The Importance of Health and Wealth

Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine Review

Hey everybody!  Hope everyone in your house has been doing well.  You might be curious about the title of this post.  Well, our whole house got the stomach bug this past week starting with the 15-month  old and passing on to my wife & I.  So, I had a day to ponder about the importance of health and wealth.  Is one worth more than the other or are they equally important?  Or do you need one to have the other?

Health

Whenever anybody gets sick, the first thing we wish for is to immediately get better.  Feeling ill is never fun and nobody likes being reminded that they are human.

I have written several times in the past about health.  Namely how we eat healthy for cheap and drinking filtered water.  My wife & I take health eating pretty seriously, trying to buy organic whenever possible or buying lightly-sprayed produce.

None of us (thankfully) suffer from any chronic illness or medical condition, although we have family members that do have diabetes.  So we try to eat nutrient dense food made from scratch as much as possible, but we still have treats too.  We even had fast food last night!

Getting back to the point, health is wealth.  You have most likely heard the expression, “Without your health, you have nothing.”  I personally feel there is a lot of truth in this saying.  Here’s why:

Work

Fortunately, last week was the first sick day I took in 8 years.  Yes, I get sick a few times over the years but went in a few hours late as operations supervisors don’t get sick or the brunt of the illness (thankfully) fell on my days off.

I still did a little work from home on Tuesday, but, not much.  Mostly my wife & I took the time to watch Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye, one of our favorite family-friendly comedy dramas.  We rarely watch tv before bedtime, so this was really uncommon for us.

Constantly being sick or having a disability prevents you from doing certain types of work.  I remember growing up that the only job the father of one of my grade school classmates could hold was a newspaper route because of his ailments, meaning the mom had to bring home the bacon.

Retirement

On top of work, health can greatly impact retirement plans.  Many people have not saved nearly enough to comfortably retire and are banking on remaining healthy to work past the Social Security retirement age to “catch up.”  Now that all my grandparents are over the age of 70, they have all said to do everything you can before you reach 70 years old because you will be strictly part-time after that point as their bodies were worn out from years of physical labor.

Morale

Being sick or having poor health makes it hard to keep a positive attitude.  While it might be the motivation needed to help you “set your heart on things above,” pain and illness are not comfortable or pleasant.  You can only watch so many of 1,000 t.v. shows that Steve Harvey is in or Jeopardy reruns before you want to be shipped off to Siberia for a change of scenery.

Low morale can greatly affect every other aspect of a person’s life.

Wealth

The other “-ealth” word is wealth.  The six-letter word that you might only associate with the 1%, etc.  Truth is, we are all wealthy in our own way.

Paying the Bills

I am grateful for the wealth I have as calling in sick one day, didn’t break our bank accounts.  My wife & I both had to call in substitutes for the day & they received a portion of our normal pay. If we were living paycheck-to-paycheck this wouldn’t have been good.  Thankfully we have a few acorns stashed away to cover small emergencies like unexpected illness.

Although we didn’t enjoy getting sick, we could afford to be sick.

Insurance & Prescriptions

Medical debt is one of the leading causes for personal bankruptcy.  Second to credit card debt if I remember correctly.

We often say  “Money isn’t everything” but it can be if you need treatment or medicine to get better.  With the ever-increasing costs for medical care, more & more of each person’s paycheck is being set aside for medical care in the form of monthly insurance premiums.  We didn’t have to visit the hospital this time, but, we will be in April with the birth of our second child.

Insurance seems to cover fewer expenses each year, so you need to pay bills with cash.  This means you have to work or know a rich uncle to have enough money in the bank account when you receive the various care provider bills.

Retirement

Saving wealth today means being able to retire on time (or early) and not “hope” that you can remain healthy enough to finally retire.  While I also hope you can also remain healthy enough to enjoy retirement, the luxury of knowing you have enough money stashed away to afford retirement and medical care is awesome.  Or so I have been told, as I am still striving toward that goal.

Fun

Another “blessing” of having abundant wealth is the ability to have fun.  Taking an annual family vacation is basically a sacred tradition for the 21st-Century first-world family.  This is because of a disposable income.  One of the reasons we work is to have money to enjoy life, whether it is simple things like going out for ice cream or buying Christmas presents without going into debt.

I’m not encouraging you to spend money like it’s going out of style, but, it’s okay to have a little fun.  I need to work on this area myself, as I love to focus on the earning & saving part but only like to spend it on the mortgage & utility bills, since I like living in a house with running water and electricity.

Can you have one without the other?

Yes, it is possible to have wealth but not health or health but not wealth.  Look around the globe and there are plenty of people who are healthy and cannot rub two pennies together.

Think of all the wealthy people without health, sadly, nursing home residents enters my mind.  This example might be a bit extreme, but, these are some of the most depressing places I have ever visited.  Some people are there because they have no other family.  Others because their families will not or cannot take care of them.  My wife & I would rather die than get put in a nursing home.

With that being said, I personally think health is greater than wealth.   You can have all the money in the world, but, it won’t matter if you cannot enjoy it.

I believe we all need a small fortune set aside to afford health-related expenses & emergencies, otherwise, you may never get better, but, at least if you are healthy you can enjoy what you do have and have the opportunity to work to repay bills or earn more.

What are feelings on health and wealth?

Thanks For Reading,

Josh

 

 

 

 

 

 

20 Comments on "The Importance of Health and Wealth"

  1. Piggybanknomics | October 3, 2016 at 9:30 am | Reply

    At first, it seemed odd that on a “sick day” a portion of your pay is given to a substitute. That’s a bummer. However, in the scheme of things, a lot of people do not even have the luxury of any paid sick time. So, really, you and your wife are extremely lucky. I hope you and your family feel better.

    As for health vs wealth: What good does wealth do you if you aren’t healthy? If you are sick, and spending time in the hospital, or are in constant pain, then wealth could pay the bills for treatment, but besides that, will it bring about any other freedoms or comforts? As for health, a person could be in great health but still be stuck at a job that makes his/her life miserable just so ends can possibly meet. Is life any better for that person?

    • My wife & I teach private classes so we get paid on a per-student basis. To not lose a week of instruction, thankfully we have subs to call to teach the lesson the best they can and it’s a good opportunity for the students to review.

  2. Hopefully you are all feeling better by now, Josh. When my kids were very little, I clearly remember all of us falling very ill within hours of each other. It was difficult for both my husband and I to take care of the kids when we were so ill, but we survived.

    Isn’t it funny that when we are ill, the only thing in the world we really want is to feel better? But often, when we are feeling good, we don’t think about our health nearly as much. I suppose it’s much the same with wealth. I agree, I would rather have health than wealth.

    • That’s how it was for both of us. Baby got it first and my wife I got it about 12 hours apart the next day. Thankfully it was fairly quick for us (about 24 hours) and I was back to normal the next day. It took a little bit longer for the other two, but we are all better now.

      I definitely take my health for granted except for when I get sick. You would think I would learn one day.

  3. One way we’ve found to integrate these two is by growing an organic garden. It may not be a hobby for everyone, but we can eat really healthy produce less expensively and it’s a healthy hobby since it gets us outdoors and keeps us active.

    • Now that our house is finished, we are currently working on making a raised bed and hope to have that finished this week. After that, I will be tilling up a plot in our yard. We plan to have it be organic and have a second freezer that we are ready to fill up next growing season.

  4. The Green Swan | October 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm | Reply

    I know I was the same way when my wife and I first had kids. I would never miss work for a sickness, going about 8 years myself. What a streak to break right?! But the sicknesses that kids can bring home can be pretty rough, and for some reason it always seems tougher on the parent than the kid.

    • It was really the first time our baby got sick and it was tough as a parent, because we cannot do much to make them better except hold them and try to give them water. Then we got it and it’s even tougher because you already have no energy and have to use what energy you do have caring for the child. It always seems as soon as you sit down, you have to get right back up because you forgot to get something.

  5. I agree with you Josh. I would much rather have my health than wealth. I also liked how you touched upon the concept that nutrient dense foods don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. I think there is a myth out there that all healthy food costs an arm and a leg to buy. There are tons of places if you shop correctly to get incredibly healthy food for less than cheap fast food. We need to keep our financial houses in order as well as our physical body.

    • I thought healthy food was expensive until I met my wife. It does cost a lot of money if you strictly shop at the local grocery store or Whole Foods, but, there are plenty of great resources if you look locally or online.

  6. This is one reason I am so big on HSAs. Even if you have almost zero health expenses the first 20 years of your working life, you will almost certainly be happy you socked away those tax-free funds for your health expenses in retirement.

    • I think HSAs are a great idea too. We don’t have one right now, but, I had something similar at my old employer. It was nice to set aside money tax-advantaged as you know it will be spent eventually.

  7. Nice post Josh. I completely agree, having complete health is better than being fairly wealthy. You can always build your wealth upwards when you’re healthy, you may not be able to solve your health problems.

    With our IVF problems, we have already made financial sacrifices and when we’re successful we will have put a lot of money into it. We could have become a lot richer if all our IVF money had been invested instead, but this is what we have to deal with.

    Hopefully once we’re through with that, we will be able to invest.

    Tristan

    • Thanks Tristan. Money isn’t everything but it means a lot. I truly hope your IVF treatments are successful, thankfully you have the option to pursue them.

  8. WOW – I just wrote about the ramifications of both health and wealth neglect today! This is a subject that is heavy on my heart. That’s why hubby and I are working so hard to keep and improve both.

  9. I just read Laurie’s post on the same theme : ) I think I value health above wealth, but they are definitely inter-related. I get uneasy when people insist they will “never retire” – that they’ll just keep working. No one knows how things will go once they hit 60 or 70. It’s SO much better to get set up for financial freedom – not necessarily to quit work, but to be set up to have the choice. I hope that you are all feeling better soon : )

    • We can’t predict the future, but, when you reach 60 or 70 your body definitely gets a “mind of its own” so I’ve been told. I agree with your mindset on financial freedom. I believe we all have a purpose to work or be beneficial to our community, and financial freedom means you can afford not to work an unrewarding job and instead pursue passions or help people. Activities that are largely unappreciated and often done by volunteers.

  10. Yea my mama used to work with seniors and saw a lot of millionaires without their health. I’d rather have health over wealth if I had to choose, but ideally both health and wealth are a sweet package. Wish you and your family a speedy recovery! =)

    • having both is the best of both worlds. But I would choose health over wealth if I only had one choice. We are all better now, thanks for the well wishes!

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