By Laura Woods GOBankingRates.com.
If you're experiencing health problems, your poor money choices could be the root cause. Some of the issues might be glaringly obvious, while others might take a little digging to uncover.
"The best way to find out why you are having a health issue and if it is caused by money is to be honest with yourself," said Debbi King, a personal finance expert based in Quakertown, Pa. "It is like an onion, you have to peel back each layer one by one until you find the true root of the issue."
A 2014 study from the American Psychological Association found that 64 percent of adults feel stressed about money. If you haven't been feeling up to par lately, the state of your finances could be to blame. Learn three ways your money choices are making you sick so you can work to overcome them.
EATING OUT EXCESSIVELY Avid diners told Zagat that they eat out 4.5 times per week and spend approximately $39.50 per meal, totaling $177.75. A 2013 survey by University of Toronto researchers revealed that the average restaurant meal contains 1,128 calories, 56 percent of the average 2,000 calorie intake recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for healthy adults.
At an average of $3 to $6 each, fast food meals are significantly less expensive but can also lead to obesity.
"I find that people are easily fooled into thinking fast food is inexpensive," said R. Joseph Ritter Jr., a certified financial planner and founder of Zacchaeus Financial Counseling in Hobe Sound, Fla. "People also often have little knowledge of how much they spend on eating out. The two oversights combined can quickly lead to excessive eating out."
RACKING UP CREDIT CARD DEBT Your credit score isn't the only thing that will suffer if you bury yourself in credit card debt. Researchers from Northwestern and McGill universities in 2013 linked excessive levels of debt in young adults to higher diastolic blood pressure and lower self-reported general and mental health.
The study revealed that people with higher levels of debt had a 1.3 percent increase in diastolic blood pressure, which is significant, as a two-point increase is indicative of a 17 percent greater risk of hypertension and a 15 percent higher risk of stroke. Additionally, researchers found that those with high levels of debt reported an 11.7 percent greater level of perceived stress and 13.2 percent higher symptoms of depression than those who were not enduring financial difficulties.
FAILING TO SAVE FOR RETIREMENT Many financial planners advise saving 10 to 15 percent of your income for your golden years, starting in your 20s. If you've fallen behind, this might be adversely impacting your health. Aegon's 2015 Retirement Readiness Survey found that aspiring retirement savers were only 46 percent optimistic about maintaining good health in retirement, while habitual savers were 69 percent hopeful.
In a 2014 Federal Reserve Board survey, 31 percent of non-retired respondents had no retirement savings whatsoever, including 19 percent ages 55 to 64. Nearly half of adults were not actively saving for retirement, with 24 percent admitting they had only given the matter a little thought and 25 percent revealing they had taken no steps to prepare at all.
TIME TO GET HELP If you are experiencing any of these money issues, it's important to seek help. Don't force yourself to endure constant suffering because you're too ashamed or stubborn to admit there's a problem.
"No one can be happy and healthy if they are constantly stressed out about money," King said. "Get help from a coach, a successful mentor, a pastor, someone who has been there and someone you can trust. Don't be afraid to get to the bottom of the issues. You will save money in life and in your health." ___ Laura Woods writes for GOBankingRates.com, a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.