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?
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 founded Money Buffalo in 2015 to help people get out of debt and make smart financial decisions. He is currently a full-time personal finance writer with work featured in Forbes Advisor, Fox Business, and Credible.