Healthy living linked to wealth

Healthy living linked to wealth

There is a strong link between a healthy lifestyle and financial wellness, researchers have found.

According to research compiled by financial services firm Momentum UK and the University of Bristol, people with poor health are more likely to miss bill payments and have low savings, while better health is linked to improved financial wellness.

More than one in 10 (11 per cent) people who follow a poor diet have missed a bill payment in the last year, twice the number of healthy eaters (5 per cent) who have missed similar payments.

About one in six people (17 per cent) who class their health as ‘poor’ have missed a bill payment in the last 12 months, compared with 5 per cent who rate themselves as being in excellent health.

Furthermore, those who were in poor health were twice as likely as those in excellent health to have no money saved.

Samantha Seaton, managing director of Momentum UK (Retail), said becoming financially well is not something that can be achieved overnight.

She said: "It is a personal journey for most, that will take a level of commitment, honesty and reflection.

“The link between financial and physical health is strong in this year’s index, which is not wholly surprising when you start to analyse the similarities in behaviour needed to achieve both.

"Whether you’re improving your fitness or trying to improve your financial picture success will be found by taking small steps to achieving your longer-term goals.

Professor Sharon Collard, director of the Personal Finance Research Centre, University of Bristol, said navigating the financial maze that we live in can be an extremely daunting experience, especially as most people receive little to no financial education in their childhood, teenage years and early twenties.

She said: “The economic instability of the last decade has made the job of managing one’s finances all the more difficult, which is why now more than ever, it is important that we have a thorough understanding of the financial health of UK households. 

“Financial wellness should be a priority not just for individuals but for policymakers.” 

However, while the report confirmed a strong correlation between good physical health and good financial health, the nature of the correlation was not clear, and advisers have suggested that any connection may be one-sided.

 “I don’t think any scientist can prove categorically yet that a good health leads to good financial decision-making,” said Ruban Sanmuganathan, financial planner at Plutus Wealth Management. “I think it is more a case of people with money are able to have good health.

“The correlation doesn’t necessarily lead to the causation, but the sort of people who have more money are more likely to spend more on their health.”

He added that some annuity providers have already spotted this correlation and are amending their pricing accordingly.