Life Hack: How To Get Paid To Go To The Gym

“Without ambition one starts nothing. Without work one finishes nothing. The prize will not be sent to you. You have to win it.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you’re like me, you love Life Hacks. Life can be hard and stressful enough, so when an opportunity arises to be creative AND make things easier I’m there! Now, I’ve always thought about going to the gym but I’ve never really acted on it; primarily due to the financials. My logic being: if I can buy a piece of equipment to work out on, why would I pay a monthly fee to use virtually the same equipment at a gym? However that was before I actually realized you could make money by going to the gym. In today’s blog I’m going to outline not just how you can get paid to go to the gym and fitness centers; but how preserving your physical health is essential to your financial well-being:

Did Someone Say Insurance – I always considered my full time job as a medical debt collector a bit of an oxymoron. Mainly I deal with insurance reps and patient’s who owe several clinics money; my job is to get this money from them and strike up various payment plans etc… I always thought it was a little funny how my job is to talk to insurance companies, who make money by me staying healthy, who in turn raise my blood pressure and at times destroy my mental health (#gofigure!?). In any case, I recently started looking into gym memberships to combat high blood pressure and just to release some stress. Then I got an idea: does insurance cover gym memberships? I started to dive a little deeper into this and discovered most insurances do!

How It Works – Personally I have BCBS (Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey) as my insurance carrier and they have a program called HorizonbFit. Essentially they participate with bigger gym franchises such as (LA Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Golds Gym, etc… )* and will reimburse $20/mo (or $240/yr) if you go to the gym 12 times a month! So you might be thinking ok… how can I get paid to go to the gym? Well say you do have Horizon BCBS and have a planet fitness membership (which can start at as little as $10/mo or $120/yr) if you go 12 times a month you’ll be eligible for a rewards of up to $20/mo. This essentially means you can get paid $120.00 ($240 in rewards – $120 gym membership = $120.00) to go to the gym! *Please note that BCBS plans outside of NJ might participate with different fitness centers and gyms around your area. The best way to find out if your gym participates with your BCBS plan is to go to the HorizonBFit website and type in your plan ID number and location.

 

What Are Some Other Ways I Can Save? – The cool part about gym incentive programs from insurance companies are that there are other ways to save. Many times people forget that saving money is the same as making money! Even if you’re insurance carrier doesn’t cover the full yearly amount of your gym membership, that is money you are saving; which in turn can be allocated towards an investment that will make you money! Think about it, even if you saved $100/yr extra and invested that money each year in an IRA or other dividend/passive income producing asset, the return on your money would grow without question.

Health Benefits – It goes without question that Healthcare Costs in the United States is a topic that needs alot of addressing. Premiums are through the roof for many people who seek insurance independently, making it barely affordable. However, by utilizing a gym incentive program you cannot discount the obvious benefit: your health! Think of utilizing a gym incentive program as not only getting a free (or close to free) gym membership, but saving on Doctors visit copays, visits to specialists, and other types of medical emergencies which might be brought on by neglect of physical activity.

Conclusion – Overall, utilizing and looking into a gym incentive program might be just want the Doctor ordered (in my case literally). However don’t discount the benefits physical exercise can have on your financial health. Saving money is the same as making money and how you allocate and invest those savings can have a dramatic effect on your future financial health. The key takeaway: take care of yourself!

*For a complete List of Gyms that are covered by your insurance fitness incentive program it is best to call your insurance company.

Helpful Links For Fitness Programs:

What Is Your Plan For The Next Financial Meltdown?

“Only I have no luck any more. But who knows? Maybe today. Every day is a new day. It is better to be lucky. But I would rather be exact. Then when luck comes you are ready.” – Ernest Hemingway

 

Last week was a rough week for the stock market. After the Dow plunged over a thousand points during a trading day most investors, including myself, proverbially shit ourselves. However after the Dow had it’s meltdown and the market starts to rebound most will lose their focus; yet, what if I told you last week was just the tip of the iceberg? A storm is coming and you need to be prepared to weather that storm. In today’s blog I’m going to make some market predictions for the years to come and more importantly explain some practical investment options you have to not only save your wealth, but how you can create more:

 

Start Saving – The best way to prepare for a market downturn is to start saving your money, because those with it are going to score big. We know the best time to invest in housing, and stocks is when the market is collapsing. As people are feverishly taking their money out of the market trying to save their losses; that is when you are going to strike to pick up stocks and other investments at a discounted rate. It’s easy to forget that we have been in a bull market for the past 10 years. However, what goes up must come down. So if you’re thinking about making a big investment now; I would really consider to think about that investment. In a few years your money and liquid cash might be able to get you much further.

 

Welcome Back Interest Rates – Here’s what we know: interest rates are going to rise. The Fed has to raise them to fight inflation. Right now with rates sitting at just above 4% we still have it really good. However when those rates start to get to the 5-6% range we will see some changes in several markets. The housing market will probably take a generally big hit. Higher rates will more than most likely deter home buyers, and as a result will make the rental market considerably strong around the country. So what does that mean? It means if you were thinking about selling your investment property, you might want to hold on to it for a few more years as rents will increase. On the flip side if you were thinking of buying a home, now might be a good time to do so to avoid higher rents, and capitalize while interest rates are still moderately low.

 

We will also see student loan interest rates go up as well. This is going to result in a sticky situation because there are many who already have issues paying back student loans. Higher interest rates may make the probability of default more likely; which is never a good sign.

 

Yet, rising interest rates aren’t always a bad thing. With increased interest rates we will see the return of investment vehicles such as bonds and CD’s (welcome back!). For the past 10 years the best investment vehicles to rely on has been real estate due to low interest rates, and the stock market due to consumer confidence. Bonds and CD’s are a wonderful way to tie up money and watch it grow over 5-10 years. Those with liquid money can really cash in with this investment vehicle by making interest rates work for them!

 

Patience – The next financial collapse that we see will involve a much larger portion of the millennial generation. During the financial crisis of 2008 many of us were still attending high school or college and certainly didn’t have money to play with in terms of investments. For the instant gratification generation, it will be extremely easy to see how our patience plays out when timing the market. My prediction is that in the next 3 years we start to see more market declines. Not to be a real buzz kill, but the next financial crisis will be worse than the financial crisis of 2008. Why you might ask? Well I have a strange feeling that student debt is going to play a big role in how the economy responds.

 

Whenever I see “loan forgiveness” or lengthy deferment programs; I cringe. The reason I view loan forgiveness as signs of a weakening economy is because the financial institutions aren’t getting paid. I get it “banks have enough money, why do they need yours?” Well just like the 2008 financial crisis was brought on by careless lending in the housing market, the next financial crisis could very well be brought on by careless lending for student loans. If loans aren’t being paid back due to increased interest rates, lack of jobs, or a decrease in wages; the economy will certainly feel that.

 

Conclusion – Financial meltdowns are inevitable. However individually and as a society we need to roll with the punches that the market might have in store for us. The best we can do is always be preparing and protecting our assets and hard earned money. Always assessing our risk and evaluating the market conditions is a great start. We know the financial dip of the stock market last week was just a taste of what’s to come. By taking the above steps you can start to plan and hopefully get a sense where the market might be headed in the upcoming years. Where do you think the market is going? How do you plan to prepare for a market decline? Share your thoughts and comments below! We’d love to hear them!