If you believe the hordes of studies that take on the subject of human behavior, you have probably noticed a consistent trend: What Americans think and what Americans do are two very different things and our ideas about our uncertain future are no exception.
A 2010 study found that when it comes to our health and how it affects future employment, we have some rethinking to do in our lives. According to the study , 86% of those who were polled believe there is more they can do to protect themselves from the possibility of an illness or injury affecting their ability to work but only 36% are actively taking those steps. You might be thinking that it sounds a lot like our attitudes about weight loss, smoking and some of our other bad habits but what can we do about it?
The study and a 2009 study has more to reveal. As much as you may say that you hate your job and hate working, if you’re like most Americans, you might not like your job but you feel that it’s your purpose or duty. 63% of those asked said that they live to work compared to 36% who said they work to live. Even if we grumble about it most of us believe that our jobs are part of our purpose but that isn’t translating in to action.
That doesn’t mean that we’re lazy and unmotivated. It could be a sign that Americans don’t know how to protect themselves from the uncertainties. Here are a few ways to become one of those who take active steps to address this problem.
Yet another survey shows that nearly two thirds of employers have programs that address employee health and well being but only 18% of workers identified these programs as a way to address their long term health needs. Ask your employer about these programs but more importantly, take steps in your own life to be more healthy. You’ve heard it before and it’s hard to do but a 30 minute brisk walk every day seems like a better option than a lot of doctors later on.
Many employers offer disability insurance at a discounted rate and some pension plans have it automatically built in to your benefits. Disability insurance will pay you around 60% of your salary should you become disabled in some way. Expect to pay between 1% and 3% of your salary for this coverage.
Address Your Head
A surprising 92% of people asked said that they have a healthy balance between work and personal life. If you’re one of the 8% (does 92% seem a little inaccurate to you) who doesn’t have a good balance, not addressing it could be hazardous to your health. Even though it seems counterintuitive, convince yourself that taking a break won’t put you nearly as far behind as you might think.
Control Your Leverage
Debt in America is out of control and most Americans agree that they need to get a better hold on their finances. The less debt you have, the more able you will be to weather the storm of an illness or injury. Remember that every time you take on new debt, you’re making a bet on your future. The problem with this kind of gamble is that there is no payoff if you’re right.
Have you heard some of this before? If these studies are correct, Americans have heard what they should do to protect their future earning power but they have, so far, not put it in to action. Don’t wait until New Years to make the resolution. Even one small step is better than nothing.