Every day, as an organization, we speak with individuals about the building and preservation of capital. But along this journey with investors, invariably a few intangible factors always seem to influence an investors decision-making mindset…even more so than the numbers or return profile. Their HEALTH!
“When health is absent…wealth becomes useless.” –Herophilus
The Deep link between health and wealth is clear and few things destroy wealth, or impact the upward mobility of wealth, like poor health. However, most folks think of health in the context of the body only. The basics for a healthier body is a trillion dollar industry including, the right foods, diets, supplements, limiting sugar, exercising regularly, not smoking or taking illegal drugs, limiting alcohol consumption, stress reduction, and getting plenty of sleep.
However, focus on distilling the human experience down to only the physical outermost man, dilutes the mind/soul and spiritual health of an individual. All three ingredients act like a three–legged stool supporting one another towards total health. If one is weak, the stability of overall health will be impacted, or may not function at all.
The connection between health and wealth should be deeply understood by everyone, and it is therefore important to create and roll out strategies to manage both for truly life-enhancing benefits and opportunities.
But why is this such a challenge? And where does it typically go wrong?
Health: “A persons mental or physical state of being free from illness or injury”
Wealth: “What is left over in abundance that has and stores value”
Does more monetary wealth mean an abundance of health?
According to the studies from Universities and CDC…income is directly linked to physical health outcomes (figure 1).
Figure 1 – CDC, Self-reported poor health by income, 2011
This would make sense on its face, as wealthy individuals have more access to healthier food, housing, transportation, school systems, investment opportunities, and medical resources.
However, what about investors who have currently built their wealth…those who have spent their life making wise financial decisions or sacrificing for their business? Many times, this cost of abundance has come at the cost of physical health. Americans spend more than $3.5 trillion annually on health-related expenses. There are very few destroyers of wealth quite like poor physical health. Per the HHS, more than 80% of adults do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Recent reports project that by 2030, half of all adults (115 million adults) in the United States will be obese. But the state of physical health is not as simple as just taking care of the body.
The link between the body and the outer man’s mind/soul is like determining which came first…the chicken or the egg. Either way they are both dependent on each other for an abundance of health. The soul encompasses one’s identity, personality, character, emotions, intellect, will, and conscience. But outside of external forces, nothing has quite the power over the body, as the mind does. The mind is the computer of the body, which performs over ten quadrillion (10,000,000,000,000,000) operations per second! But one in five Americans has a mental health disorder. Whether diagnosed or undiagnosed, an estimated 43.8 million Americans experience a serious mental illness such as depression. Americans Spend Over $200 Billion annually treating mental health conditions between prescription medication, therapy sessions, and hospital visits.
The 4 brain chemicals
- Endorphin — the pain-masking chemical
- Dopamine — the goal-achieving chemical
- Serotonin — the leadership chemical
- Oxytocin — the chemical of love/connection
The mind controls the body with power chemicals that can aid in overall health. However, an overabundance of survival chemicals like cortisol, adrenaline, and norepinephrine can lead to long term mental and physical health complications. People with less income are four times more likely to report being nervous and five times more likely to report sadness “all or most of the time” (figure 2).
Figure 2 – CDC, Feelings by income, 2011
The whole person is made of the tangible outer man, but also embodies the inner man. Ones spirit is defined as “the spiritual or immaterial essence of a person, embodied.” A person’s spirit, or inner man, is where discernment, wisdom, peace, revelation, and communication with God take place. A survey recently showed 9 out of 10 people believe in something higher than themselves, transcendent, and external. This deep sense of worth, purpose, and meaning has extremely powerful health benefits. Spiritual wealth and abundance are not found in the tangible things, but perceived in the innermost intangible parts that transcend the physical man.
“The mind governed by the spirit is life and peace.” –Romans 8:6
This innermost purpose and passion influence the mind/soul, change life decisions and paths, and can sometimes be considered as irrational or based on faith or things that are unseen.
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
However few people, 9 minutes on average, spend time connecting spiritually whether through prayer, meditation, reading, or nature.
The Wealth Link
Wealth is found in both monetary and non-monetary things. Having an abundance of money, however, is useless unless built upon an abundance of healthy body, mind, and spirit. While wealthier folks do experience better health outcomes because of their wealth, poor health can not only destroy current wealth but affect the occurrence of wealth to begin with.
Mental pain, physical pain, fear, and worry are difficult conditions and mindsets that we see all the time…and they unfortunately impact the decision–making of many investors. While the basics for creating a healthier lifestyle are widely accepted and known to many people…they still do not implement them! The steps for devising, implementing, and managing financial planning strategies are, arguably, not quite as simple due to the personal mindsets and circumstances of each individual. In all cases, having advisors, trainers, spiritual leaders, or friends that can speak into or implement your path to health and wealth…is the key to unlocking these challenges…and the life-changing benefits and opportunities that they may afford.