Many people are aware of the benefits of compound interest when it comes to finances. In our society, it has helped a number of individuals from all walks of life to achieve the retirement of their dreams and fuel lavish lifestyles along the way. It has been described as a tool to make your money work for you, even while you sleep. Financial health is an extremely important part of getting what you want in life.

Money is a resource. It is fuel. It is a tool that provides for the expansion of opportunity. But, the caveat is that without your health, money is just an afterthought. True health is wealth. Too often so many people literally ‘bust their hump’ through the daily grind while trying to build their wealth and in the interim are taking shortcuts on their health to do so. They may start skipping breakfast to get to the office earlier. They choose the drive-thru instead of the meal planning because then they can eat “something” on the way, whether or not it was real food or chemical preservatives is a different story. They find it a necessity to replace water with something with a bit more kick like a multi-colored concoction of liquid sugar, caffeine, coffee, and ‘rainbow-colored hairs of a unicorn’.

The roller coaster of rushes and crushes lead to restless nights, sleep aids, and irritability. Stress slowly begins to climb the top rope along with its tag team partner Inflammation to lay down an elbow drop of sickness and disease when you aren’t looking or prepared. Blood pressure starts to rise along with an occasional cramp in the chest that you stop and feel but ignore as you are immersed in getting the project getting done before the deadline. One after another, medications start to pile on to address symptoms and manage conditions, and then to manage the symptoms that the adverse reactions of those medications created without ever getting to the true cause of the problem. So, a fire continues to burn hotter with each passing day.

These hard-working folks literally sacrifice their health and build a beautiful nest egg for their golden years, only to watch their wealth reserves become suffocated by a collection of diagnoses that now force them to spend so much of their hard-earned savings trying to salvage what they have left of their health to enjoy a little bit more time in their life. All the while they thinking they are buying more time. Unfortunately, they are so functionally bankrupt they can only afford a short-term extension on the quantity of their existence, but not the quality time that was squandered during the development of well-intentioned disease-promoting behaviors. Now they face a prescription for a psoriasis medication for an autoimmune disorder that is 3500 per month, surgery for a bulging disk in the neck that may leave them with partial paralysis of their extremity or a nasty infection post-recovery, or maybe it’s a gastric bypass, a knee replacement, or yet another medication for managing out of control blood sugar because they would rather not change the diet that got them there in the first place and continues to make their fire of inflammation and pain burn hotter and longer.

All too often this is the common sequence of events that occurs when health is neglected or traded for the building of wealth, leading to the inevitable outcome where a majority of the wealth accumulated is spent on trying to regain the health that is depleting. In the process, quality of life suffers greatly and mental worry, anguish, and even regret take hold. Essentially, we all have an opportunity to either invest in health or pay the price for sickness and disease as we wait for that costly diagnosis.

The point of this is that compound interest is in actuality double-sided. It can work for or against you. If you begin early and you invest intelligently and regularly with the assistance of an advisor, then your money becomes worth more over time and you are more likely to enjoy a financially free and prosperous retirement. You can go where you desire and do what you have dreamt of doing during your working career.

Many of us, however, especially students have also seen the dark side of compound interest in the form of credit card debt. We buy things that we want right now with money we don’t have to impress people that probably don’t really care and sacrifice the things we want most in the process while succumbing to buyer’s remorse in days to weeks to months. That same compound interest works great for the banks and bad for us, especially if it is left unpaid or a health care crisis takes our focus off of our credit cards and onto something of a larger priority. It then is only a matter of time before a small seemingly insignificant purchase; a new car, an Italian leather sofa on an end of year sale, an innocent kitchen remodel, a 4-wheeler that was a “steal”, can all of a sudden become a debt disaster and we end up paying way more than we should have and actually would have paid in the first place if we would have not been so eager or anxious to spend above our means or use money that really we didn’t have readily available in the first place.

The interesting thing about this compound interest is that it requires time to be most effective and fruitful. You can’t put a dollar in the bank today and be rich and retired on a 30ft yacht off the coast of Cabo by next Tuesday. However, negative compounding interest in the form of debt accumulation also requires you to make enough of the wrong choices long enough for it to truly become a financial disaster that could leave your credit scarred for years. If you charge your Grande Mocha with an Extra Shot and Whip and Sprinkles today, you likely won’t be financially bankrupt tomorrow. And this is the unforeseen illusion about health and disease and their relationship to the compound effect.

Just because you begin smoking today or eating a horrible insulin spiking diet of donuts, cakes, cookies, and cola doesn’t mean you will wake up with lung cancer or a missing limb from diabetes tomorrow. These changes take time to develop from too many of the wrong choices made without enough of the right ones to compensate for them. Ultimately a threshold is crossed and it becomes harder and more expensive for your body to repair the self-induced damage. However, if you invest in your health and choose the way of living that incorporates concepts like the ‘Magnificent 7’ every day, you will have exponential health and vitality with less medical costs, more fun, more physical freedom, and fewer worries in your later years.

You will have a mind and body that allows you to enjoy all of the fruits of your labor. For instance, those that choose health as their ultimate form of wealth, frequently have plenty left over to take care of themselves and their loved ones in their later years. They make memories with the grandkids, they travel and see the world, they volunteer and give back and contribute, they do what they want, go where they’ve dreamed, and expand their love for life and the people in it. It can be possible for you.

It doesn’t have to be a pipe dream and it is not something reserved for the rich and famous. If you invest in your mind, your body, your spirit, your social and emotional well-being there is no question the return will be more than what you could have imagined. Practice the ‘Magnificent 7’ in the form of Eat Right, Drink Right, Think Right, Move Right, Talk Right, Sleep Right, and Poop/ Detox Right every day in a healthy way and most importantly, start as early as possible.

Focus on the most important part of health and the system that controls it all, the nervous system. The system controls every single cell tissue and organ at all times. the master controller. Keep it healthy, keep it strong and you can have a pain-free body without physical limitations that will be a vehicle to a fulfilling retirement. Use the compound effect to your benefit and have the health, wealth, and life you deserve and desire.