More 'secrets' of financial fitness

Pay attention to yourself, not the guy next to you

Want to completely confuse yourself about working out? Start paying attention to what other people are doing rather than to what you’re doing. I had to force myself to stop trying to follow other people at the gym (figuratively speaking). You see a guy slightly smaller than you bench press 180 lbs. and you automatically think – “- Oh, I should be able to do it no problem.” Wrong. What you don’t know is that he might have been doing this for months. Start with what you’re comfortable with, and go from there. Trying to chase other people will only cause you pain (emotional and physical).

On the personal finance side, chasing other people will get you into trouble too. Ever heard of “keeping up with the Joneses”? It’s not productive to say the least. You don’t know the financial situation of everybody, and looks can be very deceiving. Just because your neighbours or friends have nice luxury cars and big houses, doesn’t mean you should follow suite – they might actually be able to afford those things or they’re deeply in debt. The only thing that matters to you is your financial health, not your neighbours’. Don’t pay attention to them, follow your financial plan.

Start small

Things won’t turn around overnight, so there’s no need to go “all in” when you step into the gym for the very first time. You won’t be Mr. Universe (rather ironic title considering there’s only one planet involved) after a month of exercising, so start small. Start going once or twice a week – no need to promise yourself a rigorous 5 days/week schedule. No need to go on a “fruit-only” diet for a month hoping to shock your system into submission – just add an apple or a salad to your normal way of eating and go from there.

When it comes to your money, secrets to financial fitness are just as simple as personal fitness. Start small – try to pay off some of your debts to see how awesome it feels to be less in debt. Instead of promising yourself to eat nothing but cheese and crackers and invest 50% of your paycheck to retire early – try doing 2 or 5% first! Once you work out an appetite for financial fitness – then increase your workload.


Beware of the industry

When you start paying attention to your health, you’ll notice how huge the industry of personal fitness is. There are magazines, TV channels, countless websites, and late-night infomercials that are designed to do nothing but take money from you. I love Chuck Norris movies, but after going to a gym for a few months, I’m quite sure that Total Gym endorsed by him (along with other products) is total garbage. There are countless products that appear out of thin air every year that are targeting novice gym members – or more like targeting their wallets.

On the financial fitness side things are just the same the same – there is a huge industry and everybody is trying to sell you a product. Educational classes, exotic types of insurance, personal finance software, and personal finance books; all whispering in your ear that these are essential products and you can’t live without them. Some are excellent products, and some are total garbage. You have to be aware of the fact that there’s a small army of salesmen out there trying to sell you something – and this industry is very good at marketing their products. Be aware and beware.


I hope you enjoy my column. Please leave a comment on this (even just to tell me how wrong I am), by visiting the full version of this story at http://moneyramblings.com/secrets-to-financial-fitness/

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About the Author

As somebody who grew up in a poor family, I lacked common knowledge about money from day one. If you can think of one dumb thing to do with your money - I did it. No paid college education for me. No inheritance, no financial help from my parents.

I may be a financial underdog, but through building good personal finance habits and educating myself about how money works, I hope one day to achieve financial independence for myself and my family.

Yes, I do believe an average person can enjoy a wealthy lifestyle as a result of smart decisions. Given enough time and proper education, anybody can change their financial future for the better. This can happen even if you start very late into the game - but your financial habits have to change.

If you'd like to know more about my struggles and wins with money, feel free to visit my website http://www.MoneyRamblings.com where I ramble about everyday money issues.

Contact me by email or connect on Twitter 




The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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