A good credit score is essential. I mean, c’mon…we’ve all heard about it. We’ve watched the commercials, been pounded over the head with the fact that it encapsulates multiple year’s worth of financial choices, and even see it when it comes plastered on our credit card statements now every month. But what if we told you that your score not only affects the climate of your finances, but that of your overall health as well?
We are going to share with you 7 ways that a better credit score can improve your health. However, before we jump in — it’s important to mention that we are not a doctor, nor do we claim to be one. But, what we do have is the ability to research the subject, and share our findings. So, with that being said – let’s get started.
1. Emotional Well-Being
If you’ve somewhere along the way lost your financial footing, and this is then exacerbated by the fact that you have a low credit score and find it challenging to secure loans, studies show that you are more likely to suffer from mental and emotional problems such as depression, and anxiety.
“There had been a fairly strong and consistent link between debt and depression, and debt and thoughts of suicide,” said Elizabeth Sweet who was the lead author of a study out of Northwestern University. When you are already facing financial difficulties, it becomes all too easy to make a mistake such as a late payment that will set you back from any forward progress you may have spent years building up.
However over time, if you are able to improve your score by paying off your debt, and then able to save up for that dream vacation or secure the loan for that home you’ve been desiring, you may begin to see the silver lining in what seemed like previously formidable clouds.
2. Health Insurance
More and more employers are doing what’s called, “employment screenings” and checking the credit report (not score) of their potential employees before they even hire them. It would then stand to reason that if your report reflected a poor pay history and/or numerous delinquent accounts, you could be passed over for a position with a company that could possibly afford you the opportunity to take advantage of low health insurance rates. Not getting this job could then result in you having to settle for coverage with high premiums and/or deductibles, limited coverage, or worse — not have it at all. That could then lead to you foregoing the doctor for longer periods of time and potentially have something go undiagnosed.
Therefore if you are able to secure the job you want, you may be able to get better health coverage. As a result, you will be able to afford to get more frequent check-ups and possibly stay abreast of any health concerns before they have a chance to become a major issue.
You’ve let your mail pile up on the kitchen counter unopened, trained yourself not to answer certain numbers on your caller ID, and are bracing yourself daily for the disconnection of some service you’ve grown accustomed to using but have been unable to pay. These are all examples of things that can cause one stress when living in the wake of a less than stellar credit score.
According to the American Psychological Association, “Multiple studies have shown that…sudden emotional stresses — especially anger — can trigger heart attacks, arrhythmias and even sudden death.” However this mostly happens with individuals who have heart disease and may not know it until it triggers a major health concern such as a heart attack (or worse) that needs to be treated.
Therefore, removing stress from your life can not only be a wonderful thing now, but something that has a long-term benefit to your health as well. In one particular study, “researchers examined the association between “positive affect” — feelings like happiness, joy, contentment and enthusiasm — and the development of coronary heart disease over a decade. They found that for every one-point increase in positive affect on a five-point scale, the rate of heart disease dropped by 22 percent.”
4. Not Eating Properly
Oftentimes when faced with the dilemma of being short on funds, out of desperation we immediately begin to rely on our credit cards to pick up the slack. But over time this can lead to high card utilization and a lowering of your overall score. Chances are that if you’ve had to resort to these alternative methods to get your bills paid, then you may not have the time or the resources to spend on healthier food options that can take more of a conscious effort to prepare, compared to a cheap fast food option.
At one point, finding a nutritious and balanced meal for lunch may not have been as high on your list of concerns. But by improving your score, you can free your mind to think about what’s important – your health.
5. Physical Well-Being
Maybe you used to do yoga or had a membership to a nice gym. But now that finances are an issue, perhaps you’ve cut back wherever you could and therefore nixed any physical activities that may have once brought you pleasure. Fear not! With a little help, a more active future for you can be once again on the horizon.
Of course this takes time. But having a better score really can make a difference. By putting in the effort to raise it, you open up the possibilities of being more active. Who knows, you may even get to check rock climbing off your bucket list, or meet that special someone in your Friday night dance class.
For some, stress has a weird way of manifesting itself, and when it starts interfering with your daily functions — it can be dangerous. The longer it persists, the longer the effects may be felt – not just your mind, but on your body as well.
By getting to the root of the problem and treating the cause of these headaches, you will not only have peace of mind, but also some relief from the throbbing (and sometimes debilitating) pain.
7. Result in an Unhealthy Vice
Perhaps you’ve picked up smoking again, or what started out as just having a casual drink amongst friends has now turned into drinking at home alone “just to take the edge off.” Sometimes we need a release and find unhealthy ways of dealing with the day-to-day stresses that may plague us in our everyday lives.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Smoking causes more deaths each year than all of these combined: HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, and firearm-related incidents.”
So by facing your financial woes head on and seeking help, you just might very well be adding years back onto your life.