Group hopes to promote healthy financial habits

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Organizers of Healthy Denton, a new community-based initiative, hope to use financial and legal preparedness as a way to prevent physical, mental and emotional problems.

“So much of wellness that is talked about is weight loss, healthier eating, exercise. But when an individual has life stressors like paying their bills, relationships — those take precedence,” said Tom Montgomery, one of Healthy Denton’s founders. “For every family, that is often the underlying cause of stress.”

The group’s first initiative is to work on the foundation of financial preparedness. Members plan to reach out to area employers and offer free 30-minute financial workshops.

Healthy Denton representatives will sit down with employers and assess what health and wellness services are offered and the level of employee participation.

“Our goal is supplement where there is a void,” Montgomery said.

Someone who has financial or legal stressors can become so overwhelmed that they can’t concentrate on work, which decreases productivity and work attendance and can lead to increased health insurance claims, Montgomery said.

Healthy Denton hopes to help fix that through the workshops as well as one-on-one sessions and other programs.

The agency gave its first presentation Wednesday night at the Hilton Garden Inn, one of its sponsors.

Montgomery said the diversity among participants illustrates that credit and financial struggles can affect a wide range of people.

“There are a lot of misnomers as to who runs into credit challenges — it’s not necessarily irresponsible, low-income people,” he said.

Healthy Denton will have another workshop at the hotel Aug. 1.

“This is a great channel to get people in the community involved in all the aspects of the healthy lifestyle,” said Byron Taylor, director of sales for the Hilton Garden Inn in Denton.

Taylor said a lot of outlets don’t disclose the financial importance of healthy living.

“With the current economy, we think that is a valuable way to look at being healthy,” Taylor said.

Other sponsors include Geico and S&J Pharmacy. Montgomery is hopeful the group can secure grant money in the future to help with operations.

City of Denton officials have been in contact with Healthy Denton, Montgomery said.

“We hope to meet with them soon, coordinating with the Age Well Live Well program. There’s a lot of discussions of creating a healthier community, and we fit an important niche with some of the financial topics people aren’t talking about,” he said. “Our goal is to create a healthier community, in an objective and quantifiable way.”

BJ LEWIS can be reached at 940-566-6875. His e-mail address is blewis@dentonrc.com .

 


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