Health vs. Wealth





The words health and wealth rhyme with each other but they are clearly different concepts.  This entry was inspired by a picture I saw posted on an online story I viewed yesterday.  Forbes magazine notified the world that the great golfer, Tiger Woods, now has enough net worth to classify him as a billionaire, not simply a millionaire.  Accompanying the article was a picture of Mr. Wood, wearing one his sponsored golf outfits, smiling eat to ear.   For those of you that have followed Tiger’s career off the course, you may have seen numerous “not so good” events, including a horrific divorce, car crashes, potential alcohol/substance abuse issues, hip/knee issues etc.  His “wealth” may be a billion bucks but his physical and psychological “health” may be lots less than yours.

Off the golf course and looking at some other incredibly wealthy people:  Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and one of the richest men in the world at that time died at age 74.  Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, died at age 54.  These men had billions of dollars in wealth but health issues robbed them of long, productive lives.

The necessities of life include having a safe, comfortable home for you and your loved ones, having enough $$$ to put decent food on the table, pay for cars, household expenses, perhaps have enough money to take vacations, pursue hobbies and feel financially secure.  Toward that end we simply cannot quit of jobs and not be concerned about having a certain amount of wealth.  However, we do NOT need to work like crazy, ignore other issues in our lives and try to stack enough money away in retirement accounts as humanly possible.

The point of this entry:  In the pursuit of “wealth” ensure that your pursuit of “health” gets at least equal if not more importance and priority.  I see far too many patients at our office that are so incredibly wealthy due to their high level of achievement in their fields, yet their health is in great jeopardy in large part due to their weight control issues.

You will not be able to enjoy that amazing house, great car(s), luxurious vacations and comfort knowing you stowed away enough $$$ for your children/grandchildren IF your health is not maintained.  If you step on that scale today and see an unhealthy number, begin a concerted effort to get that weight down.  Hands down, health is much more important than wealth.

My mother used to tell me:  “If you have your health, you can have everything.” Frances also used to say: “Wealth cannot buy health”.   Both statements are sort of spot on.  However, the same woman used to tell me when I was a kid to not go swimming after I ate because I could get stomach cramps and died.  That turned out to not be true as in my 40 years of practicing medicine I have not seen or heard of one case of a person eating, swimming and dying from stomach cramps.