminating harmful habits, and employing preventative care, you may be able to improve your self-confidence and quality of life. You may also be able to reduce expenses, enjoy more of your money, and boost your overall financial health.

Remember, it’s all connected. The major categories in our lives affect one another. If your finances are off, it can affect your health and relationships. If your relationships are a bit off, it can affect your finances and health.

Kevin Theissen is principal and financial advisor at Skygate Financial Group, LLC., located on Main Street in Ludlow, Vt. He can be reached at kevin@skygatefinancial.com.

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