Saving for retirement is good for your health!
Written by Paul Dodd on April 10, 2015.
The link between financial and physical wellbeing is evident. Those with a healthy bank balance generally maintain better health than those without as they can afford to pay for the care, advice and information necessary to keep themselves physically fit. It follows that in retirement, those who have better pension savings stand a better chance of keeping health problems at bay as they age as they can afford access to better treatment and resources.
However, a recent study by researchers at Washington University, suggests that the very act of saving for your retirement, could be good for your health. For the study, researchers gathered data about the employees of eight industrial laundry plants across a number of US states. The information collated included whether employees contributed to their 4012(k) retirement plans and how they reacted to bad news about their health. Blood tests and other health checks were carried out at the beginning of the study and the employees were given information detailing anticipated future health risks and warnings about behaviour which would be potentially damaging to their health.
Over a two year period, the behaviour of the group was monitored, looking specifically at attempts to improve their health and their financial planning habits. Tests on blood glucose and cholesterol levels showed that those who made attempts to address their health issues, were the same employees who made attempts to improve their financial planning. Interestingly, factors such as life expectancy, conscientiousness and financial need had no effect on the health risk indicators.
The conclusion of the study was that there seems to be a direct correlation between retirement contribution patterns and future health improvements. Those who contributed to their pension were 27% more likely than those who did not to have improved their test results and to have heeded warnings about bad health behaviours.
That is just one more compelling argument to start saving for your pension, if you have not already done so. It seems obvious to me that the peace of mind offered by the act of thinking ahead and ensuring that you have sufficient retirement income to live out your golden years in comfort should relieve stress and bring health benefits, but now we have concrete proof!