Money & You

How repaying debt can improve your health

May 6, 2023

Physical health, mental health, financial health: what’s the overlap? Quite a lot, as it turns out. 

According to research, the less debt you have, the better your health can be. Having less debt has been linked to reduced anxiety (obviously), more proactive healthcare choices (really?), and even less everyday pain & headaches (no way!). 

Here’s what the science says.

1) Lower blood pressure

One study from Northwestern University found that even young adults with high debt-to-asset ratios (how much they owe vs how much they own) had worse blood pressure than their counterparts with less debt.

High blood pressure is a major component in heart disease and stroke. Every repayment made could lower your chance of experiencing either.

2) Lower chance of depression

Debt that feels unmanageable can cause worries that make it hard to sleep, eat, or even get out of bed - all which contribute to depression. Rutgers University found that older adults (51 years old and over) were more likely to report depressive symptoms when they owed a high amount of unsecured debt (credit cards, personal loans and similar).

When you cut your debt down to size, you give yourself the mental space to treat yourself right and pull yourself out of a rut.

3) Better self care

Getting the healthcare you need when you’re sick can be expensive. When you’ve already got debt racked up, it’s easy to just handwave your symptoms away rather than spend money at the doctors. Research from the University of Michigan found that people with large amounts of credit card debt are less likely to visit doctors or dentists. Not great if those “sniffles” end up being something that knocks you down for weeks instead of days.

As you slash your credit card debt, you make it easier to do the preventative maintenance necessary for a long and healthy life. Instead of worrying about how much the dentist or doctor is going to cost, you can get the care you need.

4) Less everyday pain

Debt can be a pain in the neck. Literally! One survey found that almost half of people with high levels of debt stress report frequent migraines or headaches, compared with just 15% of people with lower debt stress levels.

High debt stress was also associated with muscle tension, back pain, ulcers, digestive tract problems, and even heart attacks. So lower your debt stress and potentially wave goodbye to that niggling pain behind your eyes forever!

Here’s the best part. By reading through these tips, tricks and guides to learning about money, you’re already on the way to a happier, healthier life with less debt weighing you down. Your next step? Keep learning and keep destroying that debt!

This was originally posted as an education article on the Money Sweetspot customer portal. If you read this as one of our customers, you would've earned some money off your loan! Do the mahi, get the treats. Find out more.

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