Common links between looking after your physical fitness and financial health

Although it's easy to see that health and wealth are a good place to start in the quest for happiness and freedom, most people probably haven't stopped to consider the integral link between physical fitness and financial fitness.

Having a healthy lifestyle – through both physical exercise and good eating habits – helps establish a healthy mindset. The feel-good factor that comes from being in good physical shape can also result in positive effects on financial decisions.

Ultimately, the personality traits that make a person financially successful are the very ones that lead to a healthy lifestyle.

A personal trainer and financial planner have very similar methods

There are close similarities between working with a personal trainer and a financial planner. Both are experts in their field, able to talk you through what’s best for your fitness goals or personal financial goals.

In each case, they seek to understand you, what's happening in your life, and your hopes and ambitions for the future. From here they will work with you to establish a plan – a physical fitness plan or a financial plan.

If you’ve ever hired a personal trainer or used a financial planner, the initial questions you are asked are, in essence, the same:

• Where are you now?

• Where do you want to be in the future?

• What time frame do you want to set to achieve your goals?

• What are you willing/able to do to get there?

Of course, the personal trainer is interested in learning about your current physical condition and fitness goals. Whereas the financial planner is seeking to understand your values, aspirations for the future, and current financial situation.

Start looking after your health and fitness early

Legendary baseball player Mickey Mantle once said: "If I knew I was going to live this long, I'd have taken better care of myself." Likewise, some people look back and wish they had planned their finances better before reaching their retirement.

With so many parallels between financial planning and a healthy lifestyle, here are five nuggets of inspiration that play into any plan for achieving physical or financial fitness.

1. Be ready to change

Before embarking on a journey to improve your physical or financial health, you need to have a true desire to achieve your goal. With no desire to improve, it’s more likely that you’ll fall at the first hurdle. If you truly want to better your physical health or to achieve financial independence, any obstacle you meet along the way will be just that – an obstacle to be overcome in the pursuit of what you truly want.

2. Improve your knowledge

If you set out with a goal to lose 5kg, you’d need to understand how long it would take to lose the weight safely and the best method for doing so. Likewise, if you wanted to reach a certain financial goal, such as retiring by a certain age, you’d first need to identify how much capital/income you’d need to achieve the goal.

You would also need to understand the steps you’d need to take to meet the goal. In both cases, to be successful, you need knowledge and clarity of the ultimate goal, as well as where you’re starting from.

3. Make a plan

The best way to reach any goal is by taking stock of where you are versus where you want to be and working out how you’re going to get there. Once you know what your fitness or financial goals are, you can work with a professional to help you put a plan in place to meet them.

4. Take your time and practice patience

The biggest enemy of any fitness regime or financial plan is lack of patience. If you set out with unrealistic expectations, the disappointment could lead you to walk away from trying all together.

It’s important to set realistic expectations of how long it will take to achieve either a physical fitness or financial target.

For example, it is unrealistic to expect to go from zero exercise to running a marathon without time and practice. In the same way, when you start investing for a future goal it’s important to realise and accept that time in the financial markets is what counts. A long-term financial plan is just that – long term.

5. Stay disciplined

Once you have a plan in place it will take determination to stick to it. You’ll need to keep your mind on the benefits of achieving your ultimate goal. But, if the goal is important enough to us, we can do it.

It takes strong self-discipline to cut down on your favourite unhealthy foods. It also takes mental strength to stop buying things you don’t really need. Once you realise that poor food choices and impulse purchases provide only short-term gratification, it becomes a lot easier to avoid those temptations, allowing you to focus on the long-term and lasting benefit of working towards and achieving our personal fitness or financial goal.

Enjoy your health and wealth today

While it's important to focus on the future and build towards a great standard of living in later life, don't forget to enjoy the here and now and live for today, too.

There's no point in working so hard now that you look back in 20, 30, or 40 years’ time and wish you’d enjoyed your health and vitality more when you were younger.

Remember what a gift life is and do whatever possible to enjoy all the benefits of your health while you can. The same is true for your financial planning – you don’t want to reach the end of your life with a big pile of savings but no dreams ticked off your bucket list.

Get in touch

If you want help in preparing properly for the future, while also enjoying your health and wealth today, we can help. Email enquiries@alexanderpeter.com or call us on +44 1689 493455.

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