Your credit score does more than quantify your financial history to predict your credit worthiness. It also may indicate your health status, according to a long-term study’s data on over 1,000 New Zealanders’ physical and mental health. An analysis of findings on subjects that the study monitored continually from birth up to age 38 associated having low credit scores with poor cardiovascular health.
Same Behaviors Cause Multiple Problems
Lousy money management does not harm your health by itself, according to Duke University’s Salomon Israel. Theinternational investigative team linked personal traits that promote low credit ratings to inferior cardiovascular health as well. Poor money managers also tend to let their health slide, noted Terrie Moffitt, the study’s leader who’s a psychology and neuroscience professor. The results verify what the financial and insurance industries already know.
While retracing the study subjects’ financial histories, the findings showed that people establish bad habits at young ages. The research team determined that the attitudes, competencies, and behaviors those participants displayed when they were under 10 years old accounted for approximately 20 percent of the link between credit ratings and cardiovascular health.
Using standard Framingham cardiovascular risk scores, the researcher team estimated subjects’ heart ages, based on cholesterol levels, blood pressure readings, glucose levels, and smoking practices. At age 38, their hearts ranged between 22 and 85 years old. People who had better credit ratings also had younger hearts. Components including maximum educational level, cognitive abilities, and self-discipline projected higher credit ratings along with lower heart ages.
Moffitt came up with the concept of weighing credit ratings against health statistics during an eye-opening conversation with a fellow passenger on a flight some 10 years earlier. She told her seatmate, who worked in the life insurance industry, that she researched the life outcomes of self-control. He remarked that he did too ― using credit ratings. Co-author Avshalom Caspi, a psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, and behavioral sciences professor, finds credit scores fascinating because they’re retrospective while also being predictive. They provide a window into both the past and the future.
Israel noted that credit score usage has expanded far beyond its original purpose in recent years to encompass multiple areas including pre-employment screenings. This study exemplifies the credit system’s effectiveness as a proxy for individual dependability, trustworthiness, and health. When a life insurance company obtains a candidate’s credit rating, it also procures indirect information about that individual’s personality, educational achievement, and intelligence ― all the way back to the early years of life.
Other Experts and Studies Confirm Findings
David Laibson, a Harvard economist who wasn’t involved in this research, pointed out that the study transformed our fundamental understanding of psychological factors that connect health with wealth. Lamar Pierce, a Washington University associate professor of organization and strategy, agreed when commenting on others’ study results. Identifying related cognitive foundations prior to the onset of financial and health concerns is important. This research offers hope that childhood interventions could prevent people from developing ongoing habits that lead to financial struggles and illnesses.
The link also may be true going the other direction. In underdeveloped countries that don’t make credit scores available, Harvard researchers have been testing a personality quiz that assesses applicants’ microloan credit worthiness. Additional studies confirm that careful planning, self-control, and perseverance are supportive attributes that lead to better financial standing and health.
Heart Disease Treatment
If you do have heart health problems, your doctor will prescribe medication to protect your heart. Caduet is a combination blood pressure and cholesterol medication that lowers your risks of heart attacks, strokes, and related heart disease problems. It contains Amlodipine and Atorvastatin, which relax blood vessels and increase blood flow while reducing bad cholesterol and raising good levels.
Be Active to Enhance Your Heart Health
Physical activity can help prevent heart disease, America’s top cause of death. To improve your general cardiovascular health, theAmerican Heart Association (AHA) recommends:
At least half an hour of moderately intense aerobic exercise a minimum of five days a week
OR: 25 or more minutes of vigorous aerobics on at least three days each week
OR: A workout that combines moderate with vigorous aerobics
PLUS: Moderate to highly intense strength training two or more days every week
If you want to lower your blood pressure readings or cholesterol levels along with your heart attack and stroke risks, the AHA advises:
40 minutes of modest to vigorous aerobics three or four days a week
Walking is a free, simple, enjoyable, satisfying, and social way to boost your heart health and enhance your life. A flexible walking program encourages success because it’s easy to maintain. Other aerobic exercises that are good for your heart include jogging, biking, and swimming. But any activity like climbing stairs or doing yard work that involves moving your body and burning calories can be beneficial.
Stretching and strength training will help improve your overall flexibility and stamina. If you’ve led a sedentary lifestyle for many years and don’t think you can handle 25-40 minutes of continuous exercise, start with a shorter, more reachable goal. Then work up to longer exercise times gradually as you become stronger and healthier.