Personal Finance column: Three S’s of true financial health
With physical fitness, there are three elements to valuable exercise: strengthen — build muscle tone; stretch — develop flexibility; and stamina — endurance for the long haul.
Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, we are savvy and attuned to staying fit and healthy. Let’s build on the concepts and apply them to our financial lives.
Strengthen. Strength training as part of your physical workout will help you maintain optimal weight, build muscle mass, increase your energy level and improve your mood. How can you strengthen your dollar decisions? Tell your money where to go instead of asking where it went. Create an intentional spending plan to keep you out of consumer debt (a big weight), and increase your energy level as you are empowered over your decisions. Strengthen your future spending options? As you build “muscle” in your savings, 401K, IRA, home equity and other vehicles, you strengthen your financial health and optimize your pecuniary outlook. Pick an area of your financial life that you would like to bolster. As with physical strengthening, it requires discipline, pushing past your comfort zone, safety in execution and consistency.
Stretch. When we increase our flexibility on the physical side, we improve our range of motion, increase overall performance, decrease the risk of bodily injury and build strength. The duration of a stretch is important as well as understanding the kinetic chain (everything is connected). Financial flexibility is about knowing what you have, how it works and when to use it for your benefit. Economic agility entails understanding market or tax conditions and what needs to change to keep you performing optimally. You may want to “stretch” your money mindsets. Dig into what your money means to you or what financial personality style is. Is your financial mindset hindering you from your potential or supporting you in moving forward? Your money has a voice, use it wisely. Every financial decision is interconnected in so many ways. Ponder the ripples you create. With financial flexibility, we maximize opportunities, understand and properly manage risks, and strive to become the best next version of ourselves. Be patient. Just as you may not be able to touch your toes at first, stretching in areas of your financial life will take time.
Stamina training entails getting your heart rate up and pushing through. It builds the ability to withstand fatigue, stress or pain. It reduces the risk of most debilitating diseases, improves the circulatory system, helps you to sleep better and gives you an enhanced quality of life. What financial tools do you have in place to get you through tough times, or to optimize long-term sustainability? Are your investments or other assets working as efficiently as possible? Do your finances circulate and flow in and out of your life with intention, integrity, competency, grace and joy? The most chronic financial disease is consumer debt. When you have a clear vision of the future you want to create, the steps in getting there will be calculated and designed, minimizing the malaise of unconstrained consumerism.
Having a healthy physical life is not just about personal benefit, nor is financial health. As you seek wellness in all areas of your life, you will see long-term profit for all — yourself, family, community and yes, this is about organic change that impacts the world.
I use instructors and coaches to help me maximize my workout and keep me from hurting myself. So it should be with building your version of true wealth. Find the right financial advocate or coach. Find someone who will help you understand what is important to you, address your strengths and weaknesses and instruct you on tools you have or need to incorporate knowing it is dynamic and evolving.
Danielle Howard is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER ™ practitioner. Wealth By Design, LLC, her financial life planning office is located in Basalt where they take a personal interest in your financial well-being. Visit her at http://www.wealthbydesign4u.com. Advisory Services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., A Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.
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