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Table of contents
- Start Strong with These 15 Personal Finance Tips and Exercises
- Developing A Financial Fitness Program
- YOUR TOOLS
Go fishing or join a country club? Work part time or do volunteer work? How about going back to school or learning something new? The answers to these questions are crucial when determining how much money you will need for the retirement you desire and how much you'll need to save between now and then. The next thing everyone should have is a budget.
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Or as I like to call it a spending plan. Spending plans are simple to set up and you really only have two categories, income and expenses. Now, where should you put your savings? You won't earn very much interest but the money will be safe, and there when you need it. For goals that are least five years or more, like retirement, you may want to put some of that money into higher risk investments like stocks, bonds, real estate, or other assets.
Unlike savings accounts or bank CDs, these types of investments typically are not insured by the federal government and there is risk that you can lose some of your money. How much risk, depends on the type of investment. Generally, the longer you have until retirement, the more risk you can afford to take.
The closer you get to retiring, the less risk you want to take. But why take any risk at all? Because the greater the risk, the greater the potential reward. By investing in things like stocks and bonds you're more likely to earn significantly more money, and keep ahead of inflation, than by keeping all of your savings in the bank for example. Financial fitness is a workout worth doing.
Start Strong with These 15 Personal Finance Tips and Exercises
But financial planning is not a one-time process. Life, your goals, tax laws, and the financial world in general have a way of changing, sometimes dramatically.
So here are five things you can do to stay on track,. Hopefully you now realize that saving for your own retirement is critical and that it is primarily your responsibility. No one will work harder or care more about your retirement and your other financial goals than you will.
That being said you may want to consider professional resources as well, such as the help of a financial advisor a tax person. These professionals and experts can help answer your financial questions and more importantly, help motivate you into action and help you stick to your program. Finally there's only one real key to buying the retirement you always dreamed of. In my thirties I started shadow boxing, only to give up later due to back issues. I spent the next several summers accumulating thousands of miles on my bikes until the inclined position led to more back issues.
In my late forties I learned how to swim laps and spent several years going back and forth in the water. My swimming kept my weight manageable and my heart in decent condition, but I had very little muscle mass. Then as my life shifted from Oklahoma to Colorado a few things happened.
Developing A Financial Fitness Program
I know. Believe me, I know. Who was this guy to tell me the problems I had dealt with for 25 years were the fault of my stress and unconscious rage? I immediately dismissed it as hocus pocus. John Sarno and what he calls tension myositis syndrome. Interestingly enough, the treatment in its most basic form for this issue is to simply be aware of it. And when symptoms appear, you mentally recognize them and intentionally, mentally deny that they exist — deny that they are real. This is what I did and believe it or not, my symptoms started to fade over the course of a couple months.
I understand that this must sound really strange. It seems even strange to type it out. Feel free to draw your own conclusions. Second, as we started our move to Colorado, we decided to join a gym. I wanted one with a lap pool of course and we picked one we liked. Interestingly enough when we then bought our house, we were within walking distance to this gym. Part of the gym membership was a free meeting with a trainer.
But the guy who signed me up for the gym membership recommended a particular trainer who he said was excellent. So since it was free, I figured I had nothing to lose. Even though this was a free session, I took it seriously. I put together a document with my physical issues and potential goals and brought it to the meeting. We spent 45 minutes or so reviewing it and discussing my situation, particularly my back issues.
We then did some very simple exercises which I was surprised I could even do. I left feeling great and felt great for several days afterward and with no commitment required. I liked him and we got along well, but was I willing to fork over the money and potentially make my situation worse? Ultimately I reasoned that I had spent thousands of dollars on doctors through the years with nothing to show for it. What if I halted the cycle and instead of paying doctors to fix me, I paid a trainer to help me get better?
We met weekly for months, then bi-weekly, and now once every three weeks. He slowly increased the difficulty of the weight exercises each session, then added in various cardio activities. He also advised me on nutrition, sleep, and a whole host of issues. I have met with Jason 25 times now. My back issues are minimized though still there from time to time. I am stronger and fitter than ever. As I thought about this issue I realized that physical fitness and financial fitness have a lot in common. A few similarities I could think of:.
Ok, that was probably way more than you wanted to know about my physical condition. But maybe you want to know more. If so, let me know in the comments below and I will post from time to time on some tips I find useful. For email updates, simply enter your email address in the box below.
For RSS updates, visit this link. Get a free copy of "Three Steps to Financial Independence. Thanks for sharing this and tying it into personal finance as well. I think your money has been well spent in this case. Spending less than you make gives you the ability to save, invest, or weather the storms of life that will inevitably come your way. They have appreciated in value and are generating enough money to pay the mortgages. On your balance sheet, they show up as assets, meaning they positively impact your net worth.
But they say nothing about your ability to manage cash flow on a regular basis. Someone with a high net worth could be in a precarious position financially, one real estate market crash or interest rate hike away from financial ruin. Are you late with your bills? Constantly paying minimums on your credit cards and relying on them to carry you from one month to the next?
Are you getting dinged with late fees when it comes to making payments or regularly going into overdraft? These are all warning signs of a potential impending money disaster. The person with a high net worth is not immune to these headwinds. If they are leveraged when it comes to credit and their cash flow is already tied up, not being able to pay the bills is an ever present danger.
Sure, you might have a net worth of over a million dollars, but the majority of that may be tied up in illiquid assets. For most Canadians, this is their primary residence. Even though the data is 3 years old, that number would be similar today across the country as house prices have levelled out on average thanks to a cooling off of the markets in Toronto and Vancouver.
Perhaps you bought a home several years ago that has greatly increased in value. The point of having liquid assets is to be able to use them to help ride out unexpected life events. Maybe a family member gets sick, you lose your job, or some other unexpected emergency hits you like a ton of bricks. When it comes to financial health, liquid assets rule the day. When it comes to financial health, carrying too much debt is trouble. Sure, you may be carrying the debt comfortably now, but what about when interest rates go up… again?
Rising interest rates could put you in danger of not being able to make your debt payments and having to sell assets hopefully to make money or to declare bankruptcy. Traditionally, debt to income ratio has been calculated by adding up all of your debt things like mortgages, car loans,and credit cards and dividing it by your annual after-tax income to get a percentage.
Take your total monthly debt payments mortgage, car, credit cards etc.