Health? Wealth… or both?

So many people spend their health gaining wealth,
and then have to spend their wealth to regain their health.
A.J. Reb Materi

Many overweight people are unaware of the significant impact their health can have on their financial situation. If you’re overweight you can expect to pay higher personal insurance premiums, for example. Being healthy and wealthy have a lot in common and should be everyone’s goal.

Being healthy and wealthy follow the same basic principles. You have to contribute little and often and be consistent without taking unreasonable risks.  You can ask for specific advice from a financial advisor for your wealth needs and from a fitness professional for your health needs.

People do what they do on a daily basis due to habit: brush teeth, go to work, contribute to super, go home and go to bed.  Habits are vital for making our complicated lives work. The problem is that we often don’t choose our habits and we pick up both good and bad ones. When was the last time you sat down and had a good look at the way you are living your life?  Did you actually choose to eat processed or fast food and not do enough exercise on a regular basis? The chances are, this is just a habit you’ve picked up. The good news is you can change it.

Like wealth, health doesn’t need to be achieved all at once. Start by choosing a bad habit that you want to change. I usually look at my habits around stress, weight and diet.  Once I’ve figured out what I want to change I follow my 5-step plan for changing bad habits.

5-Step Plan for Changing Bad Habits

1. Decide
I promise myself, “This is it”. I’m getting rid of this bad habit and replacing it with a good one. I’m a powerful human being and when I decide to make a change I go through with it. If you don’t feel like a powerful human being, just pretend – fake it til you make it!

2. Plan
You need to have a strategy for achieving the desired result of habit change. If you pick the right strategy and it works, great!  If you pick the wrong strategy and it doesn’t work, don’t give up. Find a new strategy or ask for help. Life wasn’t meant to be super easy.

3. Act
Act now. Not tomorrow, or Monday, or the day after your birthday party, or after Christmas. Once you‘ve decided to change you must act as soon as possible and as massively as possible. Habits don’t like to be broken, changed or replaced so we need to give them the ‘shock-and-awe’ treatment.

4. Measure
What gets measured gets done. If you’re keeping score you’re much more likely to do what it takes to get the job done. This is a lot like accumulating money for your retirement – it’s motivating when you can see your super balance grow, or your weight decrease.

5. Reward
When you create a permanent new habit or get rid of a bad one, it’s nice to be rewarded for your effort. Make sure the reward suits the new you and not the old you  If you lose weight and then reward yourself with a food blowout, you risk going back to the old habit. Instead, buy yourself some new clothes – the old ones probably don’t fit any more anyway!

Like saving for your holidays, the kids’ education and retirement, don’t wait until it’s too late to make a difference to your health.  The sooner you do something to improve your health, the sooner you’ll enjoy the benefits (and these can include financial benefits too). There’s nothing better than feeling good in your own body.

Michael Reibelt is the owner of Riverside Fitness and is a Personal Trainer, Pilates Reformer Instructor and Tennis Coach.  He practices what he preaches and lost 27 kg to become a fit and healthy 41-year-old. Ask him how by emailing or calling 0407 576 583.

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