Your Commute Is Bad for Both Your Wallet and Health

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The daily back and forth to work is costing you more than you realize.

Commuting is a necessary evil for workers across the country. But it’s a costly practice, both for your pocketbook and your health.

It’s estimated that 10.8 million Americans commute more than an hour each way to work, according to Reuters. About 600,000 workers have 50-mile or more “megacommutes” that take a minimum of 90 minutes.

Kay Phillips of Elon, N.C., was one of those megacommuters, Reuters said. Phillips traveled 2.5 hours each way to her job, five days a week. Reuters wrote:

The total tab, she figures: $43,000. And that is just in gasoline — not oil changes or repairs, not the value of her time.

“I always thought it would make me sick to find out,” she says. “And it did.”

The average worker commutes about 25.5 minutes each way, which hasn’t changed since 2000. But, unfortunately, megacommutes are the harsh reality for many Americans.

Commuting takes its toll on more than your wallet. It has a significant impact on the stress level and well-being of the commuter. Reuters said:

In fact the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which surveyed Americans about daily commutes and their effects, discovered a virtual horror show. They found the longer the commute, the higher the levels of one’s obesity, cholesterol, pain, fatigue and anxiety.

According to Time, a report from the U.K’s Office of National Statistics determined that commuters actually experience lower happiness and life satisfaction than non-commuters. Time said:

Riding a bus for 30 minutes or longer was associated with the lowest levels of life satisfaction and happiness, but even if you’re lucky enough to bike to work and enjoy the beautiful outdoors, your satisfaction takes a nosedive commensurate to how long you spend doing it.

Click here to see the average commute times across the U.S.

In my small town, the average commute time is less than 14 minutes. When I worked outside the home, it would take me eight minutes to get to work. My husband works less than five minutes from our house. We’re lucky. My brother lives just outside Seattle. He telecommutes now, but before he had that option, he was forced to drive 30 to 60 minutes one way, depending on traffic. Ugh.

Do you commute to work? What’s your commute drive/ride time? Share your comments below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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