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Webinar Health and Wealth Relationships

Webinar Health and Wealth Relationships

Have you taken the Personal Health and Wellness Quiz yet? Did your score surprise you?  Did you find some room for improvement?

As we learned in the webinar health and wealth are correlated.  Here are some interesting research  findings from the webinar:

  • There is a negative association between BMI and income, especially among white females
  • Regular exercise yielded a 6% to 10% increase in wages.
  • Estimated overall annual costs of being obese were $4,879 for women and $2,646 for men.  Dor Ferguson, Langwith and Tan 2010
  • Individuals who engage in health search behaviors such as reading nutrition labels are more likely to engage in financial planning.

What are the health and personal finance similarities and relationships?

  • Problems develop slowly.
  • Less stigma due to increasing frequency.
  • Impacts job productivity, discrimination.
  • Technical jargon, Medical terms and directions and financial terms and acronyms.
  • Need for programs in schools and at work sites.
  • People fear drastic changes and large numbers.
  • Need for more “point of purchase” information.
  • Advice needs to be realistic.
  • Lack of limits causes problems.
  • Restrictions help avoid problems.
  • Drastic solutions have major drawbacks.
  • Good health affects wealth.
  • Higher productivity, fewer work absences.
  • Live long enough to collect social security benefits.
  • Money saved on smoking, health care bills, etc.
  • Healthy people need to save more money for longer lifetime.
  • People want quick fixes and are often a target for fraud.
  • Denial and disconnects.
  • Need for routine check-ups.
  • Poor risk perception.
  • Personal traits = Success.
  • Many available resources.
  • Government and employer intervention.

Discussion Question:

What personality traits are associated with positive health and financial practices?

  • Obesity tends to be higher in the poorer populations.
  •  The skills you need to manage your finances are similar to managing your health.
  • Being healthy can be expensive, so it is natural to assume that you have to have a solid financial plan in place to maintain that lifestyle.
  • Access to healthcare and financial resources.
  • Access to food.
  • There is a cycle of deprivation and ill health.
  • People often cope with struggles by overindulging. Overindulging can happen with food or shopping/spending.
  • Being unhealthy is expensive such as eating out and unnecessary snack purchases.
  • Poor health leads to unemployment and unemployment leads to ill health.
  • Overindulgence/lack of discipline applies to over-eating and over-spending.
  • “Realistic” is different for each person. You have to start where they are and take small steps forward.
  • Automatic Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) contributions are a form of “restriction” because you pay yourself first.
  • Healthier people can work longer too.
  • A good way to think of it – restrictions control the behavior rather than stopping it. Like the bad stigma around the words “diet” and “budget” – restrictions create a plan instead.
  • Happier and more productive!
  • Being healthy will give you a good return on investment (ROI )for all those FICA contributions that come out of your paycheck. If you die before your first SS check, your ROI is “0”.
  • Those of us who are lucky enough to have lifetime pensions get more the longer we live!
  • Good example of  savings denial is Retirement Confidence Survey:
  • How can we get people to look past today and see the work they need to do today to make sure they’re ready for later life?
  • Healthy eating isn’t expensive; it’s just that unhealthy eating is cheap.
  • Educate people that it doesn’t have to be expensive to be healthy by listing alternatives.
  • Self-motivation.
  • Delayed gratification.
  • Relaxation no longer stressed.
  • Ability to plan ahead.
  • Organized
  • Goal setters
  • Structure, organization, motivation.
  • Disciplined
  • Often more aware and proactive.
  • Individuals with positive financial practices tend to be better self-motivated “go-getters.”
  • Determination
  • Moderation/ balance
  • Personal drive
  • Self-awareness
  • Patience

Discussion Question:

How can practitioners foster positive personality traits?

  • Work with clients to make sure their nutrition goals are specific to them to help build the motivation they need to work towards the goal.
  • Motivational Interviewing; Determine what the client holds valuable.
  • Coaching clients to see what their dreams are and the realistic steps they will take to get there.  Let them set the goals.
  • Develop action plans linked to goals and values.
  • Motivational Interviewing is a great start.
  • A  form of taking control over their lives. The Personal Finance team did a webinar on motivational interviewing if you would like to learn more! 
  • Listening to the client
  • The Personal Finance team also had a  webinar on Positive Personality Traits of Financially Fit People
  • Identifying their existing positive personality traits and build off those.
  • Help clients  break down big goals into baby steps.
  • Listening to the client. Part of providing an environment that nurtures their capacity for mindfulness and self-awareness.
  • Can be one path to helping them develop a more powerful personally grounded orientation for their efforts; helps them to develop a more internal locus of control, even in the face of constant external pressures.
  • There’s been some fascinating research and discussion about how scarcity influences psychology & decision making, e.g. APA – The Psychology of Scarcity
  • Financial incentives are not a permanent fix. Frequently there is temporary changes (during a program with financial incentives) have temporary results; when the program ends, old habits return.
  • Financial incentives appear to change people’s health habits, at least in the short term. How much they impact health is another question.
  • A workplace “wellness fair” brought in a machine to see skin damage from the sun – has made a big difference in my sun exposure.
  • My brother stopped using tobacco when there would be a penalty with his insurance costs.
  • My brother completed a Health Screening Health Insurance, and lowered his LDL over the year, and was incentivized by a lower premium, as a “reward” for better health.
  • The threat of loss seems to be a stronger motivator.

For  more information about health and wealth relationships please visit the website Small Steps to Health and Wealth™

The SSHW workbook is free for downloading at   You can also order print copies of the SSHW workbook at  

How can you use these techniques to help foster positive changes in health and wealth?

This was posted by Robin Allen, a member of OneOp (MFLN) Nutrition and Wellness team that aims to support the development of professionals working with military families.  Find out more about the OneOp Nutrition and Wellness concentration on our website, on Facebookon Twitterand LinkedIn.