Your money or your life: being money-focused is killing you

The seven ways that chasing the money is damaging your health

We all know the links between poverty and bad health, and that the more money you have, the more likely you are to have a long and healthy life. However, this doesn't mean that putting making money at the top of your list of priorities is a good idea. In fact, being too money-focused can be terrible for your health - in seven key ways.

See also: Do we need to be stressed into saving for the future?

See also: High earners 'can expect relaxing retirement but stress rises for lower paid'

See also: The UK's unhealthiest cities to work in

1. Working too hard
Hard work may pay dividends in terms of your career progression, but it can be incredibly damaging for your health. Stressful work can raise your blood pressure, and lead to heart problems. It can also contribute to mental health problems - including stress and anxiety. A 2015 paper from Harvard in the US found that stress at work kills more people than either Alzheimer's, diabetes or the flu.

2. Working too long
People who spend more than 11 hours a day at work face a higher risk of suffering from depression, while working ten hours a day or more increases your risk of heart problems by 60%. You are also less likely to be active, and more likely to eat convenience food, which increases your risk of being overweight - raising all kinds of health problems.

3. Sleeping too little
Long working hours - especially overtime - often means people don't get enough sleep. Some 20% of those who work more than 50 hours a week say they get fewer than six hours sleep on a workday - far short of the medically recommended 7-9 hours. Less sleep has been associated with decreased memory, weight gain, heart problems, and some studies suggest it can even be a contributory factor to cancer.

4. Commuting too much
Often you can chase higher wages in big cities like London, but if you want to keep your costs down, you'll need to live quite some distance away. If commuting becomes a big part of your day, however, it will take a toll on your health. Those with long commutes are 33% more likely to suffer from depression, 46% more likely to suffer sleep deprivation, and 21% more likely to be obese.

5. Taking work home and on holiday
If you're constantly in touch with the office, in an effort to impress your boss and get on, then you are paying a price. If you don't take all your holiday allowance, then the price can be even higher. You won't get the relaxation associated with proper time off, and you won't gain perspective on work. It means you're more likely to suffer workplace stress - and suffer damage to your health.

6. Scrimping on healthy foods
If you are watching the pennies at the supermarket, it's tempting to be attracted by discounted junk food. However, you'll be paying the price in two ways. First, if you choose carefully, fruit and vegetables are actually cheaper - it's just that your eye isn't drawn to a cut-price sprout in quite the same way it is by 2-for1 on pizza. Secondly, packing your fridge with cheap junk food is not going to improve your health.

7. Cutting back on insurances
Health insurance, critical illness cover or income protection policies are all designed to kick in when your health is under pressure. If you are sick - or too sick to work - they will either pay for treatment to return you to health, or pay a lump sum or income to cover your costs until you are well enough to work. Refusing to pay for these kinds of insurance feels like sensible a cost-cutting measure, but if you can fit any of them into your budget, it will transform your prospects if your health is under pressure.