Health, Money and Happiness

February 4, 2018

Do I have to choose between health and money?

I want it all. Health. Prosperity. Wealth. The God Damn American Dream. A big fat wallet and a skinny waistline. Over the last two years, I have spoken to hundreds of people about their health. The most common pushback I hear is that “I don’t have enough time.” I am always left with a sense of frustration with this answer. Are you too busy for your health? How could this be?

I have struggled to help friends who give this answer. It angers me. It confuses me. It leaves me with a sense of loss and sadness. Why does health have to be a choice?

I have come to this oversimplified conclusion. We are having to choose between health and money. Our struggles to achieve professional success come at the cost to our health. Family obligations can complicate this, but unless you are a new parent you likely aren’t locked into 40-60 hrs each week of family obligations.

Many of us work, few of us work for passion. Most of us work for financial stability. We work to live. The unyielding nature of the 9-5 pushes our health options to the side. Why do we all feel this has to be an either-or choice?

I want money. I want to be healthy. I want it all.

Before we dive into this dilemma, l want to talk about happiness. I believe the goal of both wealth and health is to be happy. It’s hard to define, overly elusive and hard to hang onto once you find it. A few years ago Harvard completed a 75-year study to understand happiness. I urge you to read it. What is so fascinating about the results is that:

  • Relationships are the most important factor in happiness.
  • Money helps, but only to a point.
  • Alchohol is the most destructive force against a happy life.

This creates a clear rebuttal to the “I don’t have time” dilemma. You need to work. You need to create wealth. You need financial stability. But you need to set limits. If you become too busy for the rest of your life, you are sacrificing your happiness. You need to spend time with friends and family. You need to exercise. You need to sleep. More money can’t fill that gap. You need balance.

If you want happiness you need both – money and health. Our professional culture creates a rift between these two inputs. If you want to be happy, you need to set limits. How many times have you sacrificed personal obligations for professional ones? Maybe try sacrificing professional obligations for personal ones from time to time. It will be hard at first, but if you want to be happy you need to be ok with this balance.

Don’t give yourself to others, without saving some for yourself. You can have it all. You aren’t too busy. You just need to decide what will really makes you happy.


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