Fitness and financial goals tend to be on top of everyone’s mind. We all want to become, and remain, financially secure as well as live a long and healthy life. In today’s world, there is certainly no shortage of information out there when talking fitness or finance. You can pretty much find any diet, workout, investment idea, etc. online. Many would argue, that is part of the problem. Information overload tends to make people feel overwhelmed, or can have the opposite effect, and make someone feel like an expert overnight. We hear it all the time…“it’s simple”…“exercise and eat healthy food”…“don’t spend more than you make”…“have goals and a plan”…the list goes on. If only if it was that easy, right?
Take me for example. Working out has always been a part of my life, so much so that I would consider myself a step above the rest between my experience in organized sports and years of weight training under the guidance of credentialed coaches and trainers. During my high school and college years, I had no issue maintaining my weight, strength and endurance on the sports fields, in the weight room or in competition. It was almost easy in school since there was little else to my life at the time aside from course work and sports. But we all know school doesn’t last forever and life and responsibilities expand to work, family, children, bills, etc. The time to simply focus on ONE thing (such as staying in shape for sports) becomes a dream.
Nowadays, even with my extensive fitness background, I wake up most mornings at 4:30 am to make it to class at our nearby Crossfit gym. I’ve learned that without the accountability of a group atmosphere and coaching staff, I cannot apply the time, interest or my past expertise to maintain my fitness goals. The hard reality is that the busier life gets, many people –myself included—no longer have the ability to handle their fitness goals, let alone their financial ones, on their own. So, let us consider some of the modern parallels that exist between the worlds of physical and financial health:
America’s Number One Priority
Let’s start with Americans’ #1 financial priority – retirement. According to a recent survey, it is the leading financial goal. At the same time, the following statistics have emerged:
- 61% of Americans don’t know how much money they’ll need to retire successfully
- $84,821 is the average amount Americans have saved for retirement
- 1/3 have less than $5,000 saved for retirement
- Even those pre-retirees (age 45 and up) whose retirement portfolios average $400,000 are concerned – 49% of them think they have to catch-up on their savings, 98% wish they could make up for lost time and 85% think it’s too late to have a comfortable retirement
Based on just those few factoids, the argument can be made that people need the guidance, expertise and accountability that comes with hiring a financial professional. The same comparison holds true in the fitness world as we see more and more people investing in a Peleton bike, Weight Watchers, monthly Crossfit memberships and/or a fitness coach…to name a few. Without guidance or accountability, many tend to leave their bikes idle in the corner, fall off the dietary wagon, miss more classes each week, or simply plateau on their fitness goals.
Although specific fitness and financial goals may differ, there are certainly some similarities between the two that are worth noting: whether it be fitness or finance, at the end of the day, having a comprehensive approach, a clear goal and plan in mind and the accountability and monitoring of a coach/advisor that will provide the necessary tools to give you peace of mind in your health and your wealth.
Comprehensive Approach: The best fitness programs and financial plans take a comprehensive, long-term approach. Mr. Tillotson, founder of Hefren-Tillotson, had the foresight years ago to recognize that for clients to reach their long-term financial goals, coordination of their entire financial situation – investments, retirement, insurance, estate, taxes, etc. – was necessary. Today, we know it as our MASTERPLAN® approach. By reviewing all areas, we can ensure their assets are working together toward a common goal.
This same approach applies to fitness. It would be foolish to only focus on strength while ignoring flexibility, cardio endurance and nutrition. I think most would argue a more holistic approach, that is focused on all of the aforementioned collectively, would serve as a better approach to improve one’s overall fitness and health.
Goals and A Plan: The most successful people in health and wealth have goals, but more importantly, a clear plan to reach those goals. It’s critical to understand where you stand and where you’re headed. Like laying out fitness goals – such as improving your cardio, strength, and nutrition—continually reassessing your financial goals as you transition through life events (marriage, the birth of a child, changing jobs, retirement, etc.), is a key to long-term success.
Work with a Professional: I would argue that the same reasons why people invest in a fitness instructor, wellness coach or a financial advisor is that these professionals not only help you set goals but motivate and become your accountability partner. They become the person(s) who takes away the overwhelming feelings of uncertainty and helps you navigate through the noise, while assisting in the creation, implementation and monitoring of a plan that is specific to you and your needs.
It is a common fitness practice to monitor your improvement in increments of weight lost (or gained), body fat percentages, improved time scores, increases in weights lifted or improved time on a monthly fitness test. When it comes to checking on your finances, working with a financial advisor helps you check in and make sure your plan is on track to make advances in the right direction. More importantly, they have designated teams that can focus exclusively on making sure your investments are continually where they need to be in order to maintain your long-term financial goals.
Exercise patience: Success doesn’t happen overnight. I have found it beneficial when assessing both my physical fitness and financial progress to ignore the day-to-day fluctuations and rather focus on my long-term goals. Just as the day-to-day weight gains/losses may not reflect the changes in mood, the fit of my clothes or the overall general feeling of wellness that comes with consistent dietary changes and daily workouts, you shouldn’t obsess over the daily fluctuations of the stock market or individual accounts, but rather your long- term goals and investments.
Writing Down Your Goals Solidifies Them in Your Mind. Goals will change as you, your life and your family change. It’s important to keep in mind that through these life changes, your long-term goals and commitments should remain fairly consistent.
We could liken it to taking a road trip. There are lots of ways to get there. Pick one. With the help of a financial advisor, you can be guided to make it the best and most sensible route to take for you and your family.
How healthy and fit is your financial situation? You don’t need to tackle it on your own. Utilize our expertise by reaching out to me directly, at (412) 633-1695. If you prefer email, please use Joseph.Yezovich@hefren.com. We are here to help you make informed decisions to reach your financial goals and enjoy a comfortable retirement.