Health and Credit Scores – Strange Coincidence?Your credit score is designed to tell creditors how likely you are to repay a loan and how much credit you should be trusted with. But, a recent study indicates that a credit score can also be used to guess an individual’s health. Researchers in New Zealand tracked 1,000 people from their births back in the 1970s until they were 38 years old. In their analysis, the researchers learned that people with lower credit scores also had poorer cardiovascular health. The areas measured included blood pressure, cholesterol levels and whether the participant smoked. All of these factors were added together to determine a person’s “heart age.” Researchers found that for every 100-point increase in a participant’s credit score, there was a one-year drop in their heart age.
More About Personality Than MoneyThe researchers said that the difference in scores was completely unrelated to an individual’s income. And, because New Zealand has universal health care, lower credit scores were not the result of medical emergencies. Instead, the scores and health correlated with traits that the researchers had measured when the participants were children and young adults: self-control, ability to delay gratification, IQ, socioeconomic background, and educational attainment. In a different experiment performed by psychologist Walter Mischel, researchers asked children whether they wanted one marshmallow now, or two in 15 minutes. Those who chose delayed gratification for greater rewards achieved higher levels of education and better careers later on. The traits that are likely to help you become financially successful and able to handle credit well are the same ones that can lead to improved health. For instance, a person with better self-control and discipline is likely to exercise regularly and also avoid overspending on credit cards. Mischel told The Atlantic that he believes better self-control is something that can be learned. Health and Credit Scores are key.
Developing Self-ControlMany people feel that willpower and self-control are innate and cannot be changed. But, there are ways that you can develop better self-discipline. When increasing your strength in this area, you will see the results in areas of your life that include your personal credit, your income and your health. A few of the best tips for increasing your personal level of self-control:
- Spend time meditating. Daily meditation is linked with increased self-awareness and a greater ability to resist impulses. Even taking five minutes a day to focus on your breathing and sitting still can yield major improvements.
- Get plenty of sleep. When we are overtired, we are more likely to give into temptations. For instance, when you sleep poorly, you are more likely to grab a doughnut on the way to work than you are to cook a healthy, whole-grain meal like oatmeal.
- Eat better. Not only will better eating habits improve your health, but also they will help you make better decisions during the day in areas that include work, credit and your personal finances.
- Exercise more. A 10-minute bout of exercise releases the neurotransmitter GABA, which makes you calmer and more in control. Plus, developing the habit of daily exercise can also help you develop healthier financial habits, too.
- Practice delaying gratification. If you see a pricey item and instantly want to buy it, make yourself wait a set period of time. It could be as little as a single day for something like a luxury brand of chocolate or a week or a month for a larger purchase. Often, you will find that you do not want the item anymore after the initial desire has passed.
- Fix past credit mistakes. Repairing your credit in the ways advocated by Key Credit Repair doesn’t just open future opportunities; it also gives you the tools to make better future choices. Willpower is an exhaustible resource. When we are suffering from the stress that comes from poor cash flow or avoiding creditors, we can deplete our willpower and make it more difficult to make the harder but healthier choices later on.