Health Vs. Wealth

HEALTH VERSUS WEALTHRecently, my husband shared an article he’d read with me. The article, in part, contrasted lifestyle choices of the wealthy versus impoverished segments of society. The beneficial behaviors demonstrated by wealthy individuals fascinated me. I felt compelled to share some of the key points and am interested to hear your thoughts about this list.

 

Wealthy people:

*consistently exercise.
*pay more attention to what they eat.
*eat more vegetables and whole foods.
*take time to learn what is beneficial for physical    health.
*do not rely on fast food, packaged or convenience foods.
*listen to their bodies and are more aware of how foods make them feel.
*schedule time to meditate, relax and be with their thoughts.
*are more active in disease prevention.
*develop good wellness habits.
*do not accept debilitation as a normal part of the aging process.
*take vitamins and supplements to improve their health.
*take fewer prescription drugs.
*make fewer trips to the doctor.
*are more likely to employ coaches – business/health coaches and personal trainers.

 

For clarity sake, I would like to include some interesting statistics regarding wealth distribution in the United States. The following information, authored by G. William Domhoff, can be found by clicking here:

 

Exactly how rich are the Top 1%?

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People often wonder exactly how much income and/or wealth someone needs to have to be included in the Top 1% or the Top 20%; Table 1 below lists some absolute dollar amounts associated with various income and wealth classes, but the important point to keep in mind is that for the most part, it’s the relative positions of wealth holders and income earners that we are trying to comprehend in this document.

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Table 1: Income, net worth, and financial worth in the U.S. by percentile, in 2010 dollars

 

Wealth or income class

Mean household income

Mean household net worth

Mean household financial (non-home) wealth

Top 1 percent

$1,318,200

$16,439,400

$15,171,600

Top 20 percent

$226,200

$2,061,600

$1,719,800

60th-80th percentile

$72,000

$216,900

$100,700

40th-60th percentile

$41,700

$61,000

$12,200

Bottom 40 percent

$17,300

($10,600)

($14,800)

From Wolff (2012); only mean figures are available, not medians. Note that income and wealth are separate measures; so, for example, the top 1% of income-earners is not exactly the same group of people as the top 1% of wealth-holders, although there is considerable overlap.

 

All of this information makes me wonder what part wealth plays in flipping the psychological switch — in consistent versus inconsistent exercise habits, in eating fast/convenient/processed foods versus eating a healthy/balanced diet and in exhibiting apathy/disinterest versus being actively engaged/in control of one’s health/lifestyle?

 

The last item on the list (employing coaches) is the only one costing an appreciable amount of money and evokes the question, “Is it a matter of money, mindset or priority?”

 

What, exactly, triggers the desire to care about your health and wellness? (click here to tweet)

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I genuinely look forward to hearing your thoughts and I urge you to share your experiences with our community members. 

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Wishing you a health-filled & wealth-filled day!

Christine Alejandro

About Christine

Christine works with people who are tired of not feeling their best, who are ready for a change and want to achieve optimal health. Christine uses the unique combination of being a psychotherapist and a nutritionist to bring health and wellness into her clients' lives holistically. She utilizes the principles of The Vital Health Formula™, modern assessment techniques, and the latest research from science, spirituality and psychology to create breakthrough systems that result in her clients' success.

9 thoughts on “Health Vs. Wealth

  1. Happy to say I practice all those things on your list! It is an interesting chicken and egg question. I know people that have chosen money first and others that have chosen health first. In my area of the country, fresh organic food is significantly more expensive, but when we tested in our family, eating organic is worth it. We have more energy and think more clearly. Because of that, we can produce more and make more, not to mention we’re happier.

    Choosing health is a matter of priorities. We chose to take the more expensive options even back when we didn’t have the income. We sacrificed elsewhere. It was a good choice for us.

    Unfortunately for us, it was two major health issues that forced us into a healthy lifestyle. Hopefully others reading your blog will not reach our level of pain before they make a switch.
    Stephanie Calahan recently posted…It’s Time to Shed the “Should”My Profile

    • Thank you Stephanie for such an insightful comment and I’m sorry you had such health problems, but they seem to have brought you many blessings!

    • Thanks, Danielle, for reading & sharing your thoughts! You brought up a very good point about using the barter system for a coach. That is an excellent suggestion, and, you are absolutely right! The bartering system is a great way to get many things/services at little to no cost — just trading your time/expertise with another professional that has the time/expertise you need. Thanks for stopping by & making such a wonderful suggestion!

  2. Christine, this is one of the best blogs I’ve read in awhile. FULL of useful and thought provoking content. This is a very interesting list.

    Some people make changes after something happens or change is triggered by the realization that the pain of staying the way there are is greater than the pain of changing. I think that’s a big part of the decision-making process. Regarding hiring coaches, I think there are two factors:
    1. Money
    2. Wealthy people have a success mindset and realize they need to surround themselves with like-minded people and being dedicated to their success means working tirelessly on their own development.

    Thanks for your post!!!
    Tandy Elisala recently posted…13 Ways to a Happier DayMy Profile

  3. There are many lower income families that I see on a weekly basis and I think for them a lot of the challenge comes down to time. Many families are a single parent, working two jobs, completely worn out and depleted. Even families that have two parents are often in a similar place. So I think much of it is mindset, in the sense of helping them see the quick and easy ways to make some small changes in the life.
    Brenda Adams recently posted…Decluttering – The ONE Place You Have Likely Not Thought OfMy Profile

    • I agree Brenda. I work with a lot of lower income families also and they are burning the candle at 8 ends! I always talk about starting where you are and up leveling- little changes, baby steps, one thing at a time.

  4. I’d be curious as to the source of the information in that article. The reason I’m curious is that I wonder whether these results were actually observed in the wealthy, or was it just what the wealthy reported that they were doing.

    I don’t doubt that poor people have a harder time making time to practice as good health habits. But I know a lot of well-off people who don’t do much of anything for their health.

    The scientist in me also wonders which is causation and which is correlation. For example, it could be that people with more prescriptions had the bad luck of getting ill, which reduced their financial circumstances. In that case, it wasn’t their wealth that made some use fewer prescription medications, but the illness that caused the absence of wealth.

    Maybe I’m just in the mood to be mildly academic today. 🙂
    Gina Hiatt recently posted…She Gets Things Done…My Profile

    • No, Gina, all very good points and it was my husband reporting on an article he read on the internet or else I would have gotten the reference if I had been the one reading it. But it made me think and it was just a post to make others think and I wondered if they agreed or not. I too know wealthy people who do little to improve their health, so it makes me wonder if it isn’t something outside of economic status–there are plenty of students who are poor, but work out like crazy, but then you have the youth factor and the motivation of wanting to “look good”. When I do the “Emotional Mind Set” part of my UBS with people, I find they have many reasons to want to be healthy, but the switch has pretty much all ready been flipped when they seek me out to start working with me. I have started asking them what caused the interest in wanting to take action and sometimes it is because they or someone close to them have had a health scare, sometimes it is because they have gotten the time in their life to finally do something about their health and sometimes it has been because they have started reading more and become more aware. Those are the reasons I have gotten so far.

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