Like Getting Healthy, Getting Wealthy Requires Good Habits

Building your financial health and an adequate retirement nest egg can most reliably be achieved through commitment, discipline, routine and accountability.

A father and son are in the kitchen cooking with healthy ingredients.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Amid the vast landscape of financial advice available online and elsewhere, one message is indisputably accurate — the importance of starting early when it comes to getting wealthy. The sooner you begin setting aside money for retirement, the greater your ability to compile a sufficient nest egg, take advantage of compounding interest and handle any unexpected setbacks along the way.

But there’s an important connection between financial, physical and emotional health that often goes unmentioned. It’s one that younger investors could particularly benefit from understanding and that financial advisers should integrate in order to provide a more holistic service.

Healthy habits or routines formed early in life tend to persist over time, and people who are healthier will likely live longer. The great blessing of a long, healthy life comes with the great responsibility of needing to save more to enjoy those later years.

Subscribe to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

Be a smarter, better informed investor.

Save up to 74%

Sign up for Kiplinger’s Free E-Newsletters

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice on investing, taxes, retirement, personal finance and more - straight to your e-mail.

Profit and prosper with the best of expert advice - straight to your e-mail.

Sign up

Thanks to advances in medical technology and health care, we could soon see an era where many people live well into their 100s and are potentially less limited by the hip, knee and back ailments that have historically plagued older Americans. This would mean significantly more retirees who continue to travel, play golf and participate in other recreational activities — creating a higher need for comprehensive financial planning to support these pursuits.

Importance of advice

According to a report by the Pew Research Center in 2021, concerns about personal health and financial security are directly correlated to elevated levels of psychological distress. The correlation between emotional, physical and financial health is also reflected by how each can be negatively impacted by uncertainty, along with the subsequent stress and anxiety it breeds. From a financial standpoint, uncertainty often stems from a lack of planning and prioritization.

For various reasons, many people are less likely to pay for financial advice than physical or emotional advice. Consider the example of a fitness coach or trainer. That person offers guidance on proper form when exercising, helps ensure that you avoid certain movements that might cause injury and provides accountability.

It’s common knowledge that people  need to eat right and exercise in order to enjoy good physical health. However, some people  pay for a trainer for the accountability since they probably wouldn’t exercise much otherwise.

Similarly, when people seek therapy, it’s often because they feel unheard in certain aspects of their life or need help processing complex emotions. Therapy can be a great way to address issues that one may be struggling with, and it’s very gratifying to know that someone is listening and cares.

What do financial advisers provide? Essentially the same services as physical or emotional health professionals. They offer coaching on good form, in the sense of effective ways to achieve financial health. This includes guidance on how to avoid getting financially hurt, through appropriately allocating capital, choosing investment vehicles and structuring a portfolio.

Financial advisers also give clients a platform to be heard while expressing their goals and concerns. Finally, they provide accountability for the implementation of those recommendations. Given the similarities, a compelling argument could be made that a financial adviser is just as crucial to holistic health as a therapist or fitness trainer.

Early adoption

One challenge impacting financial, emotional, and physical health is that the implications of any single decision might not be particularly significant or long-lasting. For instance, if someone was told that smoking one cigarette would cause lung cancer, they probably wouldn’t smoke it.

Similarly, if a person heard that having a single unhealthy meal would irreversibly impact their health, they likely wouldn’t eat it. But the truth is that individual actions like these won’t have such a drastic impact. Rather, it takes consistent and repeated decisions over time to produce such a result.

By the same token, one decision to splurge on buying a product or service when you’re 25 probably won’t mean falling short of a sufficient retirement nest egg when you’re 65. But repeated decisions for decades to prioritize here-and-now spending over long-term planning certainly could have that impact.

With the younger generation, there’s often such a huge gap of years until retirement age that they tend to not even think about it, much less plan for it. The amount of perceived wiggle room makes it easy to put off the decision to start saving. It falls into the category of theoretically important but not urgent. The problem is that by the time it does become urgent, it’s often too late. So, the faster that a sense of urgency is aligned with financial planning, the better the potential outcomes.

Human connection

When confronted with a problem, it can be tempting to seek the easiest solution that requires the least work and cost. Unfortunately, that “solution” also tends to produce the least effective results.

Just as the Internet is filled with advertisements for weight-loss programs that claim to help you lose 30 pounds in 30 days, it’s also littered with so-called investing advice that claims a given stock will generate massive returns. In reality, legitimate results concerning physical, emotional and financial health are rarely achieved without commitment, discipline and routine.

From a financial planning standpoint, it’s difficult for someone to be accountable to a computer algorithm, so the best outcomes are often produced through a personal relationship with an actual human adviser. The same is true for fitness trainers, therapists or counselors. An online self-care program can’t replace the bond built through real human connection, empathy, listening and sharing.

While automation has its place in the financial world, there’s definitely something to be said for sitting one-on-one in a room with somebody whom you’ve learned to trust. Part of the role of an adviser is to create a safe space where people can enjoy a trusted relationship and have an actual human conversation while gaining comfort and security from the process of financial planning. The earlier that this connection can be made, the better off a person will be in the quest for a lifetime of holistic health.

Ultimately, the state of our finances can determine the level of stress and anxiety we experience. Research from the National Library of Medicine shows that financial health is a measurable determinant of both physical and psychological health. The burden of financial strain can disrupt healthy lifestyle habits, which is why it’s critical to seek support from an adviser who can help navigate financial complexities. 

By having open and honest conversations about finances with a trusted adviser, individuals can proactively address concerns, make informed decisions and ultimately safeguard their emotional and physical well-being.


This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

Robert Gorman
Founding Partner and Chief Operating Officer, Apollon Wealth Management

Robert Gorman is a founding partner and Chief Operating Officer at Apollon Wealth Management, a collaborative and transparent financial planning firm focused on aligning clients’ goals of growing and preserving their hard-earned wealth. As one of the highest-decorated advisors in the field (ranking in the top 1%-2% in the nation by certification), Robert has taken the helm of building Apollon’s unique trading platform. A respected Principal/Wealth Management Advisor, Robert established his career at the Gorman Financial Group/Northwestern Mutual in 2004. Under his direction, the firm was voted “Best Financial Planner” by The Post and Courier and was a finalist for “Best Investment Firm” in 2016 and 2017.