How Health and Wealth Are Tied

This post is by Andrea Travillian of Take a Smart Step.

Do you feel like you are constantly trying to work on your money and your health?  Like no matter what you do, they seem to be the exact same problems that keep appearing over and over again?  You can’t pay off your debt; you can’t lose that last ten pounds…

What if I told you this was happening because your money is the root problem?  When you are in debt and struggling with money, it affects your health.  Higher stress levels can lead to more health issues—high blood pressure, insomnia, weakened immune system—all of which affect your weight.

health and wealth

Health and wealth. Image used with permission.

Because of all this stress, you eat out more; you buy more diet products—anything that will help relieve the stress.  What it ends up doing is adding more debt, more weight, and more stress.

So how can you go about stopping the cycle and changing that?

1. Ignore the weight

To start with, just maintain your health. I know this is counterintuitive, but you need to reduce stress somewhere if you are to be able to gain traction in one area. By not working on two stressful items at one time, you free up more energy to work on the money.

Please note, I didn’t say “stop being healthy”—just stop trying to take off that last ten, 20, or 30 pounds. Continue what you were doing, but no more pushing.  Maintain.

2. List your debt

Now we can focus all of our energy on paying off debt.  The first step is to write down all of your debts in one spot.  It does not matter if it is on paper, in Excel, or in a text file—just write it down.  This lets you see what you need to work on.  Keep the list handy, and post it in a place where you will be able to keep tabs on it.

3. Build a budget

Please don’t stop reading! I know our eyes tend to glaze over when the word “budget” comes up, but it really is helpful!  Why?  Because when you budget you get to see where your overspending is coming from.  Then you can actually create a plan to tackle those expenses thus freeing up money for paying off your debt.  Without this step you have no idea how you are doing or where you have problems. You are playing darts in the dark without a budget.

4. Start paying extra on your debt

Now you get to take that money you uncovered with your budget and start paying off your debts.  Which debt first?  I personally don’t think it matters—go for the highest interest rate, lowest balance, most hated company, or whatever suits you.  The key is that you are paying it off and making progress, not that you are doing it in the perfect order.  I do recommend that you make all your extra money payments to one debt of your choosing and nock it out, versus trying to do a little bit on each debt.  This gives you more traction by making your minimum payments smaller and smaller.

5. Rinse and repeat

This step here is the important one, just like you keep getting up every day and working out you need to re-list, re-budget and keeping paying down debt over and over again.  If you stop after a month you will have made no progress.  You need to do each phase over again as your situation changes. Every month is different, and every time you make a payment your amounts go down. When you pay off a debt, you need to pick a new one to pay on.  The process is not static, so you need to keep moving on it.

Before you know it, your debt will be gone.  Gone with it will be the stress that it caused.  This is when your health can really take off! With the extra stress gone you can refocus on your fitness and finally lose that last ten pounds.

Andrea Travillian writes the blog Take a Smart Step which helps you untangle your money mess so you can create financial freedom. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook @smartstep or facebook or sign up for her RSS feed (Or do them all to be extra money savvy)!

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  1. This is so true and so important right now.

    There is a HUGE scarcity vibe being pushed on us via the media. They tell us we’re in a recession and that we should be afraid to spend money which effects us emotionally which is the true reason our economy has taken a downturn.

    Thanks for this article 🙂

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