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Maggie Jover: Health, wealth tips for the New Year

Most New Year’s Resolutions involve health and money. Lose 20 pounds, for example, or save $50 a week.

Most people think of health and wealth as “separate” goals but, in fact, both aspects of life are closely related. Want to be healthy and wealthy? Consider these steps:

n Build health capital —  Health is a financial asset, just like stocks and bonds. It decreases the odds of costly medical bills today and/or later in life.  Without good health, you can’t earn an income and build wealth.

n Junk the junk food — Just cut it out: soda, fast food, fatty pastries, chips — you know the drill. Not only will you lose weight (trimming 100 calories a day equals 10 pounds of annual weight loss), but you’ll pocket the savings. Save $7 a day on “empty calorie” foods and drinks and you’ll have more than $2,500 in a year.

n Half-size food portion — Instead of eating four cookies a day, eat two. Bring half a meal home from restaurants and eat less at home. Getting two meals from one can save hundreds of dollars (and thousands of calories) annually. For example, saving $3 a day by doubling up results in savings of more than $1,000 a year.

n Stay fit to work — Maintaining good health increases the odds of being productive and working as long as you want to instead of retiring because you have to (e.g., disability). This can translate into thousands of dollars at retirement.

n Sweat the small stuff — “Little” things matter! Healthy habits that save big bucks over time include washing your hands frequently to avoid the expense of flu and flossing your teeth to help prevent periodontal disease.

n Make prevention a priority — This includes annual physicals, screening exams (e.g., mammograms), immunizations and regular dental checkups, all of which can help avoid high-cost medical expenses later.

n Don’t sacrifice health for wealth. The greatest wealth is health. Don’t pursue financial success at the expense of your health. A lifestyle of eating on the run, inadequate sleep, inactivity and 60-plus-hour workweeks has a way of catching up with people. You’ll likely pay the price in medical bills and/or lost productivity.

As you go into this new year, remember to take small steps to achieve health and wealth.


MAGGIE JOVER is the family and consumer sciences county extension agent with Texas AgriLife Extension. She can be reached at 940-349-2882.