Around the holidays, people typically spend too much money and eat way too much junk food. Then January first hits and they vow to save their money and lose 15 pounds by giving up chocolate and working out 6 days a week! Saving money and losing weight (or variations of the two) are consistently the top two New Year’s resolutions every single year. The average time frame people stick to this type of resolution is less than three weeks. Why is it so hard for people to shed pounds and save money? Because both require a change in behavior and that doesn’t happen overnight. Changing the way you do things is difficult and it is much less painful with the help of a coach or a trainer to guide the way.
Most of us have a general sense of what we need to do in order to be physically fit – exercise more, eat less, sleep more – seems pretty straight forward. We also seem to know all the things we need to do to get financially fit – save more, spend less, and be prepared for the unexpected. If it is so simple, why do most people struggle with it?
Often it’s difficult because it requires changing our behavior, which is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
I could get physically fit on my own – I would need to cut sugar and carbs from my diet, eat more broccoli and less pizza, and get on a workout program – maybe I need 20 minutes of cardio and 40 minutes of weightlifting, four days a week. I could incorporate aerial yoga and a shake weight – who knows? Should I use hand weights, my body weight, or machines or a combination thereof? I want a flat stomach, strong legs, and no arm jiggle. Which one should I focus on first? Should I tackle them all at once? Are there some moves that would work all of these areas strategically? A personal trainer and/or nutrition professional could help me answer these questions. Together, we would design a meal plan and workout program that works for my specific needs much faster than I could doing it all on my own. Plus, I would have an accountability partner to keep me on track along the way.
The same principles apply when working on a financial plan. Most people have multiple goals they are working on at the same time, all of which require an allocation of funding. Some may be short term items like getting ahead on the bills, building an emergency reserve, or taking some family vacations. Others could be long term priorities like saving for college education and socking away dollars in retirement plans or employer offered savings plans. It is helpful to have a coach to help you focus and tackle these goals efficiently. A financial partner can also hold you accountable along the way and help you devise a new plan if your situation changes. A financial planner can help you find a custom solution and plan that works for YOU, not a generic “8 Minute Abs” program.
Most of us find it difficult to lose weight or change our body because it requires changing our habits. The same goes for your financial physique. Changing behavior is a process that takes time and commitment. You are much less likely to give up on a weight loss program if you have someone in your court to motivate you, hold you accountable, track your progress and cheer you on. Think about hiring a financial planner in the New Year to start your financial resolution off right. Better yet, hire a financial planner and a physical trainer and look forward to a happy and healthy 2017!