At first glance, it might seem that saving for retirement and joining your neighborhood soccer team have next to nothing to do with each other, but new research proves otherwise. According to a new Australian study from AMP, there's actually a strong correlation between people who play sports and those who think about their financial futures.
More specifically, the study found that people who play sports are 66 percent more likely to contribute to retirement funds and twice as likely to own property than those who don't, with netball and cycling ranking as the most fiscally responsible sports. "Goal-setting is an indispensable part of setting ourselves up for success, and as the world's best sportspeople show us—almost impossible without a support network and hard work," said AMP's Rob Finch.
While it's hard to argue that people who play sports aren't goal-oriented, the link between physical fitness and finance may be a little more complex than this study suggests.
People who play sports are probably more financially stable to begin with.
When it comes to creating healthy habits surrounding money, most people are at an advantage or disadvantage depending on how much money their parents have. And according to neurologist Ilene Ruhoy, there's a correlation between playing sports and financial stability, meaning that the whole "goal-oriented" theory might not hold much meaning in the grand scheme of things.
"One can argue that those who have to work long hours or more than one job to pay their bills and feed their families are just as goal-oriented as those that have more free time to exercise," she says. "When we have financial freedom, we are able to have more autonomy with our schedule and our lives. Children of financially independent families often have greater chance for exposure to sports and regular fitness activities. Opportunity plays a role."
Competitiveness probably plays a role, too.
Psychotherapist Nathalie Theodore believes the results of this study have less to do with having a goal-oriented mindset and more to do with being competitive by nature. "I think these people tend to enjoy a little healthy competition," she says. "That’s what I think we’re seeing with this study. People who play sports enjoy competition, and in order to succeed at competition, you need to be goal-oriented. These same qualities help people succeed financially as well."
In other words, if you don't want to join your neighborhood kickball team but want to reap the financial advantages, find something else that ignites your competitive spirit—like an indoor cycling class where your pace is publicized.
Yes, non-sports-related physical activity counts, too.
Take heart, yoga-flowers: Your healthy habits probably lend themselves to financial success, too. "I absolutely think this applies to noncompetitive sports as well," says Elizabeth Lombardo, Ph.D. and author of Better Than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love. "People who consistently work out and push themselves to achieve higher goals are more likely to do that in other areas of their life. Many have a mindset of, 'I can keep getting better, and I am in control of that. I can't rely on others to do it for me.'"
Interested in the relationship between money and physical health? Here's how changing this one thing could save you $30,000 over the course of your life.