As it turns out, wellness is just like any other investment.
If you feel like boutique fitness classes, pricey juice cleanses, and a closet full of athleisure are the new normal, you’re not alone. After all, SoulCycle has become a social event, Lululemon is considered acceptable work attire, and everything from regular massages to jade eggs are marketed in the name of self-care.
It doesn’t take long for your wallet to feel the effects, especially when some fitness classes in New York City cost upwards of $40 per session and annual spending on studio passes can easily reach $5,000 or more. Even a $20 drop-in fee is steep for those on tighter budgets. The question becomes: Is it worth it?
As it turns out, wellness is a lot like any other investment: Spend a little bit now, and you could see significant rewards later. Here are a few ways in which investing in wellness is actually good for your wallet.
Spend on Wellness, Save on Health Care
Improved well-being helps reduce what you spend on medical care throughout your life. Health care expenditures in the United States already top $2.7 trillion annually. A significant amount of this is spent on preventable conditions — and the impact of these conditions could be lessened with basic wellness practices. Medical bills are the leading cause of bankruptcy, so your yoga pass and CSA box are dollars well spent to maintain your long-term physical, mental, and financial health.
Healthy people make fewer trips to the doctor, which lessens co-payments, pricey prescriptions, and disruptions to family commitments, work responsibilities, and income, says Jaime Malone, M.A., LPC, of Insight Counseling and Consulting in New Jersey. She adds that prioritizing wellness allows you to take care of your health on your schedule and your budget.
Reduce Your Day-to-Day Expenses
Wellness also has measurable financial benefits beyond your medical bills, according to D.C.-area personal trainer and wellness expert Laura Arndt. For example, cooking at home is generally less expensive and better for you than dining out. With a little bit of planning, smarter shopping strategies, and basic tools like a slow cooker and a blender, you can prepare healthy meals in your own kitchen. This saves you cash now and heartache (literally) later.
Your wellness habit can also help you save on things like revamping your wardrobe with frequent size changes, as well as over-the-counter medications for preventable illnesses. Intangible benefits include improved happiness, lower levels of anxiety and stress, increased productivity, and stronger community and connection.
Wellness Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
You could spend all of your disposable income on the latest wellness trends, but you don’t have to. If you’re on a budget, start small with activities that don’t require equipment or space. Look for family discounts, online deals, or introductory passes. And don’t forget the health benefits of simply going outside!
Fitness-focused smartphone apps are less expensive alternatives to studio memberships. If you do want to shell out for classes or training sessions, you’ll reap a myriad of benefits, like variety, accountability, convenience, and coaching, which may help you stay committed for longer and get more bang for your buck.
Focus on the Long Game
When it comes to wellness, you’re playing for keeps — physically and financially. Matthew Eads, Chartered Financial Analyst® charterholder with Eads & Heald in Atlanta, Ga., recommends making your “health portfolio” part of your long-term financial plan. “A healthier lifestyle should lead to lower expenses on your health care, which in turn can aid in building a larger retirement nest egg,” he says. A clean bill of health also boosts your eligibility for lower life and disability insurance premiums.
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest wellness trends and to look for quick fixes. However, like a 401(k), your health is a valuable asset that requires time, commitment, and consistent contributions to grow. Better health will not show up on your bank statement every month, and just as you can’t expect to retire forever after a week of work, results won’t happen overnight. The investments — large and small — you make in your wellness today are money in the bank for a better future.