A Healthy Focus on Finances

Those looking to improve their health and happiness may want to review their portfolio before revving up the treadmill.

A new study suggests that women who actively take control of their finances are healthier and happier than those who don’t. The study, commissioned by Northwestern Mutual, in partnership with LLuminari, a national network of evidence-based health experts, found that women who are proactive in managing their finances are significantly more likely to report that they are:

  • in excellent to very good health,
  • happy,
  • hopeful,
  • optimistic,
  • confident,
  • cheerful and
  • upbeat.

They also are less likely to say they’re worried, regretful, conflicted, disappointed and depressed.

“Being financially secure isn’t only about how much you earn and creating wealth. It’s about what you do with what you have. As the survey indicates, taking steps to control your finances can have great implications for your physical and emotional well-being,’ said Meridee Maynard, senior vice president, Northwestern Mutual. “The first step both women and men can take is to work with a financial professional to identify your goals and build an appropriate personal balance sheet that addresses your risk, investment and spending needs.’

Stress “Test’

According to the study, nearly three-quarters of women place a high importance on financial security, compared to 62% of men. Moreover, the findings show that about half of women who are actively managing their finances are likely to report “far too much stress to somewhat too much stress’ versus more than three-quarters of those who don’t take a proactive approach.

Those findings notwithstanding, overall, women still report higher levels of stress and symptoms than their male counterparts. Moreover, only 14% of women report feeling financially prepared, and are less satisfied than men with the progress they’re making toward meeting their financial goals.

The Northwestern Mutual/LLuminari study included 2,400 individuals who were surveyed online in January 2008. Working with LLuminari’s experts, Northwestern Mutual developed a questionnaire that focused on understanding the link between financial and physical health, if any. Respondents were between the ages of 25 and 69, balanced by gender. All participants have household incomes of $50,000 or more.

For more information, go to http://www.sevenfinancialhabits.com