Psychological Science just released a new study about the correlation between our physical health and financial health. The question was simple: Are poor physical and financial health driven by the same underlying psychological factors? Turns out, those who take the time to plan for their futures – 401 (k) planning, long term insurance, etc. – are more likely to enjoy better physical health. To be sure, this is just one more great reason why retirement planning is so important.
How Retirement Planning Factors
So what’s the connection? Those who are willing to make the necessary sacrifices in order to plan for retirement have the discipline necessary for meeting those goals. If they’re disciplined about their future, it means that’s also going to take care of themselves so that they can enjoy their later years.
Gretchen Chapman, a psychology professor at Rutgers University says there’s something very “fundamental about caring for the future” and taking the steps to protect it. “The sort of person who invests in retirement is the sort of person who takes care of their health.”
The Interesting Subjects
One reason this is so fascinating goes to the very core of the study: the participants. The researchers chose a “midsize laundry company in the Midwest” and with each employee’s consent, a third party collected the anonymous information and then provided it to those involved in the research at Olin Business School at Washington University. Among the focus data sets, specific information was looked for and collected:
- 401 (k) contributions
- Cholesterol levels
- Iron and kidney levels
- How often they incorporated exercise
- Whether they smoked
This data was collected and one year later, collected again from the same subjects. The findings showed those who have no 401 (k) or other retirement savings plan were more likely to suffer a decline in health (and many did during the 12 month study). On the other hand, those who did take a proactive approach to savings were also more likely to expand that discipline to other areas of their lives, such as medical checkups and the use of seatbelts.
Health Determines Insurance Premiums
There’s another reason we should be paying attention to this correlation. The healthier we are, the more affordable many of our insurance policies will be as a result of those efforts. Life insurance and long term insurance are two examples where our health is a factor. Of course, for those who are focused on these important planning elements, it becomes easier to estimate their future needs. This only strengthens their retirement options. Those who have placed an emphasis on these planning techniques feel empowered, just as we do when we skip the cheesecake or make an effort to hit the gym a few times a week. Clearly, it all goes hand in hand.
Is it time to review your planning efforts? Maybe you’ve not yet begun, but are ready to put those plans in place? It’s never too early to begin planning and saving. Our team of professional estate planning lawyers have helped residents in Southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts meet their financial goals for years. We’re here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you and your family.
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