If you care about your mental and physical health, chances are you try to eat right, get regular exercise and try to stay positive. Well, consider socking away money in your banking or investment accounts, too: research shows that saving is good for your health.
A survey by U.S.-based All Bank found that the more you save, the more likely you are to be happy. A surprising 84 percent of people surveyed said having money in the bank contributes to their overall well-being, more than eating healthy foods, having an enjoyable job, or getting regular exercise.
Why saving feels good
Avni Shah, a research fellow with the Behavioural Economics in Action Research Cluster at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management, says, “There is no doubt that by increasing saving and using better purchasing habits, you reduce stress.” She points to a U.K. survey of 585 bank customers that found “having readily accessible sources of cash is of unique importance to life satisfaction, above and beyond raw earnings, investments or indebtedness.”
“There is constant stress from the mindset that you are screwed financially,” says Shah. “Then there’s the ‘What the hell effect’: you’re so underwater, you keep making worse and worse decisions.” But even when you’re not living close to the wire, having a nest egg confers peace of mind – savings positively impact every income bracket.
When you take a holistic view of health and include the social determinants, the biggest one is your financial health.
A domino effect
Unexpectedly, growing your savings may help you be more virtuous in other parts of your life. According to Megan Nobrega, partnership manager at Carrot Rewards, a new mobile app that gives people free loyalty points in return for engaging with wellness-related content, says these different aspects of health are linked, and feed off each other. “When you take a holistic view of health and include the social determinants, the biggest one is your financial health,”she says. “When you’re confident you have sufficient savings, you’ll be healthier in other parts of your life. When you have more money, you’ll opt for good food instead of fast food.”
If you want to feel good about your lot in life – and who doesn’t? – then saving is key. How can you be a better saver? Start making little changes, says Shah.
“People tend to procrastinate about saving money,” she says. “They think putting away small amounts of money won’t make a difference. But little changes make us more confident and improve well-being.”
One way to save is to use preauthorized contributions from your bank account into an investment account. Your money, and your sense of well-being, can then grow without much effort.
Speak to your financial advisor about increasing how much you save and then go for a walk, eat some greens and revel in how great you feel, body and mind.