Money Management = Stress Management
In their book "Age-Proof: Living Longer Without Running Out of Money or Breaking a Hip," Today show financial expert Jean Chatzky and Cleveland Clinic chief wellness officer Michael F. Roizen, M.D., explore the effects of financial stress. They find that the impact on your health depends on your reaction to potentially stressful events.
When confronted with financial difficulties, for example, it's best to calmly meet the problem head-on and seek solutions. You might also fall back on an existing investment plan for reassurance or seek assistance from a financial professional. Reacting with immediate stress and anxiety can result in physical symptoms over time—high blood pressure, fatigue, overeating etc.—and cloud your decision making.
Stress begets stress, so remember that your response and frame of mind may affect your health and your ability to overcome your situation.
Start with Healthy Habits
Even if you don't have a specific "health plan," most of us do have components of a plan in our daily routines. Regular exercise, balanced meals, annual physicals, and even hobbies keep us healthy and happy. When we're stressed, we can deviate from our normal habits. We may eat out more or skip the morning workout, which may affect our health and doesn't fix the underlying problem.
The same goes for our financial habits. At American Century Investments®, we tell our clients that a comprehensive financial plan is key to building wealth. Our experience has been that people with a plan save more than those who don't. At the same time, a plan may help you handle the ups and downs (and stresses!) of financial hazards along the way—economic downturns, illness and resulting health care costs, job loss.
We can help you set investment goals and understand your priorities. Figure out what you're investing for (retirement, college) and estimate the amount you may need for each goal. Then design an investment strategy using the amount of time you have to reach the goal, how much you'll need to regularly invest, and your comfort with investment risk along the way.