Money And Health

With all the wrangling and fighting in Washington over the federal budget and also over the future of the Affordable Care Act, I’m feeling philosophical today about the connection between money and health.

What is the connection between money and health?  Can money buy health?  Can lack of money keep you from being healthy?  Well, yes and no.  It has been shown pretty convincingly that, in general, poor people are not as healthy as those who are better off financially.  Whether that is due to educational disparities, differences in access to health care, different diet quality, or other factors isn’t really clear.

Does being better off financially equal better health?  No, of course not.  Look at movie stars and celebrities.  Every week it seems there is another celebrity drug overdose or story about a movie star committing suicide in the depths of mental illness.  Wealthy celebrities struggle with obesity just like everyone else does.  Even access to infinite health resources does not guarantee one will be healthy.

What is money anyway?  Why do we need it?  Money is an artificial construct that makes it easier to engage in trade.  It is a symbol that everyone has agreed in advance has a certain value.  It is easier to trade coins or paper money for foodstuffs than to take a goat or bales of wool or stacks of animal furs to the grocery store.

The only thing that will motivate a person to open their wallet or pull out a credit card (another artificial construct, BTW) is the belief that the thing they are buying will make their life better.  Whether it’s underwear, carrots, legal advice, prescription medication, or a Ducati motorcycle, the thing being purchased will make the buyer’s life better in some way.

(BTW the government is selling you something in return for the taxes you pay – the right to stay out of prison.  There is an interesting thought, right?)

OK.  So if you need money to buy the things YOU need for food, shelter, clothing, etc, you have to have something to trade for that money.  The things we possess to trade for money all fall into three broad categories:  goods, time and expertise.

So what brings money into your household?  We spend an awful lot of time doing whatever we do to earn money.  Shouldn’t it be something that gives us pride and pleasure?

Too many people sacrifice their health in the pursuit of money.  There is a sweet spot where your career and your health are balanced.  Your stress is enough to keep you motivated and energized but not so much that you are at risk of getting sick from it.

Money cannot buy health.  You don’t have to have a lot of money to do the things you need to do to be healthy.

  • Eat a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and veggies in season, whole grains, nuts and seeds with limited amounts of meat and dairy.
  • Move your body every day in a way that you enjoy.
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Drink plenty of fresh, clean water
  • Play and laugh and spend time with people who make you feel good

We all need money, but we DON’T need to be so focused on it that we make ourselves sick in the pursuit of it.  Take a moment today to examine whether your career and health are in balance or whether you need to reevaluate the relationship between money and health in your life.

QUESTION: Do you think you are sacrificing your health in order to earn money?  Why or why not?

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3 thoughts on “Money And Health

  1. Absolutely….If you have money it’s no issue. If you don’t than having a high deductable means you’re paying a lot to get services and you start to make decisions about getting medical care in a timely manner. Both my knees were very swollen and it was becoming very difficult to walk…and was/is very painful at times. I wanted to find out why and fix it. That cost me $2100….and my problem, although it was relieved still exists and now is getting worse again. I can’t afford $2100 again so I will not go to the doctor until I’m driven there which to me is so sad and unacceptable. Most of us have a budget that we live by and have planned for monthly expenses and bills. However a high expense like this, since it’s not in the budget, is now something to save for. That means we wait for some of our health which is very unfortunate. Of course we have to do the best we can with diet, exercise and healthy living habits but when you really need a doctor you should never have to think about waiting which could make it worse and that’s exactly what I do now. I have quite a few friends now that put things on hold because they are afraid of or can’t afford the expense “right now”….and that to me is dangerous. So much for affordable health care. I could afford it in the past….not so much now. I am finally starting a new job tomorrow that will require a lot of walking….hope my knees will be up to it because I need to pay these medical expenses.

  2. I absolutely donlet my job get in the way of my health. It keeps me from exercising and it causes me stress. In the flip side I absolutely love my job. How do I force myself to walk away to get the exercise and peace of mind I need when I am so determined to get the job done?

    • Schedule your time to exercise. Setting boundaries is hard, you have to remember that you’re not just an employee, you need to take good care of yourself too.

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