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The Link Between Heart Health and Financial Health

Posted on: February 21, 2019

February is home to all things related to the heart- Valentine’s Day, National Marriage Week, Wear Red Day and American Heart Month.

 

There’s a common belief that heart disease only affects older adults, but the reality is that heart disease is occurring in younger adults more and more often. In addition, coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, kills more women than men and is the cause of one out of every three female deaths in the United States each year (that’s about one per minute!)

So, what can you do to protect yourself from heart disease? To put it simply, it’s all about lifestyle choices- mainly exercising regularly and eating right. In fact, living a healthy lifestyle can decrease your change of heart disease by as much as 80%.

Financial stress can also be directly linked to heart disease. In a recent study, researchers examined the association between the psychological stress of financial hardship and heart disease and found that people experiencing moderate to high levels of financial stress have an increased risk of developing heart disease. The same group has almost three times the risk of heart disease events- including heart attacks and procedures to investigate or treat heart disease- than those that do not experience financial stress.

So, how do you limit financial stress? Here are a few easy tips to improve your overall financial health:

Spend less than you make. This may sound obvious, but it isn’t so easy for some.  First, add up all the income you bring in every month- this could be a combination of your salary, alimony, bonuses, disability benefits, child support, retirement income, etc. Then, create a practical budget where your expenses do not exceed your income (this includes accounting for savings)!

Save early and often. The sooner you can start saving for retirement, the better off you will be. Compounding interest is a beautiful thing. The best way to save is to schedule a set amount of each paycheck to go directly into a savings account. That way, you aren’t tempted to spend it on something unnecessary. How much should you be saving? Experts say 20% of your total income but if this isn’t doable, any amount you can save will be beneficial for your future.

Have an emergency fund. Emergencies are unexpected and can often cost a pretty penny. Job loss, car and home repairs, medical problems and more can all wreak havoc on your finances if you aren’t prepared. Aim to have six months of living expenses saved and available if/when you need them. The last thing you need in a stressful situation is to worry about how you will pay your mortgage or put food on the table.

Heart health and financial health are two things that should not be ignored. Commit this February to make 2019 the year you improve not only your body but your bank account.