Vera Gibbons of Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine said that health and finances are more intertwined than many people might think and the New Year is a perfect time to get both in order.
"Research shows healthy people miss fewer days, are more productive, more motivated, make more money and stay in the work force longer," she said. "Interestingly enough, it actually works the other way, too. People who suffer from financial stresses, in fact, two out of five save they suffer from ulcers, headaches, sleep disorders, physical ailments."
Gibbons said if people cut out some unhealthy habits — cigarette smoking for example — they can benefit financially.
"Say the cost of a pack of cigarettes cost $4 to keep the math simple. If a 25-year-old kicked their pack-a-day habit and takes the money they save and put it into an account earning 8 percent return each year, they will have $428,000 by the time they are 65 years old and they might live to 65 and spend less on health care," Gibbons said. "It's an interesting number."
Gibbons said in both physical goals and financial goals, it is important to start small. It's not necessary to sign up for the gym and get a personal trainer right away. Huge benefits can be reaped by small increases in physical activity.
"Same with your finances," she said, "rather than try to save 10 percent of your income every month. Start 2 percent, 3 percent, and work up."
Gibbons also said to put goals on autopilot so you don't have to give them a second thought. For example, have a set amount of money transferred from your payroll into an investment account or savings account. Make set times to work-out with a buddy.
Quick fixes, both in finance and fitness, are to be avoided, Gibbons said.
"Just like you want to avoid the miracle diet pills, avoid the red flag financial claims products that declare unbelievable results," she said. "Stay away from that and pace yourself. Studies show when people are served more food, they eat more. Similarly with your finances you may be offered a high credit limit or a larger loan than you need leaving you to charge more than you can afford."