Your Best Investment: Your Health

It’s been suggested that your career is your biggest financial asset because it fuels all of your financial progress — it grows your net worth, pays for your living expenses, sends your kids to college,funds your retirement, and the like. That’s why we protect our careers with products like disability, medical, and life insurance, because without the ability to work — even for a limited amount of time — most of us would experience severe financial hardship.

But taking that line of thinking one step backwards, CNN Money suggests that your health is actually your most important financial asset. Why? Because if you’re not in good health, your career is either worthless or likely very limited! So Money suggests six ways to protect your finances by protecting your health. Their list:

  • Spot problems early – Make sure you get the tests recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
  • Pop your pills – Compared with treating disease, medication is an inexpensive lifesaver.
  • Don’t miss this drug – Aspirin can seriously reduce a man’s chances of heart attack and a woman’s chances of stroke.
  • Floss – A recent study in the Journal of Periodontology found that patients ages 40 to 59 with severe gum disease had cumulative healthcare costs 21% higher than those who had healthy gums.
  • Get more Z’s – An insomniac’s health-care costs can be $4,200 more than those of someone who sleeps well.
  • Go for a walk – Just 30 minutes a day [of moderate exercise] can lower your risk of cancer, stroke, diabetes and a host of other ills.
  • Live a longer, happier life and contribute to your bottomline at the same time. Sounds like a great deal, doesn’t it? Now, who’s up for a quick walk around the block?

    6 investments in your health [CNN Money]

    (Illustration: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Dustbunny says:

    Exercise, shmexercise. I”m waiting for the human version of that pill that slims down mice while they lie around and eat cheese.

  2. Quilt says:

    Don’t forget that regular exercise makes you more alert and you’ll likely perform better at work AND MAKE MORE MONEY. Spend less on health, make more at work. Where’s the downside of being healthy?

  3. @Dustbunny: Being slim does not always equal being fit and healthy. I know you’re saying this tongue in cheek, but a lot of people make that mistake.

    Avoiding excess fat is one thing, but exercise builds bone and muscle strength, cardiovascular strength, and more. Those benefits shouldn’t be ignored in favor of just being slim.

  4. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    And don’t be a cheapass. If you absolutely must get cosmetic surgery or LASIK, get the best doctor you can find, not the best “deal.” It may not be necessary to see a dentist as often as every 6 months, but I do it anyway. I see my Family doctor once a year. If you’re a male, be smart-see a urologist, see a gastroenterologist. Don’t be too cheap to pay for health insurance if your employer doesn’t cover it.

  5. Dustbunny says:


    I think there was something in the news last week about a pill that builds muscle. So — Phhhllltttpp :P

  6. This message has been brought to you by the Health Care Industry of America. :)

    Seriously though while I do see the health benefit of taking care of yourself its a lot more of a financial burden then a financial asset. Have you gone to the doctor during emergency hours (usually nights or weekends), or not had health insurance when you needed it, or even had health insurance but still had to foot a big bill?

    Instead of spending lots of money on researching things that we already know or things that extend the lifespan of 1% of the population use that money to lower health care costs for the rest of us.

  7. weakdome says:

    @Dustbunny: Yeah… they’re called ‘roids. They build muscle and shrink other… things.

  8. TomCruisesTesticles says:

    @TomCruisesTesticles: The only one I can’t do is the sleep option. I average 7 hours weekdays-I feel groggy before a shower and some coffee, but less than this and I’m drifting in and out of consciousness. I usually wake up the same time on weekends, but if I have a party or a movie night, I generally go to sleep a couple of hours later and sleep in. It may not be recommended, but I’ve done it for years and all my friends are like that.

  9. timmus says:

    An insomniac’s health-care costs can be $4,200 more than those of someone who sleeps well.

    Correlation does not imply causation. That kind of made me stop reading.

  10. @Dustbunny:

    I think there was something in the news last week about a pill that builds muscle. So — Phhhllltttpp :P

    I was going to make the ‘roid joke, but weakdome beat me to it.

    But that muscle pill still won’t help your bone or cardio strength. There’s no such thing as a free lunch!

  11. weakdome says:

    @InfiniTrent: I work at a school… we have kids that get free lunch :)

  12. jamesdenver says:

    Unfortunately this doesn’t addres those who REQUIRE medication for ailments like type 1 diabetes – and are dependent on good insurance to maintain it.

    With good insurance its possible for a diabetic to stay in perfect health. Without it – its picking and choosing between testing your blood sugar and putting food on your family.


  13. @weakdome: It’s not free for me though! :)

  14. A.W.E.S.O.M.-O says:

    @timmus: Agreed. I see this all the time and it drives me crazy.

  15. poetry1mind says:

    This is a decent article and makes alot of sense. Recently I have found similiar articles like this.
    I agree that our health is our best investments. It has proven itselt to be and is true that by not being healthy you costing your self alot of extra money. Also, alot of employers offer incentives to employees that are healthy and go to the gym…

  16. glorpy says:

    @LiquidGravity: The idea is that these are simple, relatively inexpensive options that you can fit into your schedule on your own time. Then you require fewer visits to those late night emergency doctors.

    Look at it this way: A lifetime of $50/month gym memberships is still cheaper than one heart attack. And as was pointed out in an earlier comment, you will likely get better jobs and earn more; and increasingly, you’ll also pay lower insurance premiums.

  17. @timmus: Correlation does not imply causation. That kind of made me stop reading.

    I noticed the same thing. An insomniac generally has psychological issues, stress, or other concerns which are proven to cause serious health problems. Such a generalization doesn’t mean anything.

  18. A-Consumer-Advocate says:

    @timmus: Correlation does not imply causation. That kind of made me stop reading.

    I disagree.

    Correlation does imply causation. It just doesn’t prove causation. Correlations are not irrelevant–solid proof doesn’t always exist. That doesn’t mean we should ignore evidence of a correlation altogether.

  19. Coelacanth says:

    @A-Consumer-Advocate: All it implies is that there’s a common link. Which way the casual relationship goes cannot be determined, neither can the true casual factors be restricted to that narrow piece of datum.

    At best, a strong correlation suggests that there’s an interesting trend that requires more study in search for causation.

    Ignore them? No, but correlations are too oft-quoted as recommendations for public policy without sufficient evidence to back them up.

  20. vpsychward1 says:

    I hate this problem with correlation/causation. People who dont floss are not going to die because they dont floss. Its that people who dont floss dont give a hoot about their health and then have other problems that they dont give a hoot about.

  21. ceriphim says:

    @LiquidGravity: Um actually no, I heard a report on NPR stating healthy people actually cost the system more in the long run, because they end up on average living much longer. Makes an odd kind of sense, actually.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @: That’s obviously part of it, but there’s ongoing research into the possibility of a direct link. It’s VERY early to say for sure, as any responsible researcher will remind you–still, see here for details.

    So what might hardening of the arteries have to do with gingivitis, that minor villain of toothpaste and mouthwash commercials?

    No one is sure yet. Experts know that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream through the gums. These same bacteria have been found clumped in artery plaques. So one theory is that these bacteria stick to the fatty plaques in the bloodstream, directly contributing to blockages.

    Other possibilities lie in the body’s own defense mechanisms against bacteria. One of the body’s natural responses to infection is inflammation (swelling). It’s possible that as these oral bacteria travel through your body, they trigger a similar response, causing the blood cells to swell. This swelling could then narrow an artery and increase the risk of clots.

    That inflammation could be the root of the problem adds to data researchers are gathering that suggest more and more diseases, including periodontal disease, heart disease, and arthritis, are partially caused by the body’s own inflammatory response…