Who knew that #selfcare could also be good for your finances? After all, facials and teeth cleanings may seem like pricey luxuries, but their benefits extend beyond just the physical. Annual checkups may bust your budget at the moment, but in terms of dollars and cents can help prevent even more expensive health emergencies in the future.
The exact financial advantages of your annual check-ups may seem hidden, but these end-of-the-year must-dos are actually among the most important steps to take for keeping your finances at their healthiest.
Going to the Dentist
While this isn’t a monthly occurrence, going to the dentist twice a year (you know, like you’re supposed to) is the adult equivalent of eating a vegetable at every meal as a kid. While few enjoy seeing the dentist, there are strong health (and financial) incentives at work by going to the dentist regularly. First, lowering the amount of disease present in your mouth with regular cleanings, checkups, and care is shown to decrease cardiovascular risk and help adults live longer.
Second, you might already be paying for dental insurance or receive dental coverage for free from your employer. In this case, skipping the dentist means you’re not fully utilizing what you paid for. And finally, regular dental care can help decrease the risk of more expensive dental procedures such as a cavity, root canal, or periodontal surgery, which can run up to $3,000.
The Annual Physical
Going to the doctor regularly (at least on an annual basis) can help mitigate long-term health risks, but also help you prepare financially in the event you’ll need additional medical care. Regular visits can also help you properly time your medical care (for example, a knee surgery) in order to maximize your healthcare benefits.
In terms of direct dollar savings, getting an annual physical may also help decrease health insurance premiums, both for employer-sponsored health care plans and for the self-employed.
Facials and Massage
Health Savings Plans (HSA) are amazing. Not only do these special saving accounts lower your taxable income (meaning you pay less in taxes while getting to save for medical costs), in many instances these funds can be used for services such as gym memberships, facials, physical therapy, or massage. Each plan dictates how the funds may be used, but it is worth investigating these health services to see if you can optimize both your healthcare regimen while lowering your overall amount of taxable income.
HSAs also roll over so even if you don’t use your full amount one year, you can continue to save for future expenses like a pregnancy or unexpected illness.
Annual Financial Checkup
The best part about maintaining a regular healthcare schedule is that it puts you in the habit of taking care of yourself on a regular schedule. Your finances need to undergo a “check up” on a regular schedule as well. Many like to review their spending on a monthly basis, but there are other, often overlooked financial to-do’s that are best looked at during year’s end.
- Check in on your emergency fund – Do you have 6 months set aside?
- Check in on any debt repayment or credit card spending – make a plan if the debt has significantly increased in the last year.
- Review healthcare and insurance policies and see if any coverages need an adjustment.
- Review investment accounts – How are your retirement or brokerage accounts performing? Are you optimizing for taxes in your retirement?
- Check your tax liability for the end of the year and see if there is anything you can do to lower the amount you owe before December 31st.
Each year feels faster than the last, which is why it is so important to maintain an annual “check-up” schedule for two important items that cannot be ignored: your health and your money. Once these items are reviewed, feel free to sit back and enjoy the holiday season stress-free, knowing you’re ready for the healthiest, wealthiest year yet.