Becoming Financially Fit

MoneyYou exercise to live longer. The longer you live, the more important money becomes. Here?s how to use techniques for physical fitness to improve your financial health too.

According to a recent TD Bank Fiscal Fit survey, seven out of 10 Americans feel that sound financial health improves overall health and well-being; an even greater proportion of respondents with financial plans believe this.

As many people focus on health and fitness (and probably increase their exercise tempo for the summer), many also delay pursuing financial goals. Maybe they?re unsure where to begin or think that the time and effort necessary will be overwhelming.

The sooner you invest both money and effort in your financial future, though, the more time you have to build a healthy life and wallet. Here are simple tips:

?Identify goals and create a plan. Similar to when you outline fitness aims such as improving flexibility, increasing strength training or lowering your body fat, you need to write down your financial goals.

Specifics about your money may change over the years as you raise a family or change careers, but your overarching goal and commitment ought to remain fairly consistent. Do you look to accumulate wealth? Plan for retirement or a child?s college education? Take care of your dependents after you die?

Fix your goal and create a plan to get there.

?Start slow. Most fitness trainers advise against an all-out body-straining routine on your first day, usually instead recommending a slow ramp up to avoid injuries. The same applies to financial planning.

For instance, start your savings slowly; you don?t need to ambitiously and immediately sock away half your paycheck. Start with allocating $10 to $20 per paycheck and raise the amount as you grow more comfortable saving.

Pacing yourself also helps prevent you from jeopardizing your financial future. Just because you?re determined to build wealth, to cite an example of one goal, doesn?t mean you need to purchase a home. In fact, doing so too soon may seriously damage your financial health and hurt you in the long run.

?Commit to financial health. In fitness, mental preparation matters. In addition to creating and implementing a plan, athletes practice mental skills to get to the next level of performance, and beyond. In building your financial health, it?s likewise important to be confident, driven and focused.

In addition to putting the gym time in, athletes make better choices with diets. Similarly, you need to reduce fees and taxes and save more to maximize your investment strategy or retirement plan.

?Streamline. Workout now boring? Feeling tired today? Gym moved to an inconvenient location? Physical fitness requires you to find whatever motivates you to stay the course, from boot camps to workout buddies to a personal trainer.

Ditto your financial strength: Streamline the process to keep it easy and to make sure your goals stay on track. Automate your savings plan ? you probably won?t even miss the funds automatically transferred to your account.

Also, find a financial planner you trust and enjoy working with. He or she can help you stay accountable and you may better appreciate your financial progress along the way.

Run a progress report. Tracking your development is a common fitness practice. Some people record times, repetitions or weights; others do a monthly workout fitness text. When it comes to monitoring your finances, check in weekly, monthly or even biannually to make sure you plan remains on track.

A roundtable discussion becomes even more important when you share financial responsibility with others, such as a spouse. The report allows you to see your overall money picture and ensures that everyone involved is on the same page.

(Source: TNS)