Most people would agree that two very important aspects of life are good health and financial security. According to Angie Hollerich, author of The Health and Wealth Factors, there are twelve parallels between factors that affect good health habits and financial success.
A financial advisor, Hollerich wrote her book after noticing similarities between her personal process of losing weight and the financial advice that she gave to clients. Below is a brief discussion of each of these twelve factors:
Environment--A health environment example is having a refrigerator and microwave available at work so that you can bring healthy lunches to eat. A financial environment example is influential advertising that encourages people to buy things or an employer 401(k) plan that matches savings.
Motivation--In health, there are a number of things that motivate people including looking good, being able to wear favorite clothes, and a need to have more energy. Financial motivators include control, security, and a desire for financial independence.
Attitude--To be healthy, you have to decide that exercise is important and make time for it. No excuses. Financially, an example of changing one's attitude is deciding to eliminate bad spending habits and put the money into savings.
Habits--Habits influence how people behave. Habit-observation activities (e.g., diet or spending diaries) are helpful to identify both health and financial behaviors that can be improved.
Family--Childhood influences and social supports affect both eating habits and financial practices. Family members can be a resource or an obstacle to achieving one's goals.
Budget--How much to eat and calories burned with various types of exercise are the "budgeting" process of weight management. Similarly, a financial budget balances income and expenses. Creating both types of budgets enhances feelings of control.
Education--Information about healthy lifestyle factors and the basics of personal finance takes time and effort. The result, however, is more informed decisions, such as better food choices and investment strategies based upon a person's goals and time frame.
Goals--Realistic health and financial goals provide a tangible vision of the future. Always write down your goals so that they become a benchmark for future progress.
Time--Time can set a deadline for both health and financial goals (e.g., how long will it take to lose 20 pounds or save $3,000). It also affects specific actions taken, such as the amount of time available to exercise or to research investment options.
Age--It is never too late to make improvements to one's health or finances. While it may be more difficult to accumulate a retirement nest egg or lose weight when you're older, it can be done. Taking some action at any age is better than doing nothing.
Needs vs. Wants--It is as necessary to control food intake to be healthy as it is to control spending to be successful financially. Determining whether certain foods or any other items that may be purchased are wants or needs can help budget both calories and dollars.
Risk--Risk exists for both health and financial decisions. Educate yourself about these risks (e.g., the risks of certain diet plans or investments) and weigh the pros and cons of choices.
Changing health and finance habits takes time. Frustration and anxiety along the way can be expected. According to one theory about changing behavior, change occurs when the amount of dissatisfaction with current conditions, coupled with clarity about future possibilities and clarity about a plan for changing one's behavior, exceeds the perceived cost of making a change (e.g., personal discomfort). In other words, people instinctively evaluate the costs and benefits of changing their behavior and take action when they believe it is in their best interest to do so.