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January 18, 2022

Putting your money where your mouth is

A few months ago, we talked about co-workers and friends egging each other by making small weight loss wagers. Some people compete for winner-take-all pots, while others agree to pay a fine if they don't lose weight.

Either way, if you don’t drop more pounds than the competition, you lose a bit cash, most of which is pledged to charity. 

The trouble with sites like StickK, which help you stick to your New Year's resolutions or any other goal you want to achieve, is that they rely on the honour system. And, with a self-reported success rate that Jenny Crag would kill for, that means very little of $3 million that’s been put on the line over the past two years ever seems to get paid out.

Now, however, a new site is offering to pay cash directly to anyone who drops a certain amount of weight over the course of a year. HealthyWage gets corporate sponsors to provide the money to dieters who move from an unhealthy to a healthy body mass index (BMI) in a set period of time.

Since it launched last fall some 5,000 hopefuls have signed up. And you could be next. 

The deadline to enter the upcoming year-long challenge and win $100 is Jan. 20. Or you could double up your weight-loss incentive by wagering as much as $300 of your own money in exchange for up to $1,000.

Do incentives like this make any difference to you? How much money does it take to get your attention or change your behaviour?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...