Putting Your Health Before Your Finances

Jeremy BiberdorfBy: Jeremy Biberdorf

May 28, 2012May 28, 2012

Putting Your Health Before Your Finances

So far, a big part of my blogging journey has focused on thinking back to my previous financial decisions. It’s made me think about my Betterment portfolio performance. I admit that I’m pretty critical of myself, but I feel that is necessary if you really want to improve.

You can’t always just put on your rose colored glasses and tell yourself that you’re doing pretty well. Sometimes you have to accept the truth that you’ve made some mistakes. You don’t have to dwell on those things and get yourself down. The key is that you somehow learn from those mistakes.

One area that I was particularly naïve was how I viewed health. I thought that while I was young with no obvious problems that I just didn’t need to worry about it. As a result I was irresponsible and abused my body.

This may not seem like a financial mistake, but I’m really learning it all comes full circle. Your body is a fine tuned machine. If you don’t take care of it, it simply won’t operate properly. The surprising part is that the results can be experienced where you don’t expect them. Specifically, how you treat your body can affect how your brain functions.

Personal Experiences With Health Affecting Finances

In my case, I let my career choice and drive come way ahead of my health. I spent long hours sitting in front of a computer, getting inadequate exercise, and eating poorly. I was consuming plenty of toxins and I wasn’t doing anything to help my body purge them.

I kept telling myself that once my online business picked up, I would spend the extra money on healthier food and allocate more time to exercise. Meanwhile, little did I realize that these choices were limiting my career growth by making me extremely irritable and depressed. On top of that, I was exhibiting physical symptoms that reduced my confidence levels and discouraged me from pursuing many opportunities.

Somehow, I didn’t realize the obvious connection between my health choices and my moods. I figured I was just naturally an angry guy and that I would have to deal with it psychologically at some point. Maybe I just subconsciously didn’t want to give up my fast food, sweets, alcohol and drugs. Yep, I was pretty dumb.

As a result of my mental state I would just get fed up at my jobs after a while. Eventually, I’d get too overwhelmed by little things that were making me angry. I’d either end up quitting or stop putting sufficient effort into my job. In my mind the only long term solution was to get my online business profitable enough so that I could avoid the stresses of a daytime job.

Drifting through my career like that was a recipe for failure. I was skilled with my work, but I wasn’t able to maintain momentum to build up substantial commission at my daytime jobs. By avoiding the higher end jobs in my industry, I was rarely working in a company with room for upward growth.

It all came down to how I was neglecting my health and creating a dangerous cycle of mental destruction.

How I Came To My Senses About My Health

Like many people with mental struggles, I had to go through some rough times to realize I needed to do something about it. What woke me up was having a relationship fail after 7+ years and being without a job when I was suddenly faced with paying higher rent and bills. My already low self esteem was being severely tested.

I was lucky enough to come across a book from an alternative medicine doctor who I know my mom had a lot of faith in. I decided it was worth checking out. The book was Spontaneous Happiness by Dr. Andrew Weil.

Basically it opened my mind to how important physical health is to maintain mental well being. When I got thinking of how bad I treated my body, it was all starting to make sense.

I’m still in the process of putting Dr. Weil’s advice into practice, but I’m already noticing a big difference. I’ve been getting outdoors more, eating better and exercising more. Those lifestyle changes are making me much happier and I’m in the best shape in a long time.

Just this past weekend, I had an appointment with a naturopath to discuss the problems that I’m still dealing with. She further emphasized what I had already been reading. Plus she explained how all the toxins in my system were clogging up my organs and limiting their effectiveness.

So I just started doing a liver detox routine with some daily medicine and further improving my diet. Now I know exactly which foods and beverages I should be avoiding and which ones I should be getting more of. The tricky part is phasing out all the unhealthy stuff that I’m so used to eating. That will take a bit of time. I probably should’ve looked into a health and wellness coach a long time ago.

I’m very excited to see the outcome of all of these positive changes. If this lifestyle 180 goes well, it’s going to affect nearly every aspect of my life….career, finances, even my sex life. Just thinking about it I feel like a new man and I believe all of my efforts will continue to pay off. I just wonder where I’d be at if I smartened up 5-10 years ago. I’ll just have to make up for lost time ?

Has your health ever negatively affected your finances? Do you feel that taking care of your health will lead you to more savings? Are you doing everything within your power to lead a healthy lifestyle? If not, what do you feel is stopping you?

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Jeremy Biberdorf
Jeremy Biberdorf

About the Author:

Jeremy Biberdorf is the founder of Modest Money. He's a father of 2 beautiful girls, a dog owner, a long-time online entrepreneur and an investing enthusiast.

46 thoughts on “Putting Your Health Before Your Finances”

  1. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving

    I’m glad you’re feeling better now that you are focusing more on your health. 🙂

    Aside from smoking, I’ve been trying to improve my health and it feels great. I never realized how crappy I felt when eating junk before, but now it just makes me feel nasty. Oh, and exercise—I love it now, I can’t believe how great I feel after a ton of cardio. 🙂

    Good luck.

    1. Awesome to hear Jen. I’m slowing getting there, but the new diet will take some getting used to. Good luck with dealing with that smoking habit next 🙂 Then you’ll really get your cardio back and feel like a kid again.

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