healthy retirement

Is Money a Risk Factor for Poor Health?  


If you read about your health on the internet, you will find all sorts of information that may or may not be helpful or correct. I often will find lists of things to do, to eat, or to avoid. It can be hard to sort through the information and make practical applications to your own situation.

I usually like those articles that list bullet points because I can scan them for relevance and then move on or dig deeper if desired. Today, I just have one bullet item. It is really more of a question or actually an observation.

1.     Is money, or the lack of money, a risk factor for poor health?

I have traveled to third-world countries where the average citizen lives in poverty and for the most part, the people are healthy. I have also seen affluent citizens in our country who are in poor health.  Obviously, the opposite situations can be observed as well. I have seen kids go to bed hungry and malnourished. I have seen others who can spend time and energy on good food, gym memberships, and advanced medical treatments and develop horrible health problems.

I think I am asking a deeper question. Money certainly gives options and can provide expensive medical care, doctors’ visits, immunizations, and medications—all of which should lead to better health.

Is there a connection, at least in our culture, to money and health? Is it possible that the way we handle our resources can predict our health to some degree? I’m not suggesting that if you are unhealthy it’s because you’re not a good steward of your money or vise versa.

I have the privilege of taking care of many Medicare patients. Many of them do very well from a health prospective and from a financial prospective. Unfortunately, I have several elderly patients who are living only on social security. Some of them are surviving (somehow) on only around $800 a month.

They are very limited to their abilities to purchase healthcare and supplies, such as medications and healthy foods. Most of them that come to my mind were hard-working, good people. They were and are productive citizens and bring great value to our culture. But they have limited resources.

There is a growing wave of Baby Boomers who will be retiring over the next 10–20 years. Many are poorly prepared for retirement. Many will need to continue in the labor force out of necessity, not desire.

My whole intent on this article is to simply sound a warning bell to those far from retirement (or to those who are close to retirement). You will probably need more money than you think to live comfortably. I want you to have an amazing life.

I am not a retirement specialist. So please talk to someone who is. I know many people who are totally prepared and will have an amazing life in retirement. But I also see currently many who are not prepared.

My encouragement to you is to get prepared! Give some thought to your retirement. Seek good council.

One of the major disciplines that will help you financially is also good discipline for your health: delayed gratification. Spend less than you make. This is the primary key to having financial resources later. Eat fewer calories than you burn. This is the primary way to lose weight. Delay gratification.

Know where your money is going. (Have a budget.) Know how many calories you eat a day. Check your bank account every now and then. Get a physical every now and then. There are so many similarities to the habits that create good financial health to good physical health.

Most of us have good intentions. We intend to do all sorts of things that are good for our families and good for us. The problem is we are usually going to start tomorrow. Tomorrow never comes.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish.”

Develop a plan, put some thought to your future, and start today!

Wishing You an Amazing Life,

Dr. Curtis Brown